Monday, February 05, 2007

Career WAT Data, 1973-Recent

As I mentioned in the first installment, I sort of lumped pitchers from the final Neft/Cohen era into groups as I saw fit, without caring too much if Dave Stieb wound up as “recent” and Jack Morris as “1973-Recent”, and it shows. However, only the margins are confused, and I don’t present the eras as a prism through which you must view a pitcher, just a way to group dozens of pitchers into workable groups.

Here are the actual records and other approach WATs for these pitchers:

Steve Rogers may be the worst pitcher I chose to list, but I was interested in seeing how he shook out, and it’s my blog, so he’s here. Rick Reuschel is a guy you don’t hear discussed much, but he pitched for terrible teams. Ron Guidry’s unadjusted record is fairly similar to another lefty, Sandy Koufax. Guidry won five more and lost four more then Koufax, with a percentage four points lower. But the surprise for me was that Guidry pitched for even better teams then Koufax did (.555 to .544 advantage in Mate). Jenkins is the first pitcher we’ve considered who comes out on a .500 team, with Gaylord Perry just a point off.

Now the Neutralized stats:

The case of Bert Blyleven has been discussed ad nauseam on the blogosphere, but it’s true that his W-L record isn’t that impressive when compared to average. However, compared to replacement, he’s pretty strong. And of course all of the research that has been done on Blyleven’s actual run support, his record when supported by X runs, etc., should be allowed to take precedence over the data here.

Nolan Ryan, even with the favorable comparison to replacement, does not stand out above a number of pitchers who he dwarfs in the general public’s assessment, like Perry, Sutton, Palmer, and Jenkins. Of course, there are other factors, and Ryan probably relied less on his defense then any other pitcher ever. Of course, that can cut both ways. If you pitch for a poor team with poor defense, and you rely on them to make plays behind you, then that is a significant disadvantage. But if you pitch for a poor fielding team and you strike everybody out anyway, there is less extra credit available for you to pick up. Our simple model doesn’t account for this, and I don’t think that W-L records are reliable enough to be subject to that kind of scrutiny, but I suppose if you wanted to do a lot of work, you could do some accounting for those things.

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