Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Career WAT Data for Recent Pitchers

Here we will look at pitchers who have retired in the last decade or so or who remain active. For active pitchers, I looked for guys who are on the back end of their careers and have won at least 150 games. So you won’t see pitchers like Roy Oswalt, Johan Santana, or Roy Halladay here. Their time may come in another five years or so.

Now, the raw records for these pitchers:

One thing that jumped out at me from this chart is just how good Kenny Roger’s W-L record is. It’s not historical by any means, but I was surprised that it was similar to those of Brown and Cone. Then you consider that he has pitched for .500 teams more or less and it’s even more impressive.

I have reservations about including a guy who spent so much time in the bullpen (the Eck) on this list, but he is a HOF pitcher who won nearly 200 games, so I decided not to exclude him. Just take his record with a bigger grain of salt then you do the others.

Now the neutralized records, which include some historically great figures:

As teased in the Lefty Grove comment, there are three active pitchers who currently sport a NW% higher then Grove’s record .650--Martinez at .680, Johnson at .661, and Clemens at .654. These figures are subject to change as they are still active, but I think it’s a good bet that at least one of them holds on and takes that record.

Clemens’ incredible +138.9 WCR ranks behind only Young, Johnson, and Alexander all-time. He trails the same three in WAT, but is within striking distance of Johnson and Alexander. The Rocket of course is brilliant in run-based measures as well, and if you apply any kind of “timeline” adjustment at all, you can very easily come to the conclusion that he is the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball.

The Braves trio is probably underrated here, as our assumption of team balance between offense and defense is certainly off base in this case. The Braves didn’t have bad offenses, but of course they were a great team primarily because of the aforementioned pitchers. However, they all do better in the Wood approach then the Oliver or Deane approach because at least the Wood approach recognizes that Mate includes the contributions of the team’s other pitchers and does not compare the pitcher to the full force of Mate.

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