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Wins do count

Posted by mikelink45 , 19 November 2017 · 1,446 views

starters pitching old time fan
Wins do count https://www.si.com/m...n-spahnmarichalToday I was motivated by reading an article on ESPN by Bradford Doolittle - hitting the reset on pitcher wins http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/21439977/hitting-reset-button-starting-pitcher-wins-baseball

As a baseball fan who started out rooting for Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette, Hank Aaron, and Eddie Mathews of the Milwaukee Braves and then moving over to the new Twins as an usher for their first season my views are tainted by history and, while I like many new stats, I am bothered by the tendency to throw out the old stats with the recycling.

Over and over I hear that wins don't count, then we drool over our greater win totals. True it is a team game and the wins by an individual pitcher have to be looked at under a new lens since the idea of a complete game where the pitcher really does control the outcome has changed and now we have shifted to the bullpen as masters of the mound, but the true aces rise above this.

Sale and Kluber, Kershaw and Scherzer are not just great starters, they actually win games, even though they do not pitch very many complete games. To understand my love of the complete game and the true aces you should read about the Spahn/Marichal game in 1963 - https://www.si.com/m...n-spahnmarichal
How nostalgic this game is for me.

Now admittedly in this era it is a thrill to see two starters go 7 innings against each other, but that does not diminish the win and loss records. It is true that the scorer never invokes his right to award the win to the most deserving so a relief pitcher can come in throw one ball and then get the win, but that is not all that common. The starter gets his record because he pitches long enough, often enough to get to the position to win.
​And I understand fielding and hitting are essential I remember when Ryan won the ERA title in 1987 came with an 8 - 16 record, hardly a great pct. Yet he overcame the poor teams he pitched for to surpass 300 wins just as Blyleven won 287 games pitching with some mediocre teams. I give him credit for this win total in addition to the new stats that pushed him in the Hall of Fame.

I do not want to negate the new approach. In fact the bullpen era will create some interesting statistical aberrations that challenge our ability to compare pitchers from one era to another, but take nothing away from those winners of yesteryear.

It is common place to always state today's athletes are the best ever. Kershaw is being anointed by ESPN weekly and he deserves his recognition, but necessarily his ranking. Give the same diet, training and opportunities, the greats of the past would be the greats of today and the greats of today put in another era would still rise to stardom.

So how do we judge players? Old stats, new stats, the eye test? Maybe all of them. If real baseball was just a statistical exercise we could dispense with the field and just play strato-matic, but the human element is what gives it greatness and is the reason we still talk about players like Cy Young and Honus Wagner even though they are simply grainy photographs and statistical lines in our life times.

  • Dantes929, Hosken Bombo Disco, DocBauer and 3 others like this



I don't totally discount wins because whatever the conditions, whether it be weather, home field, good defensegood offense, the starter generally has the most impact on the outcome of a game and to get a win you need to do better than the other guy with all of his challenges that particular day. Lets just say I give it weight but not a whole lot.I think game outcome W-L record is just as meaningful but I still like the quality start stats and I still like ERA as a stat. I always thought it a little incongruous that a win requires 5 innings pitched but a quality start needs 6 innings.

    • mikelink45 likes this
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Tom Froemming
Nov 22 2017 03:09 PM

One of the things I find fun is that a lot of the new stats still hold the players from previous eras in high esteem.

 

Cy Young and Walter Johnson are still the all-time leaders in pitcher WAR.

 

The all-time greatest pitchers in terms of FIP all played around the turn of the century: Ed Walsh, Rube Waddell, Addie Joss, Smoky Joe Wood, Christy Mathewson and Chief Bender.

 

For pitcher's WPA, the top 10 includes Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Lefty Grove and Jim Palmer. 

 

But still, I can appreciate the idea that these players are more than just a stat line. No matter how many convoluted numbers we come up with that help us provide context, there's really no substitute for having experienced their careers in the moment.

    • JonLewisFord likes this

 

One of the things I find fun is that a lot of the new stats still hold the players from previous eras in high esteem.

 

Cy Young and Walter Johnson are still the all-time leaders in pitcher WAR.

 

The all-time greatest pitchers in terms of FIP all played around the turn of the century: Ed Walsh, Rube Waddell, Addie Joss, Smoky Joe Wood, Christy Mathewson and Chief Bender.

 

For pitcher's WPA, the top 10 includes Warren Spahn, Tom Seaver, Lefty Grove and Jim Palmer. 

 

But still, I can appreciate the idea that these players are more than just a stat line. No matter how many convoluted numbers we come up with that help us provide context, there's really no substitute for having experienced their careers in the moment.

Nice response.I am quite biased because Warren Spahn was my hero and I got to watch him pitch = in person - four years in a row in the 1050s.When his turn came we expected to win.No relief pitcher was going to blow it.  

    • Tom Froemming likes this