Jump to content
Twins Daily
  • Create Account

What is your definition of an 'ace'?


Trov
 Share

Verified Member

I keep reading in comments from the offseason and this season about Twins need to trade for an 'ace'.  That they do not have one and need one to win.  I have yet to see anyone really define what they think makes an 'ace'.  Therefore, I am asking for people to comment and define an 'ace'.  That way we can see if the Twins have one, if one can be brought in via trade.  I would prefer more defined terms and not general terms, but something we can actually look into to see.  

Part of the reason I am asking this is I am thinking what some people call an 'ace' is very different than others, and it may not even be what people call an 'ace' is available for the Twins to trade for.  So please even if you do not agree the Twins need an 'ace' lets get the Twins Daily commenters definition of an 'ace' as it pertains to pitching in baseball. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

Community Leader

I'm a "small hall" and "there aren't 30 aces in baseball" guy. I think it should be hard to get into the hall of fame and I think being called an ace, as opposed to a #1, should mean you're head and shoulders above your peers. Hard to put hard numbers on it, because it changes from year to year (like some years a 3.30 ERA is great, but sometimes there's 75 guys with a 3.30 or lower ERA). I think if you use a stat like WAR you probably have your best bet. To me an ace needs to accrue at least 5 WAR in a season. If you do it for 1 year that makes you an ace that season, but not a "true ace." To be a "true ace" you need to do it for multiple years in a row. 

Examples:
deGrom is obviously an ace when healthy, but hasn't been staying healthy so at this point just has certain seasons of being an ace.
Scherzer has put up at least 5 WAR for 8 straight seasons (taking 2020 out for obvious reasons). So he's a "true ace."
Patrick Corbin was an ace in 2018, and was close in 2019, but outside of that hasn't been so he just had an ace season, but isn't a "true ace."

5 WAR for a season means there's usually 7-12 or so aces in the game in any given season.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Someone that pitches over 200 IP with an ERA in the low 3s or better and has done so at least 3 out of the past 4 seasons.

 

Pitchers can attain those numbers once and I'll say, "He pitched like an ace." But until he does it consistently I wouldn't consider him an ace.

 

There are not too many aces in today's baseball but it's mostly because they are not given a chance to get to 200 innings.

 

Up until 10 years ago I would have said they'd need 220 innings pitched so the bar is being lowered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My definition of an ace is a pitcher that has electric stuff that can regularly pitch 7+ quality innings throughout a whole season. Berrios IMO is a borderline ace, he can regularly give you 6-7+ innings but I'd like a little bit more regularity on his electric stuff.

I don't care if he's pretty good for 5 innings, he's not an ace. Once an ace in my book doesn't mean always an ace. He has to prove it every year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Electric stuff is a little vague of a term.  What does that mean?  Like do they need a certain velo, movement, number of K/9?  I did see a comment of 5 WAR being a benchmark.  At least that is something we can look at.  I see an innings mark required of 200 and low ERA.  If we go by that, only 4 guys last year broke the 200 innings mark, Of those 4, Two do not reach the 5 WAR.  If we go by just the WAR there is 12 full time starters with a WAR of over 5 last year. Some of them only averaged 6 or less innings per start.  

So far not too many 'ace' pitchers by definition of the few responses we have if you combine them. With just WAR as standard we have a dozen, so that sounds like decent amount.  I do not know how many would be described as electric stuff though. Of the top few WAR guys I think most people would say fall under 'ace', Zach Wheeler, Walker Buehler, Robby Ray(although not until last year) Max Scherzer, but then you have Wade Miley, not an ace, then Garrit Cole, and a few more 'ace' type guys.  

I would agree there are 'ace' which to me is someone like Scherzer, Verlander, guys that have been top of the league in pitching year in and year out, and will go deep into most games with low scores.  I think part of it is a mindset of fans.  Do you expect to when when they take the mound each time, with very few hits allowed?  However, I think what most fans are talking about on here when they talk about 'ace' is they really mean a top of league performer.  Maybe they are one of the best for a year or two, but are they a true 'ace' most likely not.  

When I see the "electric stuff" I think people are saying they just look in command and not getting it done through junk balls, ala Jamie Moyer who actually cracked 5 WAR 3 times late in his career. I bet if people listed who they think of when they think 'ace' they might be surprised where they really fall in rankings of WAR, innings per start and so on. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

An ACE is a pitcher who has velocity over 100 mph, pitches nine innings in EVERY game, Has NEVER been injured, can throw a breaking ball with so much movement that it boomerangs back into his own hand, has a NEGATIVE ERA, and has KILLED at least one batter.

No team without an ACE has ever thrown even ONE STRIKE in the playoffs. ANY team with an ACE is GUARANTEED to win the WORLD SERIES. I estimate there are between zero and 500 aces in baseball right now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, notoriousgod71 said:

Someone that pitches over 200 IP with an ERA in the low 3s or better and has done so at least 3 out of the past 4 seasons.

 

Pitchers can attain those numbers once and I'll say, "He pitched like an ace." But until he does it consistently I wouldn't consider him an ace.

 

There are not too many aces in today's baseball but it's mostly because they are not given a chance to get to 200 innings.

 

Up until 10 years ago I would have said they'd need 220 innings pitched so the bar is being lowered.

By those standard, there are no aces in today's baseball, correct?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
3 hours ago, Trov said:

Electric stuff is a little vague of a term.

I think "electric stuff" is a pretty well understood layman's term for pitches which are dominant in terms of movement and/or velocity.

Some pitchers succeed through precision. Placing balls in perfect locations. Those types of pitchers can have some success for a period, but often get hammered if a pitch isn't working well that day or they don't have precise control one day.

I've seen this to be reflected in consistency. A true quality start, imho, is a start giving 6+ innings and less than a 4.00 ERA. Aces typically have 4-5+ of those starts in a row. It's a typical start for them. Many good pitchers manage 2 or 3 of those starts in a row, but a hiccup in between.

There is a confidence or expectation of winning when an ace is on the mound.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, cheeseheadgophfan said:

By those standard, there are no aces in today's baseball, correct?

Correct.

 

There's a few guys who could be if given the chance (but they won't be).

 

I used to look at an upcoming pitching matchup and say, "Whoa! Clemens tonight, we have no shot!"

Now I look at a pitching matchup and say, "We've got whoever tonight. No worries, he'll be out after 5.2 innings. We've got a chance!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
On 5/24/2022 at 2:52 PM, twins_89 said:

I think an ACE is a pitcher who can pitch game 1 of pretty much any playoff series and you feel like your team has a 50-50 or better chance of winning the game.

This is a bit of hard way to nail it down as to what an 'ace' is.  Sounds like you are saying it is a mindset of how you feel about the pitcher and cannot point to actual performances.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Old-Timey Member
On 5/23/2022 at 3:46 PM, Trov said:

I keep reading in comments from the offseason and this season about Twins need to trade for an 'ace'.  That they do not have one and need one to win.  I have yet to see anyone really define what they think makes an 'ace'.  Therefore, I am asking for people to comment and define an 'ace'.  That way we can see if the Twins have one, if one can be brought in via trade.  I would prefer more defined terms and not general terms, but something we can actually look into to see.  

Part of the reason I am asking this is I am thinking what some people call an 'ace' is very different than others, and it may not even be what people call an 'ace' is available for the Twins to trade for.  So please even if you do not agree the Twins need an 'ace' lets get the Twins Daily commenters definition of an 'ace' as it pertains to pitching in baseball. 

The Twins don't have any but think Cy Young winning pitchers or those who are in contention, year in, year out. Baseball seems to be moving away from aces and into bullpen games. I don't like it but it is what it is. Here's an old article on what scouts usually meant when they say "ace". https://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/8/7/3226335/defining-1-2-3-4-5-starters

Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

The Twins don't have any but think Cy Young winning pitchers or those who are in contention, year in, year out. Baseball seems to be moving away from aces and into bullpen games. I don't like it but it is what it is. Here's an old article on what scouts usually meant when they say "ace". https://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/8/7/3226335/defining-1-2-3-4-5-starters

Is an ace a number 1? Is that the bar?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Community Leader

That's a tough one. You can't say that 200+ IP is a requirement because those pitchers hardly exist in today's game.

I would say that an ace by definition is a Top 10 or Top 15 pitcher in the game, and that is determined by many stats, including ERA, WHIP, WAR, etc...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
23 minutes ago, IndianaTwin said:

Jose Berrios isn't even here any more, and we're still discussing what an ace is...

I did not start the post for anything about Berrios, it was trying to see what people think an 'ace' is.  I have seen many people say the Twins need one to compete in the playoffs, and I wanted to get a definition to hammer down if we have one, or where we could get one.  

So far by most definitions, Berrios would not fall into the category anyways, so if we still did have him, we would still need to get an 'ace' by most commenters. I am also trying to compare the definitions to see how often WS winning teams have one or not.  By most definitions presented, Atlanta last year did not have one either.  

I think most agree, better pitching will make it more likely you will win, but I keep reading we need an 'ace' and that we do not have one.  So lets define what one is.  Sadly, most of the definitions I am getting does not really define it any better, but things like, you feel you they will win when they pitch, or will stop losing streaks.  Some require this over periods of time, and some gave actual numbers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
13 hours ago, gunnarthor said:

The Twins don't have any but think Cy Young winning pitchers or those who are in contention, year in, year out. Baseball seems to be moving away from aces and into bullpen games. I don't like it but it is what it is. Here's an old article on what scouts usually meant when they say "ace". https://www.minorleagueball.com/2012/8/7/3226335/defining-1-2-3-4-5-starters

Nice link, I think that gives a good definition of the type of starters.  It seems to state that not many 'aces' in the game at any one time, but a lot of number two or three type guys that end up being the team's number 1. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 5/24/2022 at 5:03 PM, bean5302 said:

I think "electric stuff" is a pretty well understood layman's term for pitches which are dominant in terms of movement and/or velocity.

Some pitchers succeed through precision. Placing balls in perfect locations. Those types of pitchers can have some success for a period, but often get hammered if a pitch isn't working well that day or they don't have precise control one day.

I've seen this to be reflected in consistency. A true quality start, imho, is a start giving 6+ innings and less than a 4.00 ERA. Aces typically have 4-5+ of those starts in a row. It's a typical start for them. Many good pitchers manage 2 or 3 of those starts in a row, but a hiccup in between.

There is a confidence or expectation of winning when an ace is on the mound.

Maddox was an "ace" but he did not have electric stuff.  His stuff was more solar powered and relied on pinpoint accuracy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the term "ace" is a meaningless title because no one can define it.  It means different things to every person.  I really prefer "top of the rotation guy" as the person you want to trade for.  I don't have metrics to prove who is this pitcher but to me, it's the guy you send out every 4th game (oops, showed my age there, didn't I), I mean every 5th, 6th, or 7th game with a lot of confidence that the game is winnable.  Sonny Gray might be the Twins' top of the rotation guy.  But the good thing is, he could easily become the "almost top of the rotation guy" if the Twins trade for a Montas or Castillo.  None of the three should probably be in a conversation about "aces" but they sure would strengthen the team.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

Jack Morris was an ace. He would lose as many games as he won, at times. But he would pitch a consistent, solid outing. Usually an innings eater. Keep the team in the game. Give the bullpen a rest. And more often than not, stop a losing streak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

I'm a guy that grew up playing cards. In a deck of cards, the Ace is the 1 just like the jack is 11, queen is 12 and 13 is king. This means every suit in every deck has an Ace. Ace is number 1. With this thinking, there is an Ace in every deck, therefore there is an Ace on every team.  (#1 on a team = Ace Argument)

When you play various games with a deck of Cards some hands  have more than one Ace, and some hands don't have any but there are always the same number of Aces in the game.  (Set number of Aces argument)

An Ace has these stats vs those stats and varies from year to year whether or not they are an Ace? I don't like those types of arguments. Use an analogy other than "Ace" if that is how you're defining it. (HOF or All Star Starter or something)

All of this to say, however this argument is settled I hope that it is determined that there are a set number of Aces in the league. Back to the Decks and Suits, I like the 30 total argument (Some teams have more than one) I like the 15 best argument, I like the whoever is best on your team is your Ace (Not all Aces are made the same)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member
2 hours ago, terrydactyls said:

Maddox was an "ace" but he did not have electric stuff.  His stuff was more solar powered and relied on pinpoint accuracy.

Greg Maddux had excellent control... along with a great changeup and hard, late break on a sinker. He touched mid-90s at the start of his career and perfected his craft as his velocity dropped, similar to Zack Greinke. Watch a video of Maddux undercover pitching batting practice to Kris Bryant, telling Kris where the ball was going where Kris still couldn't hit it. Bryant's constant comment was how good of a curveball Maddux had... while tossing batting practice.

Maddux may well be the best pitcher in MLB history in terms of mechanics and location, but he had excellent stuff to start his career and continued to use his experience as his velocity faded.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Verified Member

How do you define an ace. Well 1st you have to shoot down 5 enemy planes. Not all at once either. But it has happened. Where is Chief at when you need him?In years prior to oh let's just say 2015 or so an ace was a guy who was pretty much automatic. He was that GUY you could depend on to stop a losing streak. He earned the title because even if he didn't have his best stuff he would battle out of jams because he PITCHED. And most importantly he had a manager that stood behind him. Think Sandy Koufax 1965 World Series game 7 when he threw nothing but fastball after the 3rd inning because he couldn't locate his curve. There are aces out there today. But the metrics all say get him out of there when it comes to 7th inning or that dreaded 3rd time in the lineup. That's fine if you have a lights out bullpen. Or he's never went over 100 innings or some bs cuz his arm might fall off. No manager in his right mind would have tried to take out a Gibson or Jenkins or even a Jim Kaat type guy because even tiring they were still the best option. We're those old-timers better athletically than these over trained guys of today? No way. But they were mentally and there's no metrics for that. Today's pitchers don't need to battle because the manager has already made the call to the pen. And they'll still get their 20 or 30 mill. At my job I worked 80 to 100 hours every week. If my boss came to me and said hey your 1st 40 or 50 hours are real productive, after that it falls off. So we'll pay you the same money as if you worked ALL those hours but we only want you to work 1/2 of them I would have whooped for joy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, bean5302 said:

Greg Maddux had excellent control... along with a great changeup and hard, late break on a sinker. He touched mid-90s at the start of his career and perfected his craft as his velocity dropped, similar to Zack Greinke. Watch a video of Maddux undercover pitching batting practice to Kris Bryant, telling Kris where the ball was going where Kris still couldn't hit it. Bryant's constant comment was how good of a curveball Maddux had... while tossing batting practice.

Maddux may well be the best pitcher in MLB history in terms of mechanics and location, but he had excellent stuff to start his career and continued to use his experience as his velocity faded.

I am not 100% certain but I think when Maddox was early into his MLB career, the radar gun was either a sundial or a hand-held stop watch. 🤩🤩  In either case I don't think they were very accurate.  But regardless of that, Maddox was a pleasure to watch.  As were Warren Spahn and White Ford, both of whom I would call op of the rotation.  But ACE?????  I don't know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Twins community on the internet.

×
×
  • Create New...