I hear a lot about “kill the pitcher win”, and I wish that would happen, but something just occurred to me that might just be as crazy if not crazier than the pitcher win. A pitcher’s winning percentage (WP) is calculated as W/(W+L). That doesn’t really make sense though. A team’s WP is calculated as Wins/Games, which makes sense since that gives the percentage of wins out of games. So a pitcher’s WP should be the same, Wins/Games. The current way is Wins/Decisions, which is just the % of games won when they were awarded a decision. That’s stupid, since, if they pitched so badly or “uselessly” that they weren’t even awarded a decision by the official scorer, then why do we discount those appearances while counting losses they were awarded? It just doesn’t make any sense, and it’s not a honest representation of what happened.
For example, Clayton Kershaw has a career winning percentage of .667, having gone 98-49 through 2014. That leads all active players and is #12 on the all-time list at the moment. That only accounts for 147 of his 211 appearances. How can any honest person ignore 64 games? That averages out to about 9 games per season of his career. His real winning percentage would be calculated as 98/211, which is .464, not .667. Of course, this shows that even the best pitchers have a hard time actually gettin’ credited with winning half their games, so maybe that’s why. I don’t know. I just know it’s not accurate if you ignore games the pitcher pitched in.
No matter how Mike Trout’s career ends up, he will always have a good argument for being the best young position player the game has ever seen. He’s already got more fWAR through his age 22 season than anybody else, and now he’s on the verge of accumulating the most rWAR too.
22+ WAR in Their Age 22 Season
NJIT math professor Bruce Bukiet has been crunching some numbers and says The Red Sox have a 69% chance of beating the Cardinals in this year’s World Series. Although, lookin’ at the first two rounds of the post-season, the Cardinals have outplayed his projections for them. So don’t count ’em out just yet.
I just noticed that Mike Trout has 7.8 rWAR this season, after earning 10.7 rWAR last year. Miguel Cabrera’s highest rWAR in any season of his career, was 7.6 (in 2011). Right now, Cabrera has 7.0, so he has a chance to have a Mike Trout type season with 1 month to go. Although, it’s doubtful that he can make up 0.8 rWAR and whatever extra he needs to match whatever Trout earns this month.
Looking at fWAR, there’s a similar story. Trout’s earned fWAR’s of 10 in 2012 and 8.8 so far this season. Cabrera has never done better than 7.7 fWAR, which is this season, with a month still left to go.
No matter how you look at it, according to WAR, Trout’s already had 2 better seasons than any season Miguel Cabrera has ever managed.
Dave Cameron has an interesting article at Fangraphs, Trout and Cabrera: Here We Go Again, which is well worth the read. He concludes that Trout’s the better player, but, I think the stats make a strong argument for Cabrera as the slightly more valuable player so far—
2013 Season, Through August 4th
I’m a big fan of RE24 & WPA. If you’re not familiar with those stats, you should read Get To Know: RE24 and Get to Know: WPA. I believe they are two of the most telling statistics. I don’t believe RBI totals say much about a batter, but that their RBI % actually tells us something.
I just noticed that in the past month (6/22 – 7/21), Zack Greinke’s really hot. He’s doing it from the mound, which isn’t much of a surprise, but he’s also doing it from the batters box.
Among pitchers (min. 35 IP), he’s thrown the 2nd most innings of any pitcher, going 5-0, with a 2.36 ERA. His K/BB is 2.4. He’s only really pitched one bad game, but that was in Colorado. Impressively, since that game, he’s only allowed 1 run in 22 IP.
More surprisingly though, is what he’s been doing at the plate. Greinke’s batting .538/.625/.692 in 18 PA. Not many pitchers ever get a hot streak with the bat where they draw 3 walks & pepper a couple doubles into the mix while going 7 for 13 over the course of 18 PA. In fact, comparing it with all batters (min. 10 PA) during this period, Greinke’s been the best at getting on base. Of course that’s small sample size, but he doesn’t get to hit too often since his main deal is to pitch. Still impressive.
So for the season, Greinke’s batting average is up to .406, which is by far the best he’s done in any season with more than 2 PA’s. I think the last time a pitcher hit .400 was Walter Johnson in 1925, when he hit .433 in 107 PA. Greinke will probably only get up to the plate around 50-70 times, but he could still end up with one of the greatest hitting seasons by any regular pitcher. What will probably get less attention, but is more important, is that Greinke’s already drawn more walks than Walter Johnson did.