Pitchin’ ain’t easy

For those of you who didn’t see it, the folks over at baseball-reference.com put together a list of the top starting pitchers since 2005, according to ERA+ (an ERA figure that is adjusted to the pitcher’s ballpark, with 100 being average).  The list only includes those who have pitched over 1,000 innings from 2005-2010, so no Lincecum, Wainwright, Lester, Webb, Carpenter, etc., but it’s a good list nonetheless.  Here’s 10 things I found to be interesting about it (number in parentheses indicates player’s rank on the list):

  1. It is very hard to be both durable and effective in the major leagues.  Since 2005, only 27 pitchers have pitched over a 1000 innings and been “above average.”
  2. The top 5 were quite predictable:  Halladay (1), Johan (2), CC (3), Felix (4), and Oswalt (5).
  3. Speaking of Felix Hernandez (4), he’s only 24 and has 71 wins in 1154 innings pitched.  By comparison, Cy Young had 36 wins in 571 innings after his age 24 season.  Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens each had 60 wins in 911 and 767 innings, respectively.  As for myself, I had just completed my 4th season as an outfielder for the Old Crows slow pitch softball team.
  4. According to advanced metrics, Matt Cain (6) has now been “lucky” for six consecutive seasons.
  5. Ted Lilly (14) is underrated.  As are Bronson Arroyo (19) and John Garland (20).
  6. On the other hand, Josh Beckett (18), sandwiched right between former teammates Derek Lowe (17) and Bronson Arroyo (19), is overrated.
  7. A.J. Burnett (23) is built a lot like Ebby Calvin LaLoosh. . . million dollar arm, 5 cent head.
  8. Barry Zito (24) has surprisingly been above average over the last 6 seasons.  Then again, so has Doug Davis (25) for $43.5 million less over that time.
  9. Tim Wakefield (27) is a walking reminder for all fathers to teach their sons how to throw a knuckleball.
  10. Having a mid-life crisis?  Hang a poster of Jamie Moyer (30) in your room.
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