Brian Kenny recently joined Twitter, and instantly became a loud and unbending voice for the statistical side of baseball commentary. Much like on MLB Now on the MLB Network, he brings an array of facts, statistics, and logic to bear on the traditional hive mind that is baseball commentary and then opens fire.
Kenny’s primary crusade on Twitter is the inanity of the pitcher win stat (#killthewin). He’s been posting previous-day summaries of strong pitching performances that result in a pitcher not getting that cherished tally in his W-L record. I wanted to take that one step further, so I bent the Baseball-Reference Play Index to my will and came up with this:
In 2013, there have been 44 games where the pitcher went 8 IP or more and allowed 2 R or less. I think we can agree that this is a “win-worthy” start. Combined, here’s that stat line:
IP: 354 1/3 (BF: 1282)
R: 61 (55 ER, 1.40 ERA)
K: 292 (K%: 22.8%)
BB: 47 (BB%: 3.67%)
That’s almost 2 full seasons of pitching (if you expand to 3 R, you could end up w/ 2 full seasons)! Remove the 0-14, and split it in half you have a back-to-back Cy Young Award winning pitcher about to sign a $200m, 8-year contract. AND HE WAS 0-14!
Print this out and use it to clown anyone crowing about a pitcher’s W-L record.
P.S.: Watch the talking heads try to work the mental gymnastics needed to defend Chris Sale as a great pitcher as he goes 0-5 in the month of June, and then heap praise on Max Scherzer for being 13-0. How do they manage stay upright while keeping the opposing thoughts “Run support is a key factor in a pitcher’s W-L record they have no control over” and “W-L record is the way to tell if a pitcher is good” in their head at the same time?