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Are pitching wins an accurate measure of a pitcher's value?

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Offline  Are pitching wins an accurate measure of a pitcher's value?
#1

Posted: February 20, 2008, 5:48 AM Post
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We've gone round and round on this is several threads and I want to see if we can collect both sides of the argument in one place.

Me personally, I think wins over a career can show a measure of success. I think if you look at most 300 game winners, they will most likely all have the anciliary stats proving they were good. Where I disagree with using wins a yardstick for worth is season to season. I can't say Vargas was better than Capuano in 2007 just because Vargas had more wins. It's not because he "knows how to win" its because he had more run support. Also, to compare pitcher A on team A with pitcher B on team B solely on wins discounts the effect a poor defense may have had on pitcher B

"Dustin Pedroia doesn't have the strength or bat speed to hit major-league pitching consistently, and he has no power......He probably has a future as a backup infielder if he can stop rolling over to third base and shortstop." Keith Law, 2006


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Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:10 AM Post
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Wins are a team stat. The pitcher has an influence on them by how well he pitches and how deep he goes into the games but his run support controls how much he wins more than anything the pitcher does himself.

Nolan Ryan only had a career winning percentage of .526. That doesnt' make him any less of a HOF pitcher, just means he had a lot of bad run support. A lot of HOF pitchers sit in the .500-.550 range for winning percentage because they weren't on dominant teams. Rollie Fingers had a .491 winning % and is in the hall.

Since this is fueled by the Ben Sheets comment in the other thread I'd add that since Sheets broke out in 2004 he is 40-35 for a .533 and since the Brewers stopped being one of the worst teams in baseball he is 28-21 for a .571. It isn't a fluke that as his team got better so did his record.


(added link to 'other thread' above --1992)


Last edited by 1992casey on February 20, 2008, 6:13 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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#3

Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:16 AM Post
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Also, to compare pitcher A on team A with pitcher B on team B solely on wins discounts the effect a poor defense may have had on pitcher B


ERA is the same way. But at least ERA takes out the offense component of pitching wins, which should have just about zero value in determining a pitchers worth. I don't buy that a pitcher pitches differently depending on the score. The goal in any situation is to get the batter out.


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#4

Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:20 AM Post
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Nolan Ryan only had a career winning percentage of .526. That doesnt' make him any less of a HOF pitcher, just means he had a lot of bad run support.


To be picky, I think Ryan is a bad example. He really wasn't that great overall. My quick calculation has him ~220 runs above average over his career, and about 22 wins over .500. For his career, he was actually 32 wins over .500.


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#5

Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:21 AM Post
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homer said:
I think if you look at most 300 game winners, they will most likely all have the anciliary stats proving they were good.

I agree with that sentiment, but only because in order to hold down a rotation spot on a major league franchise for the 15-20 years necessary to reach 300 wins, you have to be pretty darn good. So for a career, I think it can be an effective benchmark. Season to season? No.



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Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:33 AM Post
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Wins are a team stat. The pitcher has an influence on them by how well he pitches and how deep he goes into the games but his run support controls how much he wins more than anything the pitcher does himself.


I agree with this completley. If I had the choice of two pitchers to add to the Brewers and pitcher A had a 3.00 ERA with 10 wins and pitcher B had a 4.00 ERA with 15 wins, all else being equal, I'd opt for pitcher A.

This is not Shea Vucinich


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#7

Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:43 AM Post
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This is a great example as to why you cannot only use stats to prove a point. There are so many variables that go into them that unless you really narrowing it down you are comparing apples and oranges. A catchers throwing percentage is another good example of this. Any catcher is going to have a great throwing percentage with Cappy on the mound. When Sheets is on the mound, Ivan Rodriguez wouldn't throw out alot of runner.


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#8

Posted: February 20, 2008, 6:49 AM Post
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I think wins certainly help make a pitcher look even better, but I think ERA, WHIP and innings may be a better way to look at how good a pitcher is.

Formerly BrewCrewIn2004

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#9

Posted: February 20, 2008, 7:06 AM Post
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jwill535 said:
This is a great example as to why you cannot only use stats to prove a point. There are so many variables that go into them that unless you really narrowing it down you are comparing apples and oranges. A catchers throwing percentage is another good example of this. Any catcher is going to have a great throwing percentage with Cappy on the mound. When Sheets is on the mound, Ivan Rodriguez wouldn't throw out alot of runner.

what else besides stats would you use to prove a point in baseball terms? length of service/seniority? team leadership? stats in large measure determines a baseball players salary, especially after free agent eligible. read the box score--hello, it's stats. offensive stats, defensive stats...........

all the stats together get analyzed and then some. look at some of the stats available after the "money ball' era has started. especially with pitchers since they dont steal bases, drive in runs, etc. then there are splits-again stats. wins are an important stat, but not the only one.



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Posted: February 20, 2008, 7:28 AM Post
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Ennder said:
Since this is fueled by the Ben Sheets comment in the other thread I'd add that since Sheets broke out in 2004 he is 40-35 for a .533 and since the Brewers stopped being one of the worst teams in baseball he is 28-21 for a .571. It isn't a fluke that as his team got better so did his record.

Sheets also has been injured during this time so he might have more wins to this total and the Brewers might have won a division last year if he would have been healthy all year.

Wins are only part of the equation when looking at a pitcher, and how well he is performing.


(pared back long quote --1992)


Last edited by 1992casey on February 20, 2008, 9:56 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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#11

Posted: February 20, 2008, 8:29 AM Post
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Yup wins matter. Vargas at 11-6 was almost as good as Sheets at 12-5. Only one win difference.

Fan is short for fanatic.
I blame Wang.


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#12

Posted: February 20, 2008, 9:05 AM Post
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Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt both came up in 2001. Oswalt is 112-54 while Sheets is 73-74.

By some statistical analysis it could be said that Sheets is the equal of Oswalt. But the object isn't winning statistical battles it's winning. Therefore Oswalt has been considerably more valuable to the Astros than Sheets has been to the Brewers. The job of the starting pitcher is to hold the opponent to fewer runs than his team scores while he is on the mound whether that means 6 runs, 4 runs, 3 runs, 2 runs, 1 run or 0 runs. Most of those pitchers considered all time greats did this consistently. Now over the course of any particular season, factors such as run support, bullpen effectiveness (more so in the past 30 years) and luck play a part one way or another but over a career these tend to even out to some degree.

When your teams "ace" only wins 12 games it puts quite a burden on the rest of the team to get the 78 or so more wins needed to get to the 90 usually needed to get to the postseason.


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#13

Posted: February 20, 2008, 9:20 AM Post
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JohnBriggs12 said:
Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt both came up in 2001. Oswalt is 112-54 while Sheets is 73-74.
That's nice. Now look at the teams winning percentages. Oswalt's teams were much, much better than Sheets' teams.

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#14

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:01 AM Post
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Now over the course of any particular season, factors such as run support, bullpen effectiveness (more so in the past 30 years) and luck play a part one way or another.

Runs support, bullpen, and luck play a HUGE role in a pitchers win/loss record. Why acknowledge that and and then say this:
When your teams "ace" only wins 12 games

Sheets had absolutely no control over his win total. A pitchers job is to let up as little runs as possible. Sheets did that, and he happened to do it very well. Unfortunately for him, the offense and bullpen didn't do well behind him. Why would someone still use wins to judge a pitcher when the stats flaws are so obvious?



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#15

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:03 AM Post
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trwi7 said:
JohnBriggs12 said:
Ben Sheets and Roy Oswalt both came up in 2001. Oswalt is 112-54 while Sheets is 73-74.
That's nice. Now look at the teams winning percentages. Oswalt's teams were much, much better than Sheets' teams.

over the last 3 years the brewers ahve won 239 games, while the astros have won 244.

over the last 3 years sheets has won 28 games, while oswalt has won 49 games.

so what is your point? jonny briggs is correct.



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#16

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:20 AM Post
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Oswalt has 21 more wins over the last three years because he has started 36 more games over the last three years...and because he is better than Sheets. If you gave Sheets an additional 36 starts to match Oswalt's, Sheets would probably have another 16 wins or so, giving him a total of 44 wins.

I don't see how JB's statement proves that wins are a good pitching stat. All his statement proves is that Oswalt is a better, more durable pitcher who has pitched 36 more games than Sheets has over the last three years. I don't think that anybody would argue that Oswalt has been a better, more valuable pitcher than Sheets.


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#17

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:28 AM Post
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ozzybourne said:

over the last 3 years the brewers ahve won 239 games, while the astros have won 244.

over the last 3 years sheets has won 28 games, while oswalt has won 49 games.

so what is your point? jonny briggs is correct.


Not quite. Over the past 7 years, Houston has scored 5355 runs, for an average of 765 a year. In that time, Milwaukee has scored 4972 runs, for 710 a year. The runs that Houston scored play a large part in his number of wins.

And besides, the point is moot. I don't think anyone would argue that Sheets has produced more by any statistical measure. He has a career 3.07 ERA to Sheets' 3.83. Sheets has 1229 IP, Oswalt has 1413 IP. Oswalt has a career FIP of 3.36 and Sheets a 3.76.

Oswalts been better, no doubt about it. His team has also scored more runs behind him. Bringing up that example doesn't prove anything toward the validity of W/L records.


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#18

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:30 AM Post
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Over the past 3 years Oswalt has the 2nd most wins in all of baseball and Sheets has been hurt part of all 3 years. So yeah I'm not too surprised they don't compare. Oswalt also had possibly the best defensive SS in the last 100 years playing behind him (yes many think Everett is better than Ozzie was). Oswalt is a great pitcher, that doesn't mean Sheets isn't because he cannot match a .645 W% over the last 3 years. Very few pitchers in the history of the game match that.


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#19

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:34 AM Post
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Ben Sheets lack of durability kills him when you look at him and other top pitchers over the last 3 seasons. He has a ton of great other stas out there that gets pointed out by his backers.

Like I said wins have to be part of the process when looking at how good a pitcher is, along with other stats that have been to the forefront lately.


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#20

Posted: February 20, 2008, 10:37 AM Post
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who will make more money--a pitcher with who averages 16 wins 3 years in a row or a pitcher who averages 9? the wins stat is important to MLB executives who determine pay, the same guys who run arbitration. so you're saying it is not important in determining the validity of w/l records? and big contracts after career years that included a big win total? yes gm's will pay for talent, but sheets will make a lot more money next year if he wins 18 games instead of 10.


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