More Miscellaneous Stats

Yesterday I wrote about the idea of decade lists. These are a list of stats showing who led the majors in a particular stat for a decade. Baseball Digest just published its list for the period 1900-2009, each decade divided using the ending zero as the first year of the decade and the ending nine as the last. Yesterday I looked at the hitters, today I want to comment on the pitchers. This particular set of stats shows the following categories: wins, strikeouts, ERA, innings pitched, shutouts, saves. Now some thoughts on them:

1. You can see the evolving role of both the starter and reliever over the decades. This is the number of wins that leads each decade beginning in 1900: 236, 265, 190, 199, 170, 202, 191, 186, 162, 176, 148. Notice how there are two major drop offs. One is between 1910-19 and 1920-29, the end of the deadball era. The other is between 1970-79 and 1980-89, when relievers become much more common. You can also see this in the increasing number of saves. The lowest number to lead a decade is 21 (Joe McGinnity) in the first decade published and peaks with the last decade published when the lead number is 397 (Mariano “Hey, I finally got a commercial”  Rivera). The same thing happens with shutouts. They peak with Walter Johnson’s 74 in the teens and bottom out with Roy Halladay’s 14 in the just concluded decade.

2. As with the hitters, you can see the advent of the “lively ball” era. There is a drastic drop in wins, shutouts (Johnson also leads the decade of the 1920s, but with only 24) and a huge rise in ERA.

3. Again as with the hitters, there are some pretty surprising pitchers who rise to the top of these lists. Burleigh Grimes leads all pitchers in wins during the 1920s. Who woulda thunk it? Dazzy Vance leads the same decade in strikeouts. I would have never pegged Early Wynn as the 1950s strikeout king. With just over half a decade of play, Sandy Koufax is still third in strikeouts in the 1960s (just over 150 out of first).

4. These lists do only traditional stats. There’s no WHIP, no adjusted ERA, etc. SportsPhd just did a nice article on why “Wins” is a stat that’s less than trustworthy on determining pitcher’s ability. I suggest you read it. It helps explain why this list isn’t necessarily the best list available. My previous comments about breaking lists into decades stands here also.

I’ve always liked to study baseball statistics. I find them individually interesting and note that they can be enlightening. This list is good in that it helps readers see, in simple columns of figures, the changing nature of the game. That’s probably something this list does better than simply giving you an idea of which player dominated which decade.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: