Over the last few weeks I’ve been breaking down reasons to ignore the pitcher win and I think the case is pretty airtight. First I gave you the 9 best seasons under 9 wins, then I gave you the 9 worst 20 win seasons, and showed you that wins do not even out over a career. Finally, I presented a case study in wins using Cliff Lee and Barry Zito’s 2012 season. The evidence is clear, wins do not reflect individual performance and shouldn’t be used as such. But if you’re not convinced, read this and tell me what you think (all numbers for starting pitchers from 2013 entering 6/13):
- A pitcher has gone 6+ IP and allowed 0 ER and not earned a win 68 times.
- If you lower that to 5+IP and 0 ER, it goes up to 82 times.
- A pitcher has gone 6+ IP and allowed 4 or fewer baserunners and not earned a win 50 times.
- A pitcher has gone 6+ IP, allowed 4 or fewer baserunners AND allowed 0 ER and not earned a win 20 times.
- A pitcher has gone 8+ IP and allowed 1 or fewer ER and not earned a win 23 times.
- A pitcher has gone 8+ IP and allowed 1 or fewer ER and earned a LOSS 4 times.
- A pitchers has gone 5 IP or fewer and allowed 10 or more baserunners and earned a win 29 times.
- A pitcher has gone 6 IP or fewer and allowed 5 ER or more and earned a win 12 times.
- A pitcher has allowed 6 ER or more an earned a win 7 times.
- A pitcher has walked 6 or more batters and earned a win 9 times.
- A pitcher has allowed 12 baserunners or more and earned a win 23 times. Only two of them went 7 or more innings.
- A pitcher has gone 7+IP with 10+ K, 2 or fewer BB, and 3 or fewer ER and not earned a win 28 times.
So let’s review. You can have a great season and win fewer than 9 times. You can have a below average season and win 20. You can have a much better career than another pitcher and finish with the same winning percentage. A pitcher can dramatically out pitch another and have way fewer wins in a season. And finally, the above 12 things can happen…before the All-Star break.
I’ll close with this. In 2012 a pitcher went 7 or more innings and allowed 0 ER 363 times. They didn’t earn a win 57 times in those starts. Do we really care about a statistic that says a pitcher who goes 7 or more innings while allowing 0 ER shouldn’t get a win 16% of the time?
I know I don’t.