In the wake of Felix Hernandez’s massacre of the Boston Red Sox (and absolute up-staging of Daisuke Matsuzaka), I’ve decided it’s time to have some fun with the veteran pitchers who are looking good so far this year. “Veteran”, of course, we’re merely defining as “not a rookie”, and we’re just using the top forty pitchers (by ERA) with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title. As with the regular GoodEnough, they’re ranked on the chart by Stuff2, and FIP is used as a tie breaker. For those who need reminders, the higher the Stuff, the better, and the lower the FIP, the better. Stuff2 is merely Stuff multiplied by the ratio of the pitchers innings to Doc Gooden’s (basically, Stuff2= Stuff*(IP/218).
The chart (it is large), and some remarks are after the break.
THE TOP TEN
In case it’s not plainly obvious, Felix Hernandez has been outstanding, thus far. He’s the only pitcher on our list whose Stuff so far is higher than Doc Gooden’s was for the entire season. The only other pitcher who even comes close is Cole Hamels (joy of joys!). Hamels is also close to Hernandez in FIP, but don’t be too fooled. While Hamels has been excellent, Fernandez has allowed 6 fewer baserunners in four more innings pitched so far this year. So while Hamels WHIP is an excellent 1.077, King Felix has an inhuman 0.471.
Also in the top 10 is perennial Best Pitcher in Baseball, Johan Santana. He’s been walking more batters than usual so far this season, but it’s early, and at least the TV announcers keep telling me he always *struggles* early in the year. I haven’t looked this up yet, but it makes sense, I guess. Rich Harden is right on his heals, and the man is dominant on the rare occasions he’s healthy. Daisuke Matsuzaka is living up to the hype, and teammate Josh Beckett looks poised to bounce back this year. If they can keep their numbers even remotely where they’ve had them through two games, Boston fans won’t have much to cry about.
Fun surprises in the top 10? Kip Wells seems to be reaping the benefits of Dave Duncan’s legendary coaching, and beginning to show that he can live up to his promise. Like wise for Pittsburgh’s Ian Snell. Zack Greinke is back after dealing with personal problems, and he, too, showed enough promise once to look like an annual all-star caliber pitcher. Hopefully, he’s got his head on straight, because his arm appears to be just fine. And Jim Hendry has to be pleased with his work, as Ted Lilly has been outstanding thus far.
I KILLED THE RABBIT MYSELF TO GET THIS FOOT
Some of the guys on this list have been more lucky than dominant, so far. Noah Lowry, Adam Loewen, Matt Morris and Brad Penny have allowed plenty of baserunners and have struck out fewer guys than they’ve walked. That’s not a recipe for success. CC Sabathia has allowed 21 baserunners in 13 innings, which is not how you keep a 2.77 ERA. No one, however, has been more lucky than Arizona’s Doug Davis so far. Look at that WHIP. 1.909! In eleven innings, he’s allowed 21 baserunners!
I’M PROUD OF YOU BOYS
Hey, there aresome rookies in the Top 40. In addition to Matsuzaka, Micah Owings just missed the top 10, with his 11 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings. Houston’s Chris Sampson is no slouch, either, sports a 5.0 K/BB ratio. Way to go fellas!