A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Misguided and Uninformed

The other day I tossed out there that Johan Santana was the best left-hander of our generation. Of course, I was being a tad overzealous there as Ossy had pointed out to me. Without actually looking at the facts, I mistakenly rushed to judgment and insisted I was right despite not actually having any sort of evidence to support my outlandish claim. And yes, it was outlandish. We could debate what exactly is our 'generation', but I am for the most part speaking of 1990 and after. 1994 and after if you really need some type of event to use as a starting point.

Randy Johnson is a strange character in many ways. Looks, attitude, etc. However, one thing in particular is simply the age that he came into his own. Part of the reason I blindly chose Johan is because he started being effective at such a younger age, but who cares when Randy started dominating? In 1993 at 29, Randy ran off a string of seasons with an ERA+ of 136, 154, 192, 135, 196, 135, 186, 181, 188, 197, 110, and 177. His 1999 season featured 271.7 innings pitched while allowing 207 hits, striking out 364 batters, and laying a 2.48 ERA and 1.02 WHIP down. For good measure he racked up twelve complete games. In fact, it could argued that Randy put up six seasons better than Johan's best season and another comparable to his best at age 40.

Since 2004, Johan has been a full time starter. If you take Randy's best four year period and stack them up side by side, they look pretty good on paper.

     Randy   Johan
G 140 134
CG 31 6
SHO 11 4
IN 1030 912.1
HR 98 103
ERA 2.48 2.89
K/9 12.38 9.70
K/BB 4.92 4.96
H/9 6.88 6.95
BB/9 2.52 1.95
Those those four years look comparable. However, Randy Johnson put up an ERA+ of 186, 181, 188, and 197 during that span against Johan's 182, 155, 161, and 130. Both are spectacular pitchers, but Randy gets the edge there. Randy has been so good for so long that Johan's accomplishments pale in comparison. Of course Johan has plenty of time to change our minds and pile up some numbers, but right here right now, Randy Johnson is the best left handed pitcher of our time and has been insanely good.

That being said, there have been two guys better than Randy Johnson and it is not all that close for me. While Randy's best season of ERA+ stands 37th on the all time list, Pedro checks in at 32, 27, 18, 9, and 2. Pedro's #2 season is really #1 of all-time as Tim Keefe, who occupies the #1 spot, did it in 1880 in slightly over 100 innings. In 2000 when Pedro dropped that incredible season that might be the best of all-time, he put up the 2nd best ERA+ with 291. He tossed out a 0.74 WHIP, 1.74 ERA, and tossed four shut outs in the AL East in a hitter's park. From 1997 to 2003, Pedro had arguably the best run of any pitcher of all-time and had a stretch of ERA+ of 291, 163, 243, 291, 189, 202, and 210.

A close second behind Pedro is Greg Maddux who put up two of the top five seasons of ERA+ in back to back seasons with 271 and 262 in 1994 and 1995. During those two seasons he posted ridiculous K/BB of 5.03 and 7.87. In fact in 1995, the entire league hit .197/.224/.258 against him. What is interesting about that is he was better at the plate than the rest of the league against him with a .222/.234/.254 line. I shit you not. From 1992 to 1998, Maddux had an ERA+ of 166, 171, 271, 262, 162, 189, and 197.

Those guys were pretty good outside of their peak seasons as well and are truly three of the best pitchers we have ever seen. While Johan is not really in the discussion when it comes to matching up with those guys at their peak, he still has time. Greg Maddux was 28 in 1994, Pedro was 28 in 2000, and we know how old Randy was when broke into pitching's elite. Johan could be in the right place at the right time to start his own historic run and put up some ridiculously gaudy numbers up in Queens. Hopefully he does break into the conversation of who is the best of our generation so I will be more prophetic than just misguided.

* * *

  • This is an oldie but a goodie. Go to Google and type 'find chuck norris' and then hit 'I'm Feeling Lucky'.

  • The real story on who was in and who was out in regards to the Johan Santana trade scenarios. This one actually makes sense as opposed to the other ridiculousness bandied about.

  • The Tigers bought out Curtis Granderson's arbitration years and tacked on a few more. Personally, I would have waited until after the 2008 season. His .203/.266/.368 line in 291 at-bats against lefties over the last three years is ugly. However, that looks sparkling compared to his .160/.225/.269 line last year against lefties.

    I am not saying that would give me pause to do this contract, but I want to be damn sure his numbers against righties are legit. He really needs to be great against righties to accept an OPS+ of 52 against lefties for his career and an OPS+ of 11 in 2007. I mean, that has to be the worst out of any starter, right?

  • Mary Noble had a tidbit that is likely to rain on the El Duque to the bullpen parade.

    I can't disagree with your thinking, though I can't embrace your solution. Livan wouldn't come cheap, and he might not come at all with the chance to pitch regularly hardly assured. I like the idea of El Duque in the 'pen, but when I brought it up to one of the Mets' people on Saturday night, the response was, "El Duque was our best pitcher last year." And he was.

    It seems as though the rotation is set at this point despite what Omar says.
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    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Nice Tim Keefe reference, Mike. I'd like to add that for the first 12 years of his career, Keefe pitched from 54 feet away from home plate, that might have something to do with his dominance.

    11:14 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Maddux was a very good hitter, but did you know who has the best lifetime BA for a pitcher?

    None other than Terry Forster's .397. Not too bad for a fat tub of goo.

    11:20 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Keefe also knocked down 600+ innings one year!!! I think his WHIP was under 1.00 that year as well. Different era, but it still confounds me.

    .397 is craptastic.

    11:28 AM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Wait, so the Twins didn't actually come crawling back to the Yankees right before executing the trade with the Mets and only ask for Ian Kennedy plus prospects? I guess Klapisch forgot about that whole Chien-Ming Wang part of the deal. Like I said before, Bob Klapisch is full of shit.

    Pedro is the G.O.A.T.

    Wait, Maddux actually held batters to a lower OPS than he hit himself? I imagine others have done that (Owings last year?), but not with OPS numbers in the mid 400s. That's freakin' ridiculous.

    I have irrational love for Granderson. I love the way he plays. I will assume that he will improve against lefties just like he has improved every other facet of his offensive game in recent years. I don't see the Tigers regretting that deal.

    I am all about The Duke in the rotation. I don't see how the wear and tear would be so much better coming out of the pen. If The Duke seriously regresses this year and Pelfrey turns the corner, then the Mets should re-visit this. But I think El Duque should start the season in the rotation. I only wish the Mets had exhibited the ability to know when to pull the plug on past-their-prime veterans in lieu of young players ready to step in. I would feel much more confident in my plan if I had any confidence in the Mets doing that.

    11:44 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I'm sure that Kennedy rumor will get perpetuated for years to come.

    Well, Owings might have done that or some other 'prolific' hitting pitcher, but it is moreso to the point how low Maddux held them to versus how well Maddux hit, which was not all that good.

    Basically the league was a #9 starting pitcher and he was as valuable at the plate.

    I don't see how the wear and tear would be so much better coming out of the pen.

    No one knows what actually is harder on the arm. We can speculate, but no one knows and I suspect it goes person by person. I am looking at The Duque splits and how he kills righties. Also, I think he has a rubber arm.

    It more so boils down to depth. If he is in the rotation vs. Lohse, you do not have depth. With Lohse, you have The Duque and Pelfrey and now it is just Pelfrey.

    Of course, I would rather just go with Pelfrey, but I am irrational.

    11:50 AM

    Anonymous Scott from Peekskill said...

    I would like to see Pelfrey be the #5 starter this season. I would let him pitch the first 5 innings then let Duq finish the game. 9 innings out of 2 pitchers. Less stress on the pen only having to pitch every 4/5 days.

    Might work for both pitchers.

    Craptastic...classic phrases abound.

    11:58 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Scott, that is one of those newfangled forward thinking things. I love that type of outside thinking you exhibited.

    Much better than any six man rotation suggestion, which I do not like. Of course, what happens if Pelf is at 70 pitches and has a one hitter in the fifth? Do you operate with an iron fist? Seems like Willie would be open to a lot of second guessing. However, this is about preservation of a young arm as well.

    Also, when you do need that extra starter, it would be easy to mess around with set-up so The Duque can make some spot starts.

    12:11 PM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    El Duque being the long man in the pen and a spot starter is a great idea, but we don't make the decisions. He has a rubber arm, but paper mache legs and back. Most of his injuries have been lower-body stuff, no?

    This was the item on my Mets daily calendar this Sunday:

    In 2008, Shea Stadium will be exactly as old as Ebbets Field was when the Dodgers abandoned it

    12:29 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Right, and we are talking about arm as the thing that would need to be resiliant, right? His arm has been fine and 10 to 20 pitches every other day and on rare back to back days would seemingly be less wear and tear on someone would be comperable to 100 pitches every five days.

    Less recovery time for relievers, but less stress on the days they go. I have yet to see anyone come up with someone concrete and I woudl venture to guess you could not. Of course, there are guys that profile better as one of the other, but I think The Duque could do both.

    But again, he is death on righties and that is intriguing out of the bullpen if the Mets have another solid starter option, which I think they do. The Mets + The Duque in the bullpen + Pelfrey in the rotation > The Mets + The Duque in the rotation + Register in the bullpen.

    Of course depth is the issue there, but he can slide from the bullpen into the rotation for stretches.

    Very appropiate about Ebbets. I am excited to ditch Shea!!!

    12:40 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    where in the hell is my citifield brick? i have some paper in desperate need of weighting. how hard is it to mail a fake brick? these mets never get it right.

    1:00 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    We have so many righties in the BP already, i dont really see it as a need in the BP that Duque goes in and fills and makes us better. its already filled imo.

    We got Heils and Sanchez already. Now Wise too (even though i think he's better vs lefties) and look at Sosa, he's death on righties too. And Joe Smith wants some PT too!!!!

    Duque is a starter! Let the man start till his arm falls off!!!!

    2:00 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Goddamn late brick. How much was this brick anyway? And you get a real one on the rotunda?

    Hey, we have three lefties too!

    The Duque!

    Not all that unbalanced. Give me skill over anything. Smith will be in AAA. I am sure Wise will make it since The Duque will be in the rotation, but you get the idea. There is Padilla, Register, and Lugo as well with Bostick and Vargas due to get a bullpen look one of these days with Kunz on the way.

    This bullpen should be pretty deep.

    2:48 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Also Heilman can get lefties out as well. We cannot forget that. There are plenty of guys who are good at getting lefties out and the Duque would be more deadly on righties than anyone in the bullpen with the exception of Duaner if he can come back strong.

    2:49 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    Give El Dugue 2 Aleve and send him out there. :)

    Mike that was an excellent article on the trade. It only echoes what we have discussed at this blog. Not too many people looked at it rationally. Given the circumstances and the way events unfolded in the end it was the best the Twins could do. The trade did result in a major upgrade of the Twins farm system. In football you see trades of this type regularly as teams will trade a player for a couple of draft picks or trade a high pick for a couple of lower picks to strengthen multiple positions. If it works for the Twins they will in the future have a star CFer and will fill a couple of rotation spots with quality pitchers.

    Finally, the blog we have been all waiting for.

    9:00 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    am i the only one fool enough to fall for the brick thing here?
    i think my wife paid a couple hundred. it was a xmas present.

    Great blog find two by four. Hopefully it will lead to more literate, thoughtful heckling.

    I love the idea of Pelf and Olduque being bullpen buddies. Platoon pitchers.

    Speaking of retirees, latest Growns and Moans column mentions that Julio Francostein can't find a job--haha--looks like he ain't playing til he's 60.

    i feel like I made my peace with Aaron Heilman being traded. Now it's like, oh you're still here, and it's only awkward if we let it be, right?

    I know Heilman is tremendously valuable and all, so this isn't entirely rational, but I would have been happy to see him go in a trade. He's just one of those players who fails at the wrong times for me. I just don't like his ...face. I have saved all my love for honoring the Duaner.

    9:40 PM

    Anonymous Dep said...

    I was gonna get a brick and then just never did. one of those things you talk about doing, and then just don't.

    Heils is the man, I think we would regret trading him bigtime.

    First Eli...now Aaron.

    2008 = YEAR OF THE POUTER!!!!

    10:45 PM

    Anonymous ossy said...

    maddux, martinez, and big unit were the chuck norris of baseball at their prime. i can honestly say without looking at any #'s that they should be unanimous 1st ballot HoFers since they were also quite possibly the 3 of greatest pitchers ever. top 10 if not top 5.
    they were like magic, bird and jordan.

    el duque was a strong armed pimp last year. the whole pen thing though just sounds good bc el duque needs his to take his Ra's al Ghul bath every so often.

    in case you guys arent aware, there's gonna be a met press conference announcing the matt wise pickup and some other moves today.

    fuck willie randolph

    11:48 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    I was watching the Carribean World Series and I just don't get it. I'm watching Ramon Ortiz kicking ass and taking names. He was throwing 92-94 mph with just really nice movement on his fastball. His fastball looked REAL good. Then his breaking and off-speed pitch was magical. He was amazing. And this observation wasn't even based on how bad the competition he was facing was. You could just see how nasty he was throwing. It blew my mind. And I just don't get it because Ramon Ortiz just sucks. He hasn't been useful in almost 3 or 4 years.
    Some team should offer him a deal because what I saw yesterday was amazing. Maybe a move to the bullpen would suit him well so he can focus one inning at a time and go all out.

    In that Randy Johnson and johan comparision, it was amazing to see Randy Johnson have 31 complete.
    Talking about Pedro, Maddux, Randy Johnson, and Johan, isn't it amazing that some of the best pitchers in the history of the game happened to be in our lifetime? I just find it amazing and its a blessing to watch the poetry of thier pitching.

    I believe in Granderson, he's a dynamic guy. I really see him as a leader on his team. Everyone loves and respects the way he plays and that has to matter for something right? That and the fact he's pretty good.

    That article from the Star Tribune was cool and fun to read.

    The Mets are right, El Duque was amazing last year but to expect that performance again is well, it's like when the Yankees depended on Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small to actually be productive after that flukey 2004 season.
    But then again in the Mets' defense he IS the 5th starter.

    12:29 AM


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