No No, No, No No No, No No
Joe Posnanski had a nice post about something weighing heavily on our feeble minds.
There are so many fun things to be found in The Bill James Handbook. I was glancing through it again in my flu-ridden stupor and ran across his pitchers most likely to throw a no-hitter along with their percentages.
1. Scott Kazmir, 24%
2. Erik Bedard, 23%
3. Jake Peavy, 20%
4. Johan Santana, 17%
5. Daisuke Matsuzaka, 13%
6. A.J. Burnett, 12%
7. Chris Young, 12%
8. Tim Lincecum, 12%
9. Javier Vazquez, 11%
10. Oliver Perez, 11%
Mind you, this actually has some statistical relevance. There was actual thought and number crunching that helped comprise this list. I am a bit shocked at Vazquez's inclusion here, but the rest have that domination factor. When they are on, they are unhittable and they have devastating out pitches that are second to none when they are working. Joe also assembles his own list in a non-scientific manner, but it is hard to argue with his list.
1. Johan Santana.
I’m stunned that not only has Santana never thrown a no-hitter, he’s never thrown a one-hitter. He’s never thrown a two-hitter. Of course, the reason for that is simple: Santana does not complete games — the guy has six complete games in his career so far.
You have to agree with his #1 choice and that is not being a homer. The guy is moving to the NL with a big park and a good, and sometimes great when Endy subs in for Alou, defense behind him. As for him not completing games, who cares? If you could see the look on my face, you would see the look of a person who does not care. The guy has simply no reason to push himself and has logged more innings than any human since 2004. If all the chips are down, I have no doubt he will push it.
2. Chris Young.
He has led the major leagues in fewest hits allowed per nine innings each of the last two years, which is pretty amazing. But when it comes to pitching into the late innings, he makes Johan Santana look like Robin Roberts. Young had made 99 starts in his still young career and he has completed exactly 0.0 of those games. Not one complete game. He currently ranks fifth on that all-time list, most starts without a complete game (behind Tony Armas, Casey Fossum, Shawn Chacon and Claudio Vargas) and I would say he is by the most accomplished starter to never complete a game.
Fewest hits per nine? Nice. Despite the facts, I am not agreeing with his place among the top ten. Also, other factors apply which you will see down the line.
3. Scott Kazmir.
One complete game in young Kaz’s career. You know, I realized that the complete game is way, way down and everything, but I guess until I started looking at young pitchers, I had never really put it in proper perspective.
Pitcher of the 1950s:
Warren Spahn (215 complete games) or Robin Roberts (237 CGs).
Pitcher of the 1960s: Juan Marichal (196 CGs) or Bob Gibson (165 CGs)
Pitcher of the 1970s: Jim Palmer (175 CGs) or Tom Seaver (147 CGs)
Pitcher of the 1980s: Jack Morris (133 CGs) or Fernando Valenzuela (102 CGs)
Pitcher of the 1990s: Greg Maddux (75 CGs) or Roger Clemens (57 CGs)
Pitcher of the 2000s: Randy Johnson (30 CGs), Pedro (18 CGs), Johan Santana (6 CGs) or Clemens (3 CGs).
We’re there — we’re at that ground floor in baseball now where the complete game is so outdated that it’s possible that the best pitcher in the 2010s might not complete a single game. Or maybe, who knows, some manager and GM will figure that the best way they could score runs would be to go to the old Earl Weaver and Casey Stengel method of platooning, and that will mean the need to have more hitters, thus fewer pitcher, and that would lead to more complete games. I doubt it — as Bill James will tell you the complete game has been dwindling pretty consistently since the beginning of the 20th Century.
It seems unlikely now for that trend to ever get reversed. Anyway, Kazmir’s stuff is so overpowering, he will — assuming he stays healthy — have more than one shot at a no-hitter, I think. I have him below the other two only because it seems to me that an American League guy — especially on an American League team with 19 games against the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays — will have a tougher time throwing the no-no. Of course, that might be wrong. All three no-hitters in 2007 were by American Leaguers (though Justin Verlander threw his against Milwaukee).
I kept that entire blurb because it speaks to the craziness of the game today and how gently pitchers are treated these days. That being said, Kazmir can do it. When that slider is on and his fastball is humming, he is so fun to watch.
4. Carlos Zambrano.
I’m surprised he’s not on Bill’s list, though I’m certain there’s a sound reason for it. Zambrano seems to me one of the rare guys in today’s game who — even though he has never actually thrown a no-hitter — is a legitimate threat any time he pitches*. He’s thrown a couple of eight-inning one hitters, two complete game two hitters, if he was pitching in San Diego or LA or somewhere like that I would bet on him being the No. 1 choice to get the next no-hitter.
My issue with the Big Z. is his walks. However, the man can throw 150 pitches so I would not think the walks prohibit him. Didn't Burnett walk like six during a no hitter? I would suspect his would go something like that.
5. Jake Peavy.
Another guy who doesn’t complete games. He deservedly ran away with the NL Cy Young Award last year even though he did not throw a shutout nor complete even one game. Last guy to win the NL Cy Young without a single complete game? Roger Clemens in 2004. But Peavy was a lot better than Clemens in 2004 — he became the 30th pitcher since 1900 to win the League Triple Crown — most wins, most strikeouts, best ERA. He was the first to do it without a complete game* — (only Johan Santana in 2006 has done it without throwing a shutout). *Another sign of the times.
Here is a sampling of those Triple Crown winners: Lefty Gomez, 1934: 26-5, 2.33 ERA, 25 CGs, 6 SHOs. Bob Feller, 1940: 27-11, 2.61 ERA, 31 CGs, 4 SHOs. Sandy Koufax, 1965: 26-8, 2.04 ERA, 27 CGs, 8 SHOs. Steve Carlton, 1972: 27-10, 1.97 ERA, 30 CGs, 8 SHOs. Dwight Gooden, 1985: 24-4, 1.53 ERA, 16 CGs, 8 SHOs. Roger Clemens, 1997: 21-7, 2.05 ERA, 9 CGs, 3 SHOs, x HGHs Pedro Martinez, 1999: 23-4, 2.07 ERA, 5 CGs, 1 SHO. Randy Johnson, 2002: 24-5, 2.32 ERA, 8 CGs, 4 SHOs. Jake Peavy, 2007: 19-6, 2.54 ERA, 0 CGs, 0 SHOs.
The caveat for him is the outfield defense. I would say more things have to go right for him than others on the list. One or two spectacular plays need to be made and with Kouzmanoff at third and the aging outfielders with Headly/Hairston in left, you would be hard pressed to convince me he can throw one without striking out twenty. That would especially be true at home with such an expansive outfield when those guys simply cannot go after balls and vacuum everything up.
6. Erik Bedard.
My favorite Erik Bedard story so far was hearing Brian Bannister talk about facing him in spring training. Banny — what a guy. He takes a lot of pride in his hitting, and he said he was facing Bedard and the guy was throwing serious gas. Banny says that what makes Bedard’s gas so much more effective than most is that he hides the ball really well so that when you’re swinging, it’s ON YOU before you even know what happened. Anyway, Banny’s telling the story and he says (I’m paraphrasing), “So Bedard throws me a pitch, and I’m right on it. I mean I’m right on it. And I hit a hard line drive — I’m right on it, this is the best I can do — and it goes foul over the first -base dugout. And then I’m like, ‘Uh, OK, I don’t think I’m hitting this guy.”
Awesome story. Awesome pick. That is especially true if he moves to SafeCo, but Ichiro might have to call off Ibanez a few times though.
7. Tim Lincecum.
He just seems sort of a modern day Jose Deleon — I think he’ll have no-hitters going into the sixth and seventh inning for as long as he can stay healthy.
Great arm and a great pick. I just hope it does not happen against the Mets.
8. Matt Cain.
I guess a 22-year old stud who consistently allows fewer than 8 hits per nine innings and has been good for one complete game each year he’s been in the big leagues should be on this list.
Man, the Giants sure can develop pitching. Now about those bats...
9. John Maine.
I don’t know why … I just think this is the guy who is going to break that Mets curse. He’s thrown a shutout each of the last two years, he keeps hits way down, he strikes out people. Here’s the second preseason call of 2008 — John Maine throws a no-hitter for the Mets.*
*Brilliant reader Jeff P. already points out the contradiction that if I think Maine will throw the first Mets no-hitter, he should be ranked ahead of Santana. It’s true. However, it’s a mind-heart thing. My mind says that Santana is the most likely guy in baseball to throw a no-hitter in 2008. But my heart says he’s another Mets great who won’t throw a no-hitter for the team (while young and up-and-comer John Maine will). The rankings are more based on mind. The opinions are more based on heart. I know this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, but there you go. It’s like Eddie told Tom Berenger. Words and music, man. Words and music.
How can you not agree with this one? We have seen him almost do it about two times already and simply dominates some games. When he is on and getting people to chase those high heaters, he motors through the lineup.
10. Cole Hamels.
I’m a huge no-hit fan of Fausto Carmona, King Felix, Jered Weaver, but for whatever reason I can already see the headline: “Cole Hamels Throws No-No.”
How can you not agree with this one? He looks people make stupid every night with that change-up. Overall, a great list.
However, I would like to inject some more homerism and remove his #2 off the list and slide in Oliver Perez somewhere between seventh and tenth. If you put Kazmir on there, Oliver needs to be as well. Their stuff is comparable when they are on and both sliders could arguably be the best from any lefties in the game so I am with Bill James on this one. The guy may walk ten one night, but he can rebound with nine k's and no walks the next time out. Believe the hype.
However, his doctor thinks he may never pitch again without surgery. Even if he could come out and pitch in 2008, would sitting out 2009 after surgery mean retirement is in his future after 2008? It would be hard to envision him sitting out 2009 and rehabbing all the way back in 2010. The only way I see Schilling returning to pitch again is if get surgery now and eyes the 2009 season.
The Rockies may have finished second and made it to the World Series, but who is speaking of them in the same regard as the Dodgers, D-Backs, and Padres? Not many. You will forgive me if I think the NL East is in fact a two team race that does not include the Phillies. One thing I do have an issue with is this:
RIGHT FIELD — Also not close, but in the Braves' favor. Jeff Francoeur is far preferable to the Mets' Chavez/Church duo and the Phillies' Geoff Jenkins/So Taguchi/Jason Werth combination
Frenchy facts: In 2006, he had a .260/.293/.449 line. Yikes. His 2007 line was .293/.338/.444. The bad news is even though he improved in the plate discipline department, he was still pretty bad and simply covered it up better with a higher BA. It is also worth noting he had a BABIP of .337 in '05, .284 in '06, and .337 in '07. The MLB average is usually between .290 and .300. Of course the big time players end up sustaining a much higher BABIP, but we have no idea if that does include Frenchy. He had exactly the same about of XBHs in '07 and in '06, but ten fewer balls found their way over the way in '07. His OPS+ was 87 in '06 and 103 in '07. Overall he notched 22 Win Shares, after nabbing 16 in '06.
I guess the real question is, who is Frenchy? Is he Atlanta's David Wright as many over zealous fan dubbed him? Or is he another toolsy player that has trouble putting it all together?
Church facts: Churchy compiled 19 Win Shares in 18 less games in '07. In '06, he tallied 6 less Win Shares in 71 games compared to 162 for Frenchy. Over the last three seasons, he beat Frenchy's career best OBP and posted an OPS+ of 118, 131, and 114. He also posted a higher WARP1 in '07 for good measure. The big thing here is one guy will be 24 next year while the other would be 29, but why no love for Church? If I were making a team for the long term, I could not deny Frenchy's upside, but for 2008 and maybe even 2009, give me some Ryan Church. I am shocked people really think this guy is an afterthought.
"Roger came to me one day and told me that we had been asked to do a photo shoot for Sports Illustrated," Debbie Clemens recalls. "I had major anxiety! I was a 39-year-old mother of 4! Once I realized that this WAS going to be a reality, I decided I had to give it everything I had." "My mind was set," Debbie Clemens continued. "I am not a risk taker, but have since learned that with great risk, sometimes comes great reward. The responses from that experience have been wonderful and I feel it was a turning point in my life. It's nice to have a goal for yourself and to see it through. The goal kept me motivated and focused. Using common sense and my ability to balance my life, I achieved that goal."
Big risk. Taking some clothes off and smiling in spread that everyone forgot until now? I totally admire you for that. There was also a tasty one in the comments:
If it's true, maybe Kim Mattingly should've taken some as well, then she's still be hot.
Ziiiiing!! Now, that is not nice. True, but not nice.
Take a look at this link as well. The pictures are classic. Nothing like getting together with a few buddies and downing some Miller Lites and injected some steroids.
It's not a lie if you believe it.
New York Edition: Aside from 56 at-bats for Baltimore in 2006, Fernando Tatis has not played in the majors since 2003. Nevertheless, the Mets have invited him to spring training and would love to have a righty bat to potentially serve the role Julio Franco once filled - pinch-hitter/caddy to Carlos Delgado.
He will receive $3 million this season, followed by salaries of $6 million, $9 million and $10 million. The Yankees will have a $14 million option for 2012 or can pay a $2 million buyout.
There is a $15 million option for 2013 with another $2 million buyout.
Seems like a great deal for each side. Cano will never go hungry again and the Yankees get some nice value out of stellar production.