Cleanup

August 15, 2017
  

2018-40

Cleanup

              Stuff I promised to do before I finished the series.  . .

              Some notable pitchers whose career won-lost records ARE a fair representation of their performance.   The numbers on the left are the actual won-lost records; on the right are the deserved wins and losses.              

First

Last

W

L

WPct

Wins

Losses

WPct

Johnny

Antonelli

126

110

.534

124

103

.545

Bronson

Arroyo

145

131

.525

142

136

.510

Pedro

Astacio

129

124

.510

133

121

.523

Stan

Bahnsen

146

149

.495

140

148

.485

Jesse

Barnes

152

150

.503

148

147

.502

Josh

Beckett

138

106

.566

136

105

.563

Tim

Belcher

146

140

.510

143

136

.512

Andy

Benes

155

139

.527

151

137

.525

Buddy

Black

121

116

.511

118

117

.504

Mike

Boddicker

134

116

.536

131

112

.540

Tiny

Bonham

103

72

.589

104

75

.581

Tommy

Bridges

194

138

.584

192

134

.590

Madison

Bumgarner

100

67

.599

97

68

.589

A.J.

Burnett

164

157

.511

168

153

.523

Ray

Caldwell

133

120

.526

134

120

.526

Kid

Carsey

116

138

.457

114

136

.455

Elton

Chamberlin

157

120

.567

158

125

.558

Larry

Cheney

116

100

.537

110

102

.517

Eddie

Cicotte

208

149

.583

207

157

.569

Watty

Clark

111

97

.534

109

93

.540

Reggie

Cleveland

105

106

.498

100

106

.485

Wilbur

Cooper

216

178

.548

219

179

.550

Stan

Coveleski

215

142

.602

209

145

.591

Johnny

Cueto

114

75

.603

116

77

.601

Bert

Cunningham

142

167

.460

144

162

.470

R.A.

Dickey

110

108

.505

113

108

.510

Larry

Dierker

139

123

.531

139

128

.521

Bill

Dietrich

108

128

.458

106

125

.460

Bill

Doak

169

157

.518

163

154

.515

Pat

Dobson

122

129

.486

120

121

.497

Doug

Drabek

155

134

.536

152

138

.526

Howard

Ehmke

166

166

.500

166

158

.511

Scott

Erickson

142

136

.511

137

134

.505

Duke

Esper

101

100

.502

95

100

.485

Red

Faber

254

213

.544

255

213

.545

Cy

Falkenberg

130

123

.514

131

126

.509

Alex

Fernandez

107

87

.552

112

89

.557

Ray

Fisher

100

94

.515

103

95

.520

Larry

French

197

171

.535

194

169

.535

Charlie

Getzien

145

139

.511

144

141

.505

Kid

Gleason

138

131

.513

135

133

.505

Steve

Gromek

123

108

.532

122

114

.517

Harvey

Haddix

136

113

.546

139

116

.544

WildBill

Hallahan

102

94

.520

102

99

.508

Dan

Haren

153

131

.539

154

131

.540

Guy

Hecker

173

146

.542

173

153

.531

Claude

Hendrix

144

117

.552

146

122

.544

Pat

Hentgen

131

112

.539

127

112

.529

Ray

Herbert

104

107

.493

106

108

.495

Ken

Hill

117

109

.518

119

107

.528

Charlie

Hough

216

216

.500

220

214

.507

Bill

Hutchison

184

163

.530

187

159

.540

SadSam

Jones

229

217

.513

225

221

.504

Addie

Joss

160

97

.623

159

104

.605

Scott

Kazmir

108

96

.529

105

94

.527

Alex

Kellner

101

112

.474

100

111

.475

Darryl

Kile

133

119

.528

131

119

.525

Ellis

Kinder

102

71

.590

100

69

.592

Silver

King

203

153

.570

208

151

.579

Johnny

Klippstein

101

118

.461

106

118

.474

Bob

Knepper

146

155

.485

147

163

.474

John

Lackey

176

135

.566

173

141

.552

Frank

Lary

128

116

.525

133

113

.541

Bill 1

Lee

169

157

.518

170

160

.514

Charlie

Leibrandt

140

119

.541

141

122

.536

Dutch

Leonard

139

112

.554

140

108

.564

Jon

Lester

146

84

.635

145

91

.614

Jon

Lieber

131

124

.514

133

123

.520

Tim

Lincecum

110

89

.553

108

89

.547

Kyle

Lohse

147

143

.507

147

151

.493

Mickey

Lolich

217

191

.532

221

194

.532

Jack

Lynch

110

105

.512

107

110

.493

Rube

Marquard

201

177

.532

199

177

.529

Rudy

May

152

156

.494

151

148

.504

Jim

McCormick

265

214

.553

266

214

.554

Lee

Meadows

188

180

.511

183

177

.508

Kevin

Millwood

169

152

.526

170

148

.534

Clarence

Mitchell

125

139

.473

120

134

.472

George

Mogridge

133

130

.506

134

124

.520

Bill

Monbouquette

114

112

.504

116

108

.518

Earl

Moore

162

154

.513

164

149

.524

Ed

Morris

171

122

.584

172

129

.571

Johnny

Morrison

103

80

.563

97

80

.548

Don

Mossi

101

80

.558

98

78

.557

Jaime

Navarro

116

126

.479

110

125

.467

Hideo

Nomo

123

109

.530

119

111

.517

Bob

Ojeda

115

98

.540

112

103

.520

Darren

Oliver

118

98

.546

118

104

.530

Claude

Osteen

196

195

.501

200

194

.507

Roy

Oswalt

163

102

.615

165

99

.624

Orval

Overall

108

72

.600

103

70

.594

Casey

Patten

105

128

.451

103

130

.442

Marty

Pattin

114

109

.511

119

113

.514

Carl

Pavano

108

107

.502

104

106

.495

Togie

Pittinger

115

113

.504

113

117

.490

Howie

Pollet

131

116

.530

133

109

.550

Bob

Purkey

129

115

.529

123

118

.512

Steve

Renko

134

146

.479

140

145

.490

Shane

Reynolds

114

96

.543

109

97

.530

Don

Robinson

109

106

.507

113

111

.503

Dick

Rudolph

121

108

.528

121

110

.523

Red

Ruffing

273

225

.548

276

225

.551

Dick

Ruthven

123

127

.492

117

124

.486

Jason

Schmidt

130

96

.575

130

102

.561

Jack

Scott

103

109

.486

102

107

.488

Mike

Scott

124

108

.534

123

113

.521

Bob

Shaw

108

98

.524

105

98

.519

Bryn

Smith

108

94

.535

106

99

.517

Harry

Staley

136

119

.533

133

122

.522

Lefty

Stewart

101

98

.508

105

94

.526

George

Suggs

101

91

.526

95

91

.510

Kevin

Tapani

143

125

.534

137

123

.527

Jack

Taylor

152

139

.522

152

143

.516

Jack B.

Taylor

120

117

.506

119

115

.507

Walt

Terrell

111

124

.472

107

120

.472

Bob

Tewksbury

110

102

.519

109

98

.528

Luis

Tiant

229

172

.571

225

173

.566

Dick

Tidrow

100

94

.515

100

99

.504

Jim

Tobin

105

112

.484

108

111

.493

Virgil

Trucks

177

135

.567

175

133

.569

Lefty

Tyler

127

116

.523

129

123

.511

Fernando

Valenzuela

173

153

.531

174

161

.518

Hippo

Vaughn

178

137

.565

176

133

.568

Bob

Veale

120

95

.558

125

95

.568

Justin

Verlander

173

106

.620

167

107

.609

Rube

Walberg

155

141

.524

162

143

.530

Jake

Westbrook

105

103

.505

100

105

.489

Doc

White

187

156

.545

187

156

.545

Ed

Whitson

126

123

.506

128

128

.500

Stan

Williams

109

94

.537

104

97

.517

Vic

Willis

249

205

.548

251

200

.557

Don

Wilson

104

92

.531

107

93

.535

Whit

Wyatt

106

95

.527

111

92

.546

Cy

Young

511

316

.618

509

319

.615

Geoff

Zahn

111

109

.505

110

102

.519

Carlos

Zambrano

132

91

.592

133

97

.579

Barry

Zito

165

143

.536

160

143

.528

 

 

              These are the 50 top pitchers of all time in terms of deserved career winning percentages, minimum 100 career wins:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deserved

Rank

First

Last

W

L

WPct

Wins

Losses

WPct

1

Clayton

Kershaw

126

60

.677

145

61

.704

2

Pedro

Martinez

219

100

.687

231

97

.703

3

Roger

Clemens

354

184

.658

381

186

.672

4

Lefty

Grove

300

141

.680

298

157

.655

5

Johan

Santana

139

78

.641

154

84

.647

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6

Randy

Johnson

303

166

.646

310

169

.647

7

Curt

Schilling

216

146

.597

243

135

.644

8

Roy

Halladay

203

105

.659

206

117

.637

9

Walter

Johnson

417

279

.599

428

244

.637

10

Sandy

Koufax

165

87

.655

167

98

.631

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11

Roy

Oswalt

163

102

.615

165

99

.624

12

Greg

Maddux

355

227

.610

360

219

.622

13

Kid

Nichols

361

208

.634

354

215

.622

14

Joe

Wood

116

57

.671

101

61

.621

15

Ed

Walsh

195

126

.607

208

127

.621

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

Bret

Saberhagen

167

117

.588

181

112

.617

17

Noodles

Hahn

130

94

.580

141

88

.617

18

John

Smoltz

213

155

.579

247

154

.617

19

Christy

Mathewson

373

188

.665

332

207

.616

20

Adam

Wainwright

134

76

.638

128

80

.616

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21

Cy

Young

511

316

.618

509

319

.615

22

Max

Scherzer

125

69

.644

123

77

.615

23

Jon

Lester

146

84

.635

145

91

.614

24

Mike

Mussina

270

153

.638

253

160

.614

25

Harry

Brecheen

133

92

.591

134

85

.613

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

26

Cole

Hamels

136

96

.586

160

101

.613

27

Bob

Gibson

251

174

.591

271

171

.613

28

Pete

Alexander

373

208

.642

362

230

.612

29

3 Finger

Brown

239

129

.649

219

139

.611

30

Tom

Seaver

311

205

.603

333

213

.610

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

Justin

Verlander

173

106

.620

167

107

.609

32

Rube

Waddell

193

143

.574

203

131

.609

33

Hal

Newhouser

207

150

.580

209

136

.607

34

Dizzy

Dean

150

83

.644

138

89

.606

35

Spud

Chandler

109

43

.717

104

68

.606

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

36

Addie

Joss

160

97

.623

159

104

.605

37

David

Price

121

65

.651

118

78

.603

38

Dazzy

Vance

197

140

.585

206

136

.602

39

Zack

Greinke

155

100

.608

159

105

.602

40

Johnny

Cueto

114

75

.603

116

77

.601

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

41

Kevin

Brown

211

144

.594

225

149

.601

42

Lefty

Gomez

189

102

.649

173

116

.600

43

Kevin

Appier

169

137

.552

179

120

.599

44

Felix

Hernandez

154

109

.586

170

114

.599

45

Whitey

Ford

236

106

.690

216

145

.597

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

46

Babe

Adams

194

140

.581

203

137

.596

47

Cliff

Lee

143

91

.611

151

102

.596

48

Ron

Guidry

170

91

.651

163

111

.596

49

Jose

Rijo

116

91

.560

128

87

.595

50

Max

Lanier

108

82

.568

111

75

.595

 

      &nbs​p;       Figures for active pitchers through 2016.  22 of the top 50 are now in the Hall of Fame.    Nine of the other 28 are active pitchers.   Almost all of those nine, if not all of them, will finish their careers with lower deserved winning percentages than they have through
 
 

COMMENTS (23 Comments, most recent shown first)

Brock Hanke
Koufax came up a couple of times here, so I thought I'd post something I noticed a while ago: From 1962-1966, whether or not the Dodgers won the pennant correlates exactly with whether or not Sandy Koufax was healthy all year. 62, the Giants just caught them. 63, he was healthy. 64, the Cardinals posted the exact same W/L as they had in 63, but Koufax was not healthy. 65-66, he was. Then he retired, and the Cardinals won two.
2:04 PM Aug 23rd
 
MWeddell
Of course, the three guys listed ahead of Lefty Grove in this article with better career winning percentages based on deserved wins and losses are more recent than when the first Historical Baseball Abstract was published in the 1980s.
2:33 PM Aug 22nd
 
garywmaloney
Another major bump not listed --

Smoltz at #18 - +34W / -1L -- wonder if his switch to relief in mid-career affected this study especially. 34 wins better than you thought he was? Wow
9:51 AM Aug 22nd
 
garywmaloney
Amend previous comment --

Grove takes a hit in terms of W-L%, but not significant. Bill's first Abstract argued Grove as the #1 pitcher in history; here he sits at #4.


9:48 AM Aug 22nd
 
garywmaloney
Let's look at the impact of Bill's calculations on individual pitchers, starting with the top 11:

Kershaw is 19 wins better than his actual W-L, which is pretty incredible.
Pedro, +12 -- even better than you thought he was.
Clemens, +27 -- big bump, but very long career
Grove, -2 wins / +16 losses -- a significant hit
Santana, +15W / +6L --
R. Johnson, +7W
Schilling, +27 wins / -11 losses -- a yooge bump.
Halladay, +3W / +12 losses -- not a plus
W. Johnson, +11 wins / -35 losses -- even better for Bill's #1 pitcher (as ranked in his 2001 book)
Koufax, +2W / +11 Losses -- dock his W-L % but he's still #10 on this list
Oswalt, +2W/-3L - no big change, but look where he ranks in history

Others with major changes include:

Saberhagen at #16 -- +14W / -5L in a short career, and look where he ranks in history
Mathewson at #19 -- -41W / +19L, takes huge hit
Mussina at #24 -- -17W / +7L, most unhelpful given the HoF debate, but he still ranks very high in history
Hamels at #26 -- +24W / -5L in a relatively short career, wow
Gibson at #27 -- +20W / -3L, really nice to see his reg-season quality recognized
Ford at #45 -- -20W / +39L, eeek, he loses nearly 100 pts. in W-L% -- this is where you wonder if Stengel's extreme leveraging of Whitey against good AL teams cost him in this analysis.

These are all great pitchers, but the fact Schilling, Santana, Oswalt, Saberhagen and Smoltz rate this high speaks volumes.


9:44 AM Aug 22nd
 
garywmaloney
I bow to tangotiger generally on his immense knowledge and fruitful research.

My point would be -- the Hall has honored some with short and short-ish careers, Koufax a case in point. It is shocking how close to Koufax's career numbers some have come.

They have interesting cases, but neither Santana nor Oswalt made the impact on pennant races and the baseball culture of Sandy. Schilling, on the other hand, DID have that kind of impact, and this study only boosts the sabermetric case for him.

I was just noting -- wow, Oswalt shows high again in a BJ study. That can make a difference in appreciating a man's career. My personal opinion is that Bill's advocacy for Craig Biggio in the New Historical Abstract (2001) went a long way to boosting his chances for the Hall, and the appreciation he received throughout the 2000s. Hey everyone, Bill was saying -- this guy really is special, and here's why.
6:48 AM Aug 22nd
 
tangotiger
Gary: if you only look at the percentage, Oswalt and Santana get the benefit of not having the volume of down years.

This is why 2*W - L works pretty well.
7:41 PM Aug 20th
 
MarisFan61
Steve: I think Blyleven sort of did.

The way it could work for some of those pitchers is how I think it did work for Blyleven: Sabermetric writing and jawboning made more and more people think (realize?) that the guy was better than they'd thought.
1:57 PM Aug 20th
 
steve161
Gary, it might well make a case, but I don't think anybody has ever been elected to the Hall based on what he should have done or might have done.
12:57 PM Aug 20th
 
garywmaloney
Seems to me this list makes a very strong case for Schilling and Oswalt in the Hall of Fame -- and Bill's Big Game (reg-season) study a few years ago was a huge sloppy wet sabermetric kiss for Oswalt as well. Halladay is already going, IMO.

Further, Sabes rates very high (2 Cy Youngs, remember), and you hve to admit, Sanatana looks solid (#5 all-time in deserved Win%?!). Wainwright and Lester appear doubtful, however.
11:52 AM Aug 20th
 
MarisFan61
Answering the last part of 337's last post: "How?"

Because to many of us, "mass" doesn't count nearly as much as you imply it to count, and it might count hardly at all. Many of us go much more on simply what level of greatness the player ever established, how good of a player he was in his period of highest greatness.

When we were kids, the meaning of this was obvious. We went out to play ball, and we knew how good everybody was. "Mass" had nothing to do with it, except to the extent that you needed to see some mass to see how good anybody was -- although for kids, usually a game or two is all that's needed. Obviously it's different with adults and with major league players. But it's the same principle: if a player establishes a level of play, that's how good he is. You could argue, isn't that meaningless? Why, then, wouldn't just a couple of games do it, or maybe even just 1 game? -- in which case thousands of players would be "great"? Because it doesn't. That's not what anybody is talking about. I'm talking about an established level.

Perceptions can differ on how long it needs to be, in order to be "established." Nobody would say Karl Spooner established it with 2 games; very few people would say Fred Lynn established it with 1 or 2 seasons, although maybe some would, and would say therefore that he's one of the greatest players of all time.

But almost all serious fans from Koufax's time would say that Koufax's run was easily sufficient to establish that level of greatness for "how good he was" -- how good he had become -- and that this was what he was. If you insist on including he rest of his career in a calculation of his possible greatness, well, that's your opinion on how to do it, and most sabermetricians believe that some version of this is what's needed. But just realize that that's an opinion, not a determination, and that it includes stuff that many if not most observers, including intelligent ones :-) .....regard as irrelevant to the question.

For us of this other kind of view, just talk about what level of play was ever established by the player. Yes, that leaves the question of what constitutes "establishing." But having more years of 'greatness' doesn't necessarily affect the assessment, unless it's more years of the same or equal greatness.
3:03 AM Aug 19th
 
337
Hell, I'll make the case against Koufax, and I'm the biggest Koufax fan going: the man had only five years where he was anything but mediocre, and in one of those years he was excellent but not historically spectacular, and in one other he was injured throughout the pennant drive. That leaves him 3 spectacular seasons--how can that match up against pitchers who were his equal, or almost his equal, for twice as long? Don't even try.
8:52 AM Aug 18th
 
MWeddell
Tangotiger:

We're never going to completely align Sandy Koufax' traditional reputation with the value that sabermetricians typically see him as posting.

However, trying to see it from the other side, is there an argument that due to the volume of IP in Koufax' good years and that he played on a team that was in pennant contention during those years, perhaps Koufax had a disproportionately positive impact on pennant races? Metrics like WAR and career deserved W-L of course aren't designed to capture that type of value.

-- Michael
4:32 PM Aug 17th
 
KaiserD2
smbaker:

First of all, if any of the Gen X pitchers we are discussing had Tommy John surgery, it's news to me.

But gong forward: the improvements in conditioning, etc., would affect just about everyone. What we are looking at are the most outstanding pitchers in the history of baseball. Although Bill and I used different statistical methods, we were looking for the same thing: the pitchers who were far, far superior to their contemporaries. The point is that Gen X produced far more pitchers who were much, much better than their contemporaries than any other generation. And critically, the subsequent Millennial generation is not doing nearly as well in that regard. Both of us are measuring each pitcher against his league average. For some reason Gen X had more guys who exceeded their league averages by such a large margin. I think I know what the reason must have been.
2:37 PM Aug 17th
 
smbakeresq
PEDs must have contributed a great deal to these Gen X performances. Unfortunately, we can't claim that all those Gen X pitchers must have used them and we will never be certain who did and who didn't.

From Mr. Kaiser.

While that statement clearly is true, I wonder how much is just due to general improvement in conditioning and surgical procedures, especially Tommy John procedures. To see how people did before and after TJ procedures would be something, it changed the sport.

I think in all sports there used to be an advantage to be had just by being in better shape and condition then your competition. I think that possibility is almost gone now, although it exists. I don't think it would be possible to study it though as the evidence would exist everywhere as opposed to something that can be distilled.
10:21 AM Aug 17th
 
smbakeresq
Its amazing to me that as great as Pedro and Johnson looked in the stats they actually better. Its difficult to be obviously great and still under-represented.

I was a Pedro game in Baltimore where he hit every number on the gun between 95 and 71 and never hit the same number twice in row. Every Baltimore batter was sure he could hit something but never did.

I saw a Unit game in the same stadium, every batter just looked overmatched in on-deck circle.

Great work.
9:14 AM Aug 17th
 
tangotiger
The interesting thing about Doc and Schilling and RJ and just about everyone ahead of Koufax is that they have both more decision AND a higher deserved win% than Koufax. This means to put Koufax ahead of any of them, you have to somehow discount his down years more than everyone else's down years and/or pump up his post-season to a large extent.
8:31 AM Aug 17th
 
BrewersTT
@jemanji, recent pitchers have not gone through a decline phase like most of the retired pitchers did. Therefore they are artificially high on the list, for now.
10:00 PM Aug 16th
 
337
Depending on how far Kershaw falls, the top three spots could be held by pitchers who were Red Sox for significant portions of their careers.
10:27 AM Aug 16th
 
tangotiger
Pedro PLUS Kershaw just a hair ahead of Clemens.
8:17 AM Aug 16th
 
337
Needless to say, so I'll say it, Kershaw most likely will drop a few points before his career's end, leaving Pedro the only deserving .700+ pitcher.
7:08 AM Aug 16th
 
jemanji
Dear Sir, Thanks a million as always. Yours very truly, Another Satisfied Customer

The list appears top-heavy with recent SP's. If so, any comment on that?


8:19 PM Aug 15th
 
KaiserD2
Two comments on this very interesting list of pitchers with the best deserved career winning percentages.

My forthcoming book breaks down players by generation, using guidelines developed by William Strauss and Neil Howe in their books. Of the 20 top pitchers on Bill's list, 11--more than half--come from Generation X, born from 1961 through 1981. Of the other 9, 1 is a Millennial (Kershaw); 4 are from the Missionary Generation (b. 1863-1883) (Mathewson, Walsh, Nichols, Hahn); 3 are from the Lost Generation (b. 1884-1902--Johnson, Wood, Grove); 1, Koufax, is from the Silent generation (b. 1925-1942); and 1, Kershaw, as noted, is a Millennial. Not one of the top 20 pitchers is from the GI generation (b. 1903-24) or Bill's and my own Boom generation (b.1943-60.) (By the way, anyone with questions about these boundaries might want to email me at KaiserD2@gmail.com.)

This picture is very similar to the one I developed counting seasons over 4 WAA. The most dominant group of pitchers in baseball history, relative to their league, came from Gen X, and by a very large margin. Pitching was least important as a determinant of winning from the 1920s through the mid-1980s, because there were so few outstanding pitchers. The question, "How did the Gen X pitchers do it?", is obviously a very good question, especially since there will obviously be no comparable group of dominant Millennial pitchers. (At this point only Scherzer looks like he might crack the top 20.) The answer is equally obvious. PEDs must have contributed a great deal to these Gen X performances. Unfortunately, we can't claim that all those Gen X pitchers must have used them and we will never be certain who did and who didn't. But pitching has never played a bigger role in determining who won the pennant than in the 1990s and early 2000s, and this enabled a couple of teams to build long-running dynasties.

My other comment is that based on my data I can't understand how Wes Ferrell could not be on this list. I hope Bill can answer this question.

David Kaiser




8:12 AM Aug 15th
 
 
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