Pitching splits are, quite possibly, even more ridiculous than batting splits. That might just make them more fun to mess with, though. Here, then, are some utterly absurd things to consider about pitchers one month into the 2007 MLB season.
Most Strikeouts By Batting Order Position
We've already looked at most productive batter by batting order position, so why not look at pitchers by the same split. How about using strikeouts as our metric? I mean, everybody loves strikeouts.
- Oliver Perez, New York Mets (5 IP, 10 K, 2.00 K/9 @ BOP 1)
- Erik Bedard, Baltimore Orioles (4 IP, 6 K, 1.50)
- Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox (4.2 IP, 8 K, 1.90)
- John Maine, New York Mets (3.1 IP, 7 K, 2.26)
- John Smoltz, Atlanta Braves (4 IP, 8 K, 2.00)
- Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins (3.2 IP, 6 K, 1.88)
- C.C. Sabathia, Cleveland Indians (4.2 IP, 7 K, 1.67)
- Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays (6 IP, 8 K, 1.33)
- Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres (4 IP, 8 K, 2.00)
That crazy K/9 @ BOP thing is just a way of differentiating pitchers who had the same number of Ks as others. I just chose the guys who had more Ks in fewer innings, which I translated to a K/9 number for grins.
Special mention needs to go to two particular pitchers: Francisco Cordero of the Brewers who has one fewer strikeout (7) at the 8-hole than Halladay, but he's done it in only 2.2 innings worth of throwing. His K/9 @ BOP 8 is an amazing 3.18. But I didn't give him the spot because I was really only considering starters.
Johan Santana, who already landed the 6-hole in the above list, could also be argued for in the 9 spot, since he's racked up 7 Ks and a 1.71 K/9 @ BOP 9 of 1.71 was easily the best among American league pitchers, who as we all know, have to deal with the DH rule.
Lowest ERA By Time Through Batting Order
So who's the toughest on the whole lineup? Well, based on how batters fare against pitchers each successive time they face them in a game, here's how things look.
First Time Through Batting Order
PLAYER TEAM GP IP H R ER BB SO ERA A.J. Burnett TOR 6 14.1 7 0 0 6 10 0.00 Bronson Arroyo CIN 6 15 4 0 0 6 13 0.00
You don't want to face A.J. Burnet or Bronson Arroyo early in the game. Its that simple. Burnett has a WHIP of 0.92 his first time through a batting order and Arroyo is even less giving with a 0.67 ratio. Perhaps it would be better just to skip the first few innings against these guys.
Second Time Through Batting Order
PLAYER TEAM GP IP H R ER BB SO ERA Braden Looper STL 6 15 10 0 0 3 7 0.00 John Smoltz ATL 6 13.1 10 1 0 5 9 0.00
Here's to hoping you did well your first time up against Braden Looper and John Smoltz, because your second trip to the plate will likely be a short and unproductive one. Neither pitcher has given up an earned run to batters on their return engagement, though the have put at least a few on base. Still, don't expect much.
Third Time Through Batting Order
PLAYER TEAM GP IP H R ER BB SO ERA Josh Beckett BOS 6 10.1 10 1 1 3 9 0.87
Josh Beckett stands alone. At least in terms of having the lowest ERA when facing batters for a third time in a single game. He's stingy with the walks despite giving up nearly a hit per inning. Still, a 0.87 ERA says "you ain't scoring" pretty loudly.
Fourth Time Through Batting Order (and beyond)
PLAYER TEAM GP IP H R ER BB SO ERA Jeff Suppan MIL 3 4 1 0 0 1 1 0.00 Jeremy Bonderman DET 2 3 0 0 0 1 1 0.00 Aaron Cook COL 4 2.2 2 0 0 0 1 0.00 Livan Hernandez ARI 5 2 0 0 0 1 2 0.00 C.C. Sabathia CLE 2 2 2 0 0 1 2 0.00
This is largely the land of fantasy. Most pitchers these days don't see more than a handful of batters a fourth time in a single game, let alone more than that. Still, the guys listed above have seen a few and managed not to give up much when they do.
Nope, No Conclusions Here
There's no reason to draw any conclusions from this kind of data. No matter what madness you may find it is almost always for amusement purposes only. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Ok, if you're desperately in need of a conclusion you may walk away with the following: I must be crazy to look a stuff like this, let alone write about it and post it on the internet. Especially when I know that nearly no one will read it or, upon reading, care. You may call me Ozymandias. The lone and level sands stretch far away.
This article would not have been possible without the wonderment known as the ESPN Stats Page.