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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Mad Max dominates with broken nose, black eye

“He’s probably the best pitcher in our generation ... “, said second baseman Brian Dozier.

In our generation ... of our generation .... same difference? 

Thoughts?

Lest we forget Posted: June 20, 2019 at 03:25 PM | 51 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: generational best, kershaw, mythical, scherzer

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   1. Man o' Schwar Posted: June 20, 2019 at 05:28 PM (#5854253)
It's hard to put him above Kershaw, but I think he's #2, with Verlander at #3.

It's not Maddux/Pedro/Clemens, but it's a pretty good top 3.
   2. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 20, 2019 at 05:49 PM (#5854260)
It was never plausible that he'd sustain his time at the top due to his style and size, but my favorite of the group was Lincecum.
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: June 20, 2019 at 07:24 PM (#5854303)
Sale would have to be 4th at worst.
   4. Bote Man sez Deivi is MoY Posted: June 20, 2019 at 08:41 PM (#5854359)
I'll go with "of our generation" as the more common phrasing.

But seriously, folks, when Scherzer is on he is ON. He throws a switch from being an amiable guy to being downright scary and intimidating on the mound. He gets better as the game goes on, which is probably true of the best pitchers, but by the late innings he's throwing pure heat with a slider that has great bite.

His one big knock would be that he typically gives up a solo homer in the first few innings, so you can pencil those in. Yesterday he kept the Phillies in the park and was generally dominating. In an uneven season Max is the one reason to show up at the ballpark.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 20, 2019 at 08:58 PM (#5854378)
It's hard to put him above Kershaw, but I think he's #2, with Verlander at #3.
Kershaw goes on the Disabled List for things like “back strain”. He’d probably be out for the season with a broken nose.
   6. flournoy Posted: June 20, 2019 at 11:38 PM (#5854535)
Do you mean that you think it would be easier to pitch with a back strain than a broken nose?
   7. bookbook Posted: June 21, 2019 at 07:54 AM (#5854583)
Yeah, well, Maddox/Pedro/Clemens had Randy/Sclhilling/Messina asontemporaries.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: June 21, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5854596)
from the Internet: he pitched with one brown eye, one blue eye, and one black eye
   9. Blastin Posted: June 21, 2019 at 11:40 AM (#5854655)
Sale would have to be 4th at worst.


For career value, he's way below those 3.
   10. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 21, 2019 at 12:28 PM (#5854690)

I'd take Greinke or CC as #4 right now, depending on how you define the era. Sale could pass them but isn't there yet.
   11. Blastin Posted: June 21, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5854696)
Yeah I'd go Scherzer, Verlander, Kershaw, Greinke, CC, Sale for careers. For peak I'd go Kershaw, Scherzer, Greinke, Verlander, Sale, CC. And, once Sale pitches a few more years, I'd put all 6 in the HOF.

That said, CC has been around so long I might consider him the previous "generation" but still.
   12. Sweatpants Posted: June 21, 2019 at 12:52 PM (#5854698)
I wouldn't put Sabathia in the same generation as Scherzer, Kershaw, et al. He won his Cy Young in 2007, by which point he was already an established pitcher. Of the guys he's being compared to, only Greinke and Verlander had even debuted by that point. Sabathia belongs with guys like Halladay, Oswalt, Hudson, Santana, Carpenter, and Zito.
   13. Blastin Posted: June 21, 2019 at 12:54 PM (#5854699)
And in that group he's only behind Halladay.
   14. Bote Man sez Deivi is MoY Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:11 PM (#5854703)
Then he should overtake Halladay, unless his career takes a nose-dive.
   15. Blastin Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5854704)
takes a nose-dive.


(not going to make a Halladay joke, nope)

   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:20 PM (#5854709)

Sabathia is retiring after this season, I thought. And I don't see how he could possibly overtake Halladay even if he wasn't.
   17. Sweatpants Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5854711)
2000-2009 had a lot of disappointments. Sabathia and Hudson were the only great pitchers from that group who seemed to get the absolute most out of their careers, and Hudson's more of a borderline great than a Hall of Famer. John Lackey had a pretty full career.

Halladay and Oswalt went from greatness to retirement extremely quickly. Carpenter couldn't stay healthy. Santana was on his way but got wrecked by injuries. Zito wasn't really in the same class as the rest of these guys, aside from a few seasons at the beginning of his career. Josh Beckett had some moments but was closer to Zito than to the rest of these guys. Zambrano left the bigs even younger than Santana. Prior and Wood were both stunted by arm trouble. Ben Sheets was somewhere between Prior and Carpenter. Buehrle just shrugged his shoulders and went home while still a productive pitcher.

It's why I'm not that big on focusing on how players rank among their contemporaries, as opposed to just seeing how good their career was. The 2000s had as many super talents as any other generation; a lot of them just couldn't catch a break.
   18. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:35 PM (#5854712)

Also, there's always going to be some overlap with "generations". Sabathia debuted in 2001 and won a CYA in 2007. Is he really a different generation from Greinke (who debuted in 2004 and won the CYA in 2009) or Verlander (2005, 2011)?

And we only think of Halladay (won a CYA in 2010) as a different generation because he retired at 36. He was only 6 years older than Verlander/Greinke. That's less than the age difference between Clemens and Pedro, or Randy Johnson and Schilling.
   19. Sweatpants Posted: June 21, 2019 at 01:51 PM (#5854715)
Also, there's always going to be some overlap with "generations". Sabathia debuted in 2001 and won a CYA in 2007. Is he really a different generation from Greinke (who debuted in 2004 and won the CYA in 2009) or Verlander (2005, 2011)?

And we only think of Halladay (won a CYA in 2010) as a different generation because he retired at 36. He was only 6 years older than Verlander/Greinke. That's less than the age difference between Clemens and Pedro, or Randy Johnson and Schilling.
I can see putting Greinke or Verlander with Sabathia/Halladay, but I don't see any way to get the latter two in the same generation as Kershaw and Scherzer.

With Halladay, he was an established great pitcher before either Greinke or Verlander debuted. You could use that argument to say that Greinke and Sale don't belong together, I guess, but Halladay feels like he was from a different era. I don't know what the end of the steroid/big offense era is considered to be, but Halladay was around and great during the tail end of it, whereas Greinke and Verlander are both clearly post-steroid era guys.
   20. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: June 21, 2019 at 03:05 PM (#5854735)
It's hard to work out fairly - selective endpoints and all - but would you call this (an at least relatively) weak era for "best pitcher of our generation"?

Just purely looking at the season top 10 leaderboards in WAR (not necessarily raw numbers, but pitcher names in the top 10 and how much of the top 10 they occupy).... and using a lot of vague 'era' demarcation....

I'm probably being unfair to the current era. I'm sure that's due to the "prior" era (Pedro, much of Clemens, Maddux) being so superlative.

The 80s(-ish) looks fairly pedestrian. You had an all-time season by Gooden, but then it's a lot of Stieb (fine and HoF deserving though he was) and a few guys who were HoVG at best (plus limited wonders like a John Denny)... at least until Clemens.

The 70s(ish!) -- you've got some really great years by close to inner circle guys. Seaver in the earlier part of the generation, Carlton later on. Blyleven - again, underrated though he was - and a lot of guys like Palmer, none of whom are slouches. And some brief peak wonders (Guidry).

The 60s(ish) takes a fair bit of era adjustment in one's mind - but the raw adjusted WAR totals still give us a lot of really good pitchers.

The 50s(ish) weren't anything special -- I always underrate how good Robin Roberts was, but it's basically him and Spahn (and some Haddix/Pierce/etc sorts).

The 40s(ish) - you get Feller and Newhouser, basically... plus some early Spahn... maybe a few others.

The 30s(ish) - the Lefty's (Grove and Gomez)... some nice peak Dean.

The 20s(ish) - you get more Grove and the tail-end of the Big Train.

The teens(ish) - lots of prime Johnson plus Pete, as well as some underrated guys (Coveleski) and guys who flamed out but had some nice peak years (Walsh, Wood).... plus even a bit of late career Christy Mathewson.

The aughts(ish) - Cy... Christy.....

It's a tough thing to judge.... it's kind of unfair to just use 'decades' - you need a bleed factor and an "era" should probably be closer to 15 years than 10.

One thing that does seem pretty clear -- the prior era.... with Maddux, Clemens, and Pedro -- was actually a pretty special era for the cream. Depending on peak vs career (or even both) - the best of the last era can go toe to toe with any era.

After looking through the lists, I guess the current "era" might very well be above average....
   21. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: June 21, 2019 at 03:07 PM (#5854737)
And yes -

FTR.... I started the last post with a thesis ("would you call this era fairly 'weak') and ended up in the opposite direction ('actually, it's fairly good').
   22. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 21, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5854759)

Yes, I think 90s-early 00s generation of Clemens/Maddux/Unit/Pedro (plus Glavine, Schilling, Mussina) was pretty special.

The guys who followed them included a lot of disappointments. But it's also the case that a lot of the greats historically pitched well into their late 30s or even early 40s. The verdict on this "generation" will depend in part on what guys like Verlander, Greinke and Scherzer do over the next 5 or so years.
   23. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: June 21, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5854793)
One of the reasons I love baseball....

It's a fun question -

You get a team built around either:

A rotation of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, and Pedro Martinez at their peaks, or -

A rotation of Walter Johnson, Pete Alexander, and Christy Mathewson.

It's a fun question and I'm not honestly sure which way I'd go.... blah-blah modern medicine and training aside.
   24. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: June 21, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5854794)
And yes -- I've been terrible in completely ignoring the The Big Unit.... all the more reason the prior era was special.
   25. Bhaakon Posted: June 21, 2019 at 06:23 PM (#5854797)
The 90's class of starters was special it makes it easy to entirely overlook guys like Kevin Brown or John Smoltz, or, apparently, Randy Johnson.
   26. Srul Itza Posted: June 21, 2019 at 06:30 PM (#5854799)
I'd go Scherzer, Verlander, Kershaw, Greinke, CC, Sale for careers


I think the first 3 are no-doubt Hall of Famers, but on a career level, I don't know that I would put Scherzer above Verlander.

Scherzer is three years older, but got started later, so they both have 12 years.

Scherzer has 345 starts, and has thrown 2,224 IP to Kershaw's lesser 330 starts and 2,175 IP, but 50 IP is a pretty slim difference.

For BBREF WAR/WAA for pitchers, Kershaw leads 63.4/46.1 to 57.3/38.3


W-L, Scherzer is 165-87 to 160-70 for Kershaw.

Aside from WAR/WAA, I think it is pretty close to a dead heat, with Kershaw having the edge on the Value stats.


   27. Zonk Will Not Get Over It Abusing Its Office Posted: June 21, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5854801)
I suppose Pedro and Randy battle for the 3rd spot depends on whether this question involves 2 seasons or 4...
   28. Walt Davis Posted: June 22, 2019 at 06:33 PM (#5855055)
#23: Those sort of questions about pitchers seem near impossible to answer because pitching usage is always in flux and can be dramatically different across generations. But I will say that Walter Johnson doesn't seem to get enough backing as possibly the greatest pitcher of all-time. Rightly or (more likely) wrongly, he's the only old-time pitcher whose records suggests to me that he could pitch today (maybe Lefty Grove too).

As you wander through time shows, there was a dearth of "great" pitching between the end of the deadball era and the 60s/70s studs coming to the fore, partly due to WW2 of course. It's pretty much only Grove and Feller who really stand out. It's those 60s/70s guys who re-established our notion of what great starters are while guys like Whitey Ford, Bob Lemon, etc. fit perfectly well with CC. I think it's still the case that nearly half the pitchers in the HoF were pre-Ruth.

From 1920-1961, only 3 pitchers debuted who would make it to 300 wins -- Grove, Wynn, Spahn -- and Feller likely would have without the war (although I like to joke the war saved his arm). Over the next 5 years (62-66), Perry, Niekro, Carlton, Ryan, Sutton all debuted plus John and Fergie who just missed. Five years produced more amazing pitchers than the previous 40. Seaver in 67 and Blyleven in 70 would follow.

Then things flagged as from 72-83, only 6 pitchers debuted who could even crack 200. Then things went nuts again with Clemens, Maddux, Glavine, Unit, Moyer (269 wins) debuting over a 5-year period (plus Brown, Smoltz, Schilling) ... followed by Mussina and Pedro about 5 years later.

You'd want to figure out some method for adjusting for number of teams and maybe incorporate gray ink but the pitching black ink leaderboard is interesting. WJ is #1 at 150. Alexander, Grove, Young and Spahn round out the top 5. Then Clemens at exactly 100, Unit 99, Feller 98, Mathewson 92, Maddux 87 (possibly made more impressive given he never led in Ks). Kershaw is the active leader at 65 followed by Verlander at 58 and Scherzer at 55 (for reference, Pedro had 58). Then there's a big gap to Kluber at 34, Price 32, Felix 28. CC is way down at 22 (less then Cliff Lee) ... Sale 16, Greinke 14 (would have guessed he had more). Seems like black ink has become awfully hard to come by on a regular basis in the 21st century.

I hadn't thought of it ... this is the 100th season of the "live ball" era.
   29. Bote Man sez Deivi is MoY Posted: June 22, 2019 at 07:24 PM (#5855059)
But I will say that Walter Johnson doesn't seem to get enough backing as possibly the greatest pitcher of all-time.

Walt is my new favorite poster on here.
   30. Al "Battery" Kaline Posted: June 23, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5855164)
The 80s(-ish) looks fairly pedestrian
*faint screams of Jack Morris protesting in the background*

Scherzer now has a record of 165-87, exactly the same as Sandy Koufax. I'd rate Kershaw just barely in front overall, but I agree with #4 when Scherzer is on - there's no one better.

Greinke is an interesting HOF case. He has a monitor score under 100, but then so does Tim Raines. Some hardware: one Cy Young, 5 ASG and Gold Gloves. Reminds me a bit of Kevin Brown...tough call.
   31. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 23, 2019 at 04:28 PM (#5855185)
Reminds me a bit of Kevin Brown...tough call.

There are definitely some similarities there. Brown has a bit more bulk (though of course Greinke is still active) and a higher ERA+, but Greinke allows notably fewer unearned runs and has a 5-win advantage as a hitter.

I wonder, actually - is there a way to pull best-hitting active pitchers on B-R? Greinke's OPS+ of 59 in almost a full position player season's worth of at bats (581 PA) has to be one of the better marks going right now. (Kershaw is at 8, Scherzer at 13. Most of the other names mentioned upthread have spent most or all of their careers in the AL.)
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: June 23, 2019 at 04:41 PM (#5855187)
Greinke's OPS+ of 59 in almost a full position player season's worth of at bats (581 PA) has to be one of the better marks going right now.


Bumgarner's at 48 in a greater number of PAs.

   33. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 23, 2019 at 04:58 PM (#5855193)
Bumgarner's success seems pretty concentrated in a few seasons. But since a pitcher comes to bat so few times in a season this is like seeing a regular hitter's monthly splits almost. So Bumgarner is likely a legit almost hitter.
   34. SoSH U at work Posted: June 23, 2019 at 05:05 PM (#5855197)
Michael Lorenzen has a 99 in just over 102 PAs. Not much time, and he doesn't get a lot of ABs as a reliever, but he's made 24 PH appearances.

   35. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 23, 2019 at 05:08 PM (#5855199)
34--good call. Lorenzen has crushed multiple dingers against the Crew
   36. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 23, 2019 at 05:42 PM (#5855201)
One thing people forget about Bumgarner is that he came up very young, so he took a while to get going with the bat. If he'd gotten to the majors when he was really ready as a hitter, at age 24, his OPS+ would be 74.
   37. Bote Man sez Deivi is MoY Posted: June 23, 2019 at 06:50 PM (#5855210)
Wasn't Lorenzen previously a shortstop or something expected to hit?
   38. Howie Menckel Posted: June 23, 2019 at 08:17 PM (#5855218)
deGrom, a converted SS, has a 67 OPS+ this year
   39. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: June 24, 2019 at 07:33 AM (#5855280)
Wasn't Lorenzen previously a shortstop or something expected to hit?

He was a CF in college. I recall around draft time that some teams were interested in him more as a hitter than a pitcher.
   40. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: June 24, 2019 at 08:37 AM (#5855283)
Halladay and Oswalt went from greatness to retirement extremely quickly. Carpenter couldn't stay healthy. Santana was on his way but got wrecked by injuries. Zito wasn't really in the same class as the rest of these guys, aside from a few seasons at the beginning of his career. Josh Beckett had some moments but was closer to Zito than to the rest of these guys. Zambrano left the bigs even younger than Santana. Prior and Wood were both stunted by arm trouble. Ben Sheets was somewhere between Prior and Carpenter. Buehrle just shrugged his shoulders and went home while still a productive pitcher.

It's why I'm not that big on focusing on how players rank among their contemporaries, as opposed to just seeing how good their career was. The 2000s had as many super talents as any other generation; a lot of them just couldn't catch a break.


But please, tell me more about how five man rotations and 100 pitch limits and using your best pitcher only 200 innings a year keeps pitchers healthier.
   41. DanG Posted: June 24, 2019 at 08:59 AM (#5855285)
is there a way to pull best-hitting active pitchers on B-R?
Active pitchers with highest OPS+ as hitters, minimum 150 PA:

Player           OPSoWAR   BA  OBP  SLG  PA
Zack Greinke       59  5.0 .225 .264 .330 581
Madison Bumgarner  48  4.4 .180 .228 .308 637
Adam Wainwright    42  4.0 .200 .227 .305 740
Noah Syndergaard   41  1.5 .167 .222 .297 220
Mike Leake         37  2.8 .198 .227 .280 525
Tyson Ross         37  1.4 .200 .229 .253 217
German Marquez     31  0.8 .234 .234 .297 164
Jacob deGrom       29  2.0 .191 .228 .235 357
Tyler Chatwood     26  1.0 .212 .244 .249 230
Steven Matz        26  0.5 .162 .200 .261 162
Hyun
-Jin Ryu       26  1.1 .176 .225 .229 229 
   42. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 24, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5855331)
But please, tell me more about how five man rotations and 100 pitch limits and using your best pitcher only 200 innings a year keeps pitchers healthier.

This is a weird non-sequitur. The post you're responding to is not exactly a list of coddled pantywaists. If anything, some of these are the guys whose overuse and injuries caused the reaction in the other direction. I mean, Mark Prior at age 23 threw 25 of his 30 starts over 100 pitches, including 9 over 120 and 3 over 130. Kerry Wood at age 21 threw 21 of his 26 starts over 100 pitches, including 8 over 120 and 1 over 130.

Or take Halladay: 8 seasons above 200 IP (all above 220, actually), led the league in CGs 7 times. Got hurt after leading the league in CG for 5 straight years, although to be fair he was always economical with his pitches and could go deeper in games than most guys without racking up crazy pitch counts.

Carpenter: Threw 215 IP at age 26, tore his labrum the next year and missed 1.5 seasons. Came back and had seasons of 241 and 221 IP, then required TJ surgery (among other injuries), missing most of the next two seasons. Came back and had seasons of 235 and 237 IP, then missed most of the following year with thoracic outlet syndrome and retired. 180 of his 332 career starts he threw more than 100 pitches.
   43. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: June 24, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5855335)
42--Agreed. Ben Sheets pitched 237 innings with most starts all over 100 pitches including several over 120 and battled injuries the rest of his career.
   44. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 24, 2019 at 01:01 PM (#5855356)
And Johan Santana basically got hurt after throwing 130+ pitches in a no-hitter the season after having TJ surgery. It seemed like a risky but understandable decision at the time -- let the veteran go for his (and the franchise's) first no-hitter -- but now you see managers much more willing to pull guys in that situation.
   45. Al "Battery" Kaline Posted: June 24, 2019 at 07:45 PM (#5855513)
deGrom, a converted SS, has a 67 OPS+ this year
Apparently Greinke was also a shortstop...in high school. Probably true of many pitchers.

Also, how do you say Greinke's name? The Source of All Truth (Wikipedia) says GRING-kee, BR says it's GRAYN-kee, and TV announcers usually go with GREN-kee. I prefer GRINE-kee because I know it's wrong.
   46. Booey Posted: June 24, 2019 at 09:13 PM (#5855535)
Also, how do you say Greinke's name?


*Zak*
   47. Howie Menckel Posted: June 24, 2019 at 09:42 PM (#5855545)
I've owned much of his career, so I like GRINE-kee. but it's probably GREN-kee
   48. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 24, 2019 at 10:59 PM (#5855570)
Greinke homered off of Kershaw today, his third of the year.
   49. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 25, 2019 at 02:30 AM (#5855591)
It would be GRINE-kuh in the (presumably) original German. When he was on the Dodgers, Charlie Steiner said GRING-kee, and I assume he asked.
   50. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: June 25, 2019 at 09:40 AM (#5855617)
With his HR off of Kershaw last night, Greinke has raised his career OPS+ from 59 to 61. Not bad for 1 game. :)
   51. Al "Battery" Kaline Posted: June 25, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5855639)
Thought of a couple more non-possibilities:
- The last E is silent, so it's "Grink" - just like Rob Gronkowski's "Gronk"
- What might get him into the HOF: "Grey-Ink"

Was interesting seeing former teamies Kershaw and Grinekuh face each other yesterday (though neither pitched well). The HR was fun to watch. I was amused that Zak had the highest SLG in the D-backs' lineup.

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