The Neyer/Lichtman Guide to ########…An Historical Compendium of ########, ########, and #######. (but the book ends well!)
From Rob Neyer, who is lately (maybe for a long while) just as obsessed (and misguided) as almost everyone else about short-term recent performance:
So is Cliff Lee for real? I think all we can say is that he’s really healthy. He’s going to give up a higher batting average on balls in play, and some reasonable percentage of the fly balls he gives up will fly over the fence. So no, he probably doesn’t wind up winning the Cy Young Award. But I’ll bet he’s better than average. And considering how well C.C. Sabathia’s pitched in his last two starts, suddenly the Indians would seem to have the best rotation in the majors.
So Cliff Lee, 31 years old, is better than average, because he has pitched well to 128 batters after having pitched mediocrely, at best, to 3047 batters over the last 4 years? I think not, and I will take up Neyer on that bet (he offered this time, although obviously not literally).
...That is a fairly sucky pitcher who, based on his 128 batters faced so far this year, is a now an ever-so-slightly less sucky pitcher! He is NOT better than a league average pitcher, nor he is a league average pitcher. (Warning: of course, I don’t KNOW what he is for sure, but my estimate, since it is based on science, is a heck of a lot better than Neyer’s, which is based on nothing, but a distorted and misinformed view of what 5 outings of good pitching following 4 years of poor pitching, means.)
...The sad part is that Neyer knows this stuff (I think), but he still writes the same crap that everyone else does.