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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Curious Case of Mark Buehrle

By almost every metric, Mark Buehrle is a thoroughly average pitcher. So how has he managed to find such success, especially at his age?

 

Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM | 75 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: grantland, pick offs

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4752832)
That excerpt makes me shake my head a little.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4752834)
Maybe I should have excerpted this:


And that, in essence, is the secret of Buehrle’s success: He’s a thoroughly average pitcher, but thanks to what he does before and after he hurls the ball to home plate, he saves more runs than any defensive player alive inning for inning.

Could it be that simple? Could good defense alone be the difference between being a journeyman innings-eater and assembling the brilliant career that Buehrle has? Well, consider that while Buehrle’s career ERA is 3.79, his FIP — which estimates what his ERA should be based on the number of walks, strikeouts, and homers he’s allowed — is 4.12. As Ben Jedlovec, vice-president at Baseball Info Solutions, put it: “Coincidentally or not, his Defensive Runs Saved over his career closely corresponds with the magnitude of the difference between his FIP and his ERA. In other words, the difference between Buehrle’s career FIP and ERA can be explained by his DRS.”

So yes, it might actually be that simple.

   3. BDC Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4752840)
It's a very good detailed analysis. Obviously a huge part of his success is simply in staying around average at so many aspects of pitching, and being so healthy, so long. That's not ordinary. But TFA makes a good case that his defense and control of the running game set him apart.
   4. DKDC Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4752843)
By almost every metric, Mark Buehrle is a thoroughly average pitcher. So how has he managed to find such success, especially at his age?


The article isn’t bad, but this whole premise is a little wacky. Over Beurhle’s career, he’s been better than the average AL starter in every rate pitching metric I can think of (RA/FIP/ERA/xFIP/SIERA), while pitching most of his career in a bandbox and averaging over 200 innings a year.

It’s seems pretty obvious that he’s a well above average pitcher.
   5. JRVJ Posted: July 17, 2014 at 01:59 PM (#4752875)
It's a very good article (it's Rany after all).

I'm a little surprised that Rany doesn't make much of the fact that Buerhle doesn't really walk that many people (very back of the envelope, but he is much stingier with walks than Glavine was - he beats Glavine in all 3 categories that Rany quotes, in some cases by a big difference. His career average is one less walk per 9 innings than Glavine).

Frankly, I would have liked Rany to compare Buehrle with elite Cliff Lee, as I see some similarities in their approach (obviously elite Cliff Lee is much better than Buehrle).
   6. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4752878)
his FIP — which estimates what his ERA should be based on the number of walks, strikeouts, and homers he’s allowed — is 4.12.


Wasn't the league average FIP significantly higher than 4.12 for much of Buehrle's career? So that even if you remove the elements of his game that cause the gap between his career ERA and his FIP, he'd still register as an above-average pitcher (and even more as an above-average starter)?

   7. madvillain Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4752893)
Wasn't the league average FIP significantly higher than 4.12 for much of Buehrle's career? So that even if you remove the elements of his game that cause the gap between his career ERA and his FIP, he'd still register as an above-average pitcher (and even more as an above-average starter)?


His career xFIP- is 99, so fractionally better than average. But, when you factor in his amazing defense and ability to shut the run game down, that explains the difference in ERA and expected ERA pretty well.

The lede of the article is grossly simplifying things. Most baseball fans wouldn't describe a SP with over 3000IP and an ERA of 3.79 as "thoroughly average". "Consistently above average" would be putting it better.

As for Mark's HOF chances, if he gets to 4000 innings and his ERA+ remains around 120, I'd put him in. How many pitchers are we ever going to see get 4000 innings anymore? Let along 4000 consistently above average innings. He deserves a ton of credit for durability and even if the peak isn't there, bWAR is really going to like 4000 innings at an ERA+ of around 110-120.
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:08 PM (#4752894)
Well, consider that while Buehrle’s career ERA is 3.79, his FIP — which estimates what his ERA should be based on the number of walks, strikeouts, and homers he’s allowed — is 4.12.


Or we could consider that FIP doesn't always do a very good job of estimating ERA. Buehrle gets a high number of double plays, and eliminates the running game - would-be base stealers have succeeded just 43 percent of the time over the course of his career. FIP doesn't think those things matter, but they sure help Buehrle's ERA.
   9. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:16 PM (#4752903)
bWAR is really going to like 4000 innings at an ERA+ of around 110-120.


Yes. he's currently at 3000, 119, and 59 WAR. 1000 more innings of 100 ERA+ will be close to 80.

   10. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:22 PM (#4752906)
Yes. he's currently at 3000, 119, and 59 WAR. 4000 innings of 100 (120?) ERA+ will be close to 80.


Yeah, obviously he's got to keep pitching well as a pure career candidate, but the idea that the Hall is farfetched (which other Jaffe implied in the FA) seems strange.
   11. bobm Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:42 PM (#4752924)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, (requiring WAA_pitch<=1 and WAA_pitch>=-1), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

                                             
Rk            Player  WAR WAA/pitch From   To
1           Vern Law 26.2       0.7 1950 1967
2      Mike Flanagan 26.0       0.8 1975 1992
3    Livan Hernandez 25.2      -0.2 1996 2012
4    Paul Splittorff 22.8      -0.9 1970 1984
5       John Burkett 21.6      -0.9 1987 2003
6         Jim Clancy 21.2      -0.8 1977 1991
7        Steve Renko 21.0      -0.8 1969 1983
8       Jesse Barnes 20.9       0.9 1915 1927
9          Ron Kline 20.4       0.9 1952 1970
10        Aaron Sele 20.2      -0.4 1993 2007
11       Bill Singer 19.5       0.2 1964 1977
12    Fritz Peterson 19.5      -0.1 1966 1976
13      Mudcat Grant 19.4      -0.5 1958 1971
14      Larry Benton 19.3       1.0 1923 1935
15        Pat Dobson 18.2      -0.7 1967 1977
16     Harry Gumbert 18.2      -0.9 1935 1950
17     Danny Jackson 17.9       0.7 1983 1997
18       Frank Smith 17.7      -0.7 1904 1915
19       Fred Norman 17.4       1.0 1962 1980
20         Jim Hearn 17.4       0.6 1947 1959
21      Dick Ruthven 17.3      -0.7 1973 1986
22          Ray Culp 17.3      -0.0 1963 1973
23      Carl Erskine 16.6      -0.1 1948 1959
24     Ervin Santana 16.5      -0.4 2005 2014
25      Juan Pizarro 16.3       0.6 1957 1974
Rk            Player  WAR WAA/pitch From   To
26    Richard Dotson 16.1      -0.3 1979 1990
27       Dave Giusti 16.1       0.3 1962 1977
28       Kirk Rueter 16.0       0.9 1993 2005
29      Pete Donohue 16.0      -0.8 1921 1932
30         Paul Byrd 15.9       0.5 1995 2009


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/17/2014.
   12. bobm Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:46 PM (#4752931)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, (requiring WAA_bat>=-1 and WAA_bat<=1), sorted by greatest WAR Position Players

                                               
Rk             Player WAR/pos WAA/pos From   To
1           Del Ennis    31.3     0.9 1946 1959
2          Carlos Lee    28.2    -0.3 1999 2012
3     Garry Templeton    27.6     0.5 1976 1991
4        Leo Cardenas    27.3    -0.2 1960 1975
5     Alfonso Soriano    27.1     0.6 1999 2014
6             Lee May    27.0    -0.7 1965 1982
7        Tommy Harper    25.7     0.4 1962 1976
8           Steve Sax    25.3     0.1 1981 1994
9        Willie Jones    25.2    -0.6 1947 1961
10          Tony Pena    24.6     0.2 1980 1997
11       Eddie Foster    24.1     0.1 1910 1923
12    A.J. Pierzynski    24.0    -0.8 1998 2014
13   Frankie Crosetti    23.9     0.7 1932 1948
14      Frank Schulte    23.7    -0.2 1904 1918
15        Jim Gantner    22.3     0.2 1976 1992
16         Milt Stock    22.3     0.5 1913 1926
17         Wid Conroy    21.8     0.4 1901 1911
18          Joe Randa    21.3     0.9 1995 2006
19        Buck Weaver    21.1     0.9 1912 1920
20       Adam Kennedy    21.0     0.4 1999 2012
21      Damion Easley    20.4    -0.6 1992 2008
22       Dan Driessen    20.4    -0.7 1973 1987
23         Joe Vosmik    20.4    -0.5 1930 1944
24        Fred Merkle    19.9    -0.8 1907 1926
25     Jeromy Burnitz    19.7    -0.5 1993 2006
Rk             Player WAR/pos WAA/pos From   To
26      Carlos Baerga    19.5     0.2 1990 2005
27    Gregg Jefferies    19.4     0.3 1987 2000
28       Chick Gandil    19.4     0.7 1910 1919
29       Mark Loretta    19.3    -0.8 1995 2009
30       Bruce Bochte    19.3    -0.6 1974 1986
31           Lyn Lary    19.3     0.9 1929 1940
32       Brandon Inge    19.1    -0.9 2001 2013


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/17/2014.
   13. Batman Posted: July 17, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4752935)
Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1901 to 2014, (requiring WAA_pitch<=1 and WAA_pitch>=-1), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers
If you don't set the -1 WAA floor, Joe Niekro is #1 and Lew Burdette is between Flanagan and Hernandez.
   14. Ron J2 Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4752953)
#8 It's not that FIP doesn't think they matter, but rather that generally speaking you don't have to worry about it. Just like generally speaking you don't have to worry much about HBP in evaluating a hitter (or GIDP). It's just that at the extremes it really matters.

The problem lies less with the metric than with people blithely ignoring the limitations. It's a decent first cut estimate.
   15. Mark Armour Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4752962)
A guy who can throw 200 innings with league average peripherals is a very good pitcher, much better than "average". If you can do that every year (meaning: your team does not have to find replacements for a few weeks or months every year) you are an outstanding asset. Buehrle does all of the above with better than league average peripherals, PLUS he has the strengths that Rany describes that make him better than his peripherals. So, yes, he's had a hell of a career.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4752997)

Yes. he's currently at 3000, 119, and 59 WAR. 1000 more innings of 100 ERA+ will be close to 80.

Not sure that math is right. 3,000 IP at 119 ERA+ got him 59 WAR or ~20 WAR/1000 IP. Another 1000 IP at a much lower ERA+ is not going to get him another 21 WAR.
   17. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4752998)
It's not that FIP doesn't think they matter, but rather that generally speaking you don't have to worry about it. Just like generally speaking you don't have to worry much about HBP in evaluating a hitter (or GIDP). It's just that at the extremes it really matters.


I finally had a chance to RTFA, and to be fair, Rany does go into these things: Buehrle picks off six or seven baserunners a year, converts five or six infield singles into outs with his glove, and turns two or three extra double plays. So he understands what makes Buehrle a special pitcher, even if FIP doesn't.
   18. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 17, 2014 at 03:31 PM (#4753005)
Not sure that math is right. 3,000 IP at 119 ERA+ got him 59 WAR or ~20 WAR/1000 IP. Another 1000 IP at a much lower ERA+ is not going to get him another 21 WAR.


I was just going by his 2010 when he had 210 IP, 100 ERA+ and 4 WAR, and multiplying that by 5. But I see that he also had 200 IP 100 ERA+ last year and that was good for only 2.1 WAR. So a bit of an overreach.
   19. Moeball Posted: July 17, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4753039)
OK, so if I understand correctly, FIP is basically keyed to ERA, league average FIP is tied to league average ERA, yes?

I wonder - wouldn't it make more sense to tie it to RA/9 rather than ERA/9?

Was curious because Buehrle's career ERA may be at 3.79 but his career RA/9 is 4.19 which is a lot closer to his career FIP.

As it is, we again have to be cognizant of context. Most casual fans would look at his career W-L record and career ERA of 3.79 and think, ho, hum, what's the big deal? He's been ok, but not that great. In fact, he's given up more hits than innings pitched in his career and opposing batters have hit for a .272 average against him. That's nothing to be impressed with.

But he's allowed an average of 4.19 runs/9 and B-Ref shows that the average pitcher under the same conditions would allow 5.12 runs/9, a difference of about 1 run/game. Now that's something significant. If a pitcher in the 1960s and early 1970s went through more than a dozen years of consistently giving up a run/game less than the average - well, that would be a revered pitcher most likely with a career ERA of under 3.

For example - Buehrle has been a regular starter from 2001 to 2014. His numbers have been referenced above. Well, Bob Gibson was a regular starter from 1961 to 1974, the same length of time. During that time Gibson was allowing an average of about 3.13 runs/9 and the league average under the same conditions was 4.19. Again, basically a run under the league average.

Now, I'm not saying that Buehrle is as great a pitcher as Gibson was. I am saying, however, that he's much better than most people think he is. At this stage of his career he's already closing in on 59 WAR and 31 WAA. That's pretty impressive, and just about puts him in the top 60 pitchers ever. I never would have guessed he was that high on the list. If he keeps up his Old Man River act and just keeps rolling along, he could conceivably add another 1000 innings of above average pitching, which is only going to move him up on those lists.

I usually have more of a "peak" rather than "career" focus when thinking of potential HOFers but, occasionally, someone like Buehrle comes along that could win me over. I hope he keeps it up - this could get very interesting.
   20. madvillain Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4753153)
FIP is basically keyed to ERA, league average FIP is tied to league average ERA, yes?


FIP is just a formula, based on DIPS theory, that attempts to ascertain the "true talent" level of pitchers. It assumes that there are a few things (like percentage of fly balls that turn into homeruns or BABIP against) that a pitcher can't control and shouldn't "get credit" for.

As for it spitting out a number like "4.17" FIP, it's been setup that way in order to be familiar and accessible to people familiar with ERA.

The argument is that FIP under-rates Buehrle because he's an extreme outlier in pitcher defense, basically the Ozzie Smith of pitchers.
   21. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 17, 2014 at 05:57 PM (#4753171)
I usually have more of a "peak" rather than "career" focus when thinking of potential HOFers but, occasionally, someone like Buehrle comes along that could win me over. I hope he keeps it up - this could get very interesting.


Buehrle's definitely more of a career candidate, but he's hardly no peak. he's on pace for his second 6+ WAR season. he has another at 5.9, and 2 others over 5. Bob Lemon's considered rather peaky. he certainly didn't get in on his 207 career wins. His career high WAR is 5.4 . Catfish has an 8.1 season, but besides that, he's got 6.9, 5.4, and 4.7. Not much better, if any, than Buehrle.

Now, those are to of the weaker HOFer's, and I'm not making a If-then argument. But just pointing out that a "no peak" Buehrle, holds his own with a few peak only HOFers.
   22. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 17, 2014 at 06:02 PM (#4753175)
Whitey Ford peak WAR seasons: 6.7, 5.2, 5.2, 4.3. Buehrle is better.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2014 at 06:32 PM (#4753195)
Huh? Near as I can tell, there's nowhere that bWAR incorporates pitcher defense. Buehrle is given 0 Rfield under "batting value" but tons of DRS under fielding. His good defense would actually hurt his pitcher WAR since it would (slightly) improve overall team defense.

So it seems Buehrle is 59 pitching WAR, -1 oWAR and about 8-9 fieldWAR. 66-67 WAR which is a rather large difference.

Not sure I really believe those DRS numbers. He saves more runs than Andrelton Simmons -- Buehrle 85 DRS in 3000 innings; Simmons 69 in 2569 innings.

Anyway, the conclusion seems surprisingly reasonable. Often a FIP-ERA mismatch is BABIP driven but Buehrle's is 294 ... probably a bit better than league average given his parks but it doesn't look dramatic. Often it's superior performance with RISP (Glavine, Rueter if I recall) but Buehrle's numbers with RISP are pretty much exactly, even a bit worse, than his overall numbers. Shutting down the running game helps but it's not a big part of today's game.
   24. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: July 17, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4753198)
It’s seems pretty obvious that he’s a well above average pitcher.


For Buehrle's career, the league ERA has been 4.33, his has been 3.79, his FIP 4.12
League h/9 has been 9.1, his has been 9.4
League HR/9 has been 1.0, his 1.0
League BB/9 has been 3.2, his 2.1

league k/9 has been 6.7, his 5.2- this is the reason for and for all intents and purposes the same as the h/9 ratio above

league WHIP has been 1.37, his has been 1.28
He's better than the average pitcher because he allows about one less baseunner per 9 than average, and the main reason for that is that he doesn't walk people

The batting line against him is: .272/.315/.419, league is .262/.330/.416

of secondary, but still significant importance is that baserunners have stolen only 58 bases and been caught 77 times- for 99% of pithers I think you can safely ignore how well they do in sb/cs- but Buehrle has been so unusually effective it's actually significant. You want someone whose career ERA was worse than his FIP? Dwight Gooden- gave up 452 stolen bases against 125 caught stealing (For a long time Met catchers got a lot of flack for not throwing out runners - but the Mets had a couple of pitchers who simply did not hold runners well and Gooden was the absolute worst at it)
   25. cardsfanboy Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4753232)
OK, so if I understand correctly, FIP is basically keyed to ERA, league average FIP is tied to league average ERA, yes?


Not in the slightest. Fip just uses the three true outcome components to come up with a ERA based upon dips theory combined with component era.

Fip is determined with the following formula... FIP = ((13*HR)+(3*(BB+HBP))-(2*K))/IP + constant

The constant is solely to bring FIP onto an ERA scale and is generally around 3.20. You can find historical FIP constant values here, or you can derive the constant by taking league-average FIP and subtracting that from league-average ERA.
   26. chisoxcollector Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:44 PM (#4753239)
he's already closing in on 59 WAR and 31 WAA


I'm glad you mentioned WAA. He has more WAA than C.C. Sabathia.

Here are some of the pitchers he is often compared to. Kenny Rogers had 20 WAA. Jamie Moyer had 13.5. Tommy John had 22, Jim Kaat 8. Mark Buehrle is in a class above these pitchers.

If he reaches the numbers mentioned up thread, he should be a HOF shoo-in. He has narrative going for him as well. Gold Gloves, one of the most famous defensive plays of the decade, best player on a World Series champion, no-hitter, perfect game, etc.
   27. Bhaakon Posted: July 17, 2014 at 07:59 PM (#4753246)
Not sure I really believe those DRS numbers. He saves more runs than Andrelton Simmons -- Buehrle 85 DRS in 3000 innings; Simmons 69 in 2569 innings.



In defense of DRS in this, shortstops are chosen in large part for their defensive prowess and pitchers decidedly are not. We'd expect to see a larger disparity between the best and worst defensive pitchers, and the outliers and average. It's just like pitchers batting. There are so many pitchers who struggle to hit an empty .150 that a pitcher who managed to hit .300 with power would be able to rack up way more added value for his team on a per-PA basis than, say, a DH who hit like that.
   28. Walt Davis Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:54 PM (#4753286)
#27 ... sure, but he's also seeing fewer balls in his zone. Buehrle's 85 DRS comes on just 574 balls fielded, Simmons has about twice that. Simmons has also converted 92% of his balls fielded into outs while Buehrle has converted just 88. Fangraphs gives Simmons 752 BIZ, 638 plays made (plus 165 OOZ) and Buehrle ... well, they don't even report BIZ, UZR, etc. for him so they aren't counting his fielding in his WAR either.

They do have something called Inside Edge Fielding for the last 3 years. That classifies balls into impossible, remote, etc. Buehrle does come off very well there -- e.g. he has made 88% of plays on "even" balls that supposedly would get converted 40-60% of the time. But it's only 7 out of 8 plays over the last 3 years so 3 extra plays over 3 years. Near as I can guess, over the last 3 years he's made about 13 more plays than the average pitcher. That somehow has translated to 20 DRS.

For comparison, Sabathia has 0 DRS over the last three years (but -15 overall). That was on 76 plays made, about 80% resulting in outs. Buehrle, in about 16% more innings, had 107, converting about 86%. Adjusting for innings that's about 21 more plays ... and 20 DRS? That doesn't seem too far off but is still high. Inside Edge agrees and puts CC at about 0 plays relative to average but, by their count, many fewer opportunities than Buehrle (i.e. more GB).

Simmons Inside Edge rates are pretty similar to Buehrle. Simmons has made about 60 more plays than the average SS ... and that has translated to 69 DRS?

Or ... 1B are also not chosen for defensive prowess. We don't have DRS for Hernandez but he gets credited with just 120 Rfield in over 12,000 innings. Or Pujols 24-31 had 120 DRS in about 10,500 innings.

In the grand scheme, even if DRS is over-estimating his defense, we're still likely only talking 2-3 wins at most which doesn't matter much when we're talking 64 vs. 67 WAR. I'm not necessarily surprised that he's the Mark Belanger of pitchers I'm just surprised that the Mark Belanger of pitchers is estimated to save about 1.75 times as many runs per inning as the Mark Belanger of shortstops.
   29. Kiko Sakata Posted: July 17, 2014 at 09:55 PM (#4753287)
Near as I can tell, there's nowhere that bWAR incorporates pitcher defense.


bWAR starts from RA and adjusts for (non-pitcher) defense. So, Buerhle's defense is implicitly already being accounted for in his RA. fWAR, on the other hand, starts from FIP, so it's not including pitcher defense, which would then have to be added on separately.
   30. Mendo Posted: July 17, 2014 at 10:57 PM (#4753314)
So if you converted Mark Belanger into a pitcher, how many defensive runs would he have saved over the average pitcher?

How ineffective could his "pitching-only" (K/BB/HR) have been while maintaining overall effectiveness because of his fielding?

Of course, just because Belanger would have been 30+ runs better than Buehrle as a SS, that surely doesn't translate to being 30+ runs better as a Pitcher, but it's fun to think about. His fastball was probably better than Buehrle's...
   31. Bhaakon Posted: July 17, 2014 at 11:44 PM (#4753340)
Or ... 1B are also not chosen for defensive prowess. We don't have DRS for Hernandez but he gets credited with just 120 Rfield in over 12,000 innings. Or Pujols 24-31 had 120 DRS in about 10,500 innings.


I'm not sure this is true. It's rare, but there have been guys forced to the DH or a part time role because they just can't field well enough to be anything but an emergency option at 1B. I can't remember a pitcher ever losing a job because he can't field.
   32. zachtoma Posted: July 17, 2014 at 11:50 PM (#4753346)
The fact that he only has 58 stolen bases against him in his career is jaw-dropping to me. That's less than five a year.
   33. bobm Posted: July 18, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4753355)
[32] Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2014, (requiring IP<=3300 and At least 2700 Innings Pitched), sorted by smallest Stolen Bases

                                                                      
Rk                Player  SB     IP From   To    H   BB    BF HBP  OBP
1            Whitey Ford  30 3170.1 1950 1967 2766 1086 13036  28 .300
2           Billy Pierce  53 3296.2 1948 1964 2983 1168 13808  29 .307
3           Mark Buehrle  58 3009.0 2000 2014 3159  687 12547  70 .315
4          Bartolo Colon  64 2705.1 1997 2014 2721  819 11434  51 .317
5              Bob Lemon  66 2756.0 1947 1958 2482 1183 11687  57 .322
6           Lew Burdette  67 3067.1 1950 1967 3186  628 12745  56 .307
7           Mike Cuellar  77 2808.0 1959 1977 2538  822 11505  12 .297
8           Dave McNally  79 2730.0 1962 1975 2488  826 11229  72 .305
9              Jim Perry  80 3285.2 1959 1975 3127  998 13732  80 .309
10         Larry Jackson  89 3262.2 1955 1968 3206  824 13593  68 .304
11        Javier Vazquez 105 2840.0 1998 2011 2784  763 11935  88 .307
12        Curt Schilling 105 3261.0 1988 2007 2998  711 13284  52 .286
13           Frank Viola 134 2836.1 1982 1996 2827  864 11933  48 .316
14         Mike Flanagan 145 2770.0 1975 1992 2806  890 11684  41 .323
15          Ken Holtzman 151 2867.1 1965 1979 2787  910 12069  49 .313
16            Dave Stieb 158 2895.1 1979 1998 2572 1034 12072 129 .312
17       Livan Hernandez 160 3189.0 1996 2012 3525 1066 13816  78 .342
18           Milt Pappas 161 3186.0 1957 1973 3046  858 13198  72 .304
19        Camilo Pascual 167 2930.2 1954 1971 2703 1069 12415  61 .312
20           CC Sabathia 171 2821.1 2001 2014 2643  844 11739  89 .307
21            Tim Hudson 173 2932.2 1999 2014 2736  865 12173 115 .308
22           Kevin Brown 180 3256.1 1986 2005 3079  901 13542 139 .306
23        Orel Hershiser 181 3130.1 1983 2000 2939 1007 13150 117 .312
24         Mark Langston 200 2962.2 1984 1999 2723 1289 12562  46 .325
25           Mike Morgan 206 2772.1 1978 2002 2943  938 11872  73 .337
Rk                Player  SB     IP From   To    H   BB    BF HBP  OBP
26        Pedro Martinez 210 2827.1 1992 2009 2221  760 11394 141 .276
27            Mike Moore 213 2831.2 1982 1995 2858 1156 12203  55 .335
28             Bob Welch 213 3092.0 1978 1994 2894 1034 12956  79 .312
29            Bob Forsch 218 2794.2 1974 1989 2777  832 11715  45 .315
30          Roy Halladay 221 2749.1 1998 2013 2646  592 11287  81 .296
31   Fernando Valenzuela 235 2930.0 1980 1997 2718 1151 12398  25 .319
32           Bob Knepper 235 2708.0 1976 1990 2737  857 11488  47 .321
33          Steve Rogers 238 2837.2 1973 1985 2619  876 11702  43 .306
34           Mike Torrez 238 3043.2 1967 1984 3043 1371 13179  59 .343
35        Kevin Millwood 249 2720.1 1997 2012 2770  843 11616  74 .320
36             Rick Wise 252 3127.1 1964 1982 3227  804 13157  44 .313
37          Danny Darwin 262 3016.2 1978 1998 2951  874 12716  81 .310
38          Chuck Finley 269 3197.1 1986 2002 3069 1332 13638  76 .331
39         Tom Candiotti 293 2725.0 1983 1999 2662  883 11568  85 .317
40            David Cone 343 2898.2 1986 2003 2504 1137 12184 106 .309
41      Dennis Eckersley 380 3285.2 1975 1998 3076  738 13534  75 .290
42         Tim Wakefield 448 3226.1 1992 2011 3152 1205 13939 186 .327
43         Dwight Gooden 452 2800.2 1984 2000 2564  954 11705  78 .310


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/17/2014.
   34. ajnrules Posted: July 18, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4753359)
It's kind of strange to think that after Roy Halladay's arm injuries and eventual retirement and CC Sabathia's knee issues, Mark Buehrle's our next best hope for 300 wins.
   35. cardsfanboy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 12:49 AM (#4753377)
It's kind of strange to think that after Roy Halladay's arm injuries and eventual retirement and CC Sabathia's knee issues, Mark Buehrle's our next best hope for 300 wins.


At one point in time, there was a possibility that Jamie Moyer would be the next person to win 300 games.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: July 18, 2014 at 01:59 AM (#4753389)
Sure I think it's fair to say there's less tolerance for incompetent defense at 1B than pitcher, I was just highlighting it as the defensive position where quality of defense matters the least. That is -- pitcher defense is not important, therefore Buehrle is being comped to a an average that is quite low by "absolute" defensive standards. The closest position equivalent is 1B. Pujols had only about 1.5 times as many DRS as Buehrle in 3.5 times as many innings in the field and (guessing) more than 3.5 times as many plays made not even including throws received. Is it plausible that average pitcher defense is that much worse than average 1B defense? I believe that would make the average pitcher a much worse defender (in the absolute sense) than Prince Fielder.

bWAR starts from RA and adjusts for (non-pitcher) defense.

Are you sure it's only non-pitcher? The little pop-up says "the team's total balls in play ... and total runs saved." Or from the glossary:

To account for defense, we find the overall team defensive runs saved, which uses Baseball Info Solutions' Runs Saved from 2003 on and Total Zone before 2003. We then compute the number of balls in play allowed by the team and the number of balls in play allowed by the pitcher and assign the negative of the proportional team defensive runs to the xRA_ppf values.

xRA_def = (BIP_pitcher)/(BIP_team)*TeamDefensiveRunsSaved


Nothing in there about ignoring pitchers' contributions to defense in determining the team defensive contribution. I'm not saying you're wrong -- depends on how BIS is defining "Runs Saved" -- but it's unclear writing at best.

Now I think you're right that his defense shows up in his RA9 so in that sense it's accounted for. But his defense is (barring clarification) also increasing his teams runs saved so that is hurting him a little.
   37. Walt Davis Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:03 AM (#4753390)
By the way, CC is at -15 career and average lately; Colon is average for the DRS era ... first two tubby guys who came to mind so it's not implausible that the average pitcher is a Fielder-like fielder.
   38. greenback calls it soccer Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:42 AM (#4753394)
The fact that he only has 58 stolen bases against him in his career is jaw-dropping to me. That's less than five a year.

Chris Carpenter was another guy like that (47 SB, 77 CS in 2200 innings), which was a bit weirder, because he's right-handed and not exactly the picture of a nimble little guy.
   39. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 18, 2014 at 03:03 AM (#4753397)
Chris Carpenter was another guy like that (47 SB, 77 CS in 2200 innings), which was a bit weirder, because he's right-handed and not exactly the picture of a nimble little guy.


Considering his handedness, Carpenter's numbers are truly astounding.

   40. Bhaakon Posted: July 18, 2014 at 05:12 AM (#4753399)
Pujols had only about 1.5 times as many DRS as Buehrle in 3.5 times as many innings in the field and (guessing) more than 3.5 times as many plays made not even including throws received. Is it plausible that average pitcher defense is that much worse than average 1B defense? I believe that would make the average pitcher a much worse defender (in the absolute sense) than Prince Fielder.


It's hard to say, but for the sake of argument: Every defender but the pitcher is standing ready to field his position when the ball reaches the batter. Virtually all pitchers are in poor position, and many are in such poor position as to surrender any chance of making a play on the their pitching-arm side. If a guy has trained himself to finish a pitch in decent fielding position, it gives him a huge relative advantage that top defenders at other positions just can't match. No shortstop begins a play sideways to the plate, standing on one leg, and bent over at the waist. A lot of pitchers do.
   41. Jeltzandini Posted: July 18, 2014 at 08:32 AM (#4753420)
No shortstop begins a play sideways to the plate, standing on one leg, and bent over at the waist.


Possible rule change for the how to increase balls in play thread.
   42. BDC Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:00 AM (#4753435)
Nice description, Bhaakon. We had a Jim Kaat thread recently, and one thing notable about Kaat was how he'd deliver the ball and then sort of pop up into a perfect fielding stance. On style alone he earned his Gold Gloves.
   43. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: July 18, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4753471)
It's hard to say, but for the sake of argument: Every defender but the pitcher is standing ready to field his position when the ball reaches the batter. Virtually all pitchers are in poor position, and many are in such poor position as to surrender any chance of making a play on the their pitching-arm side. If a guy has trained himself to finish a pitch in decent fielding position, it gives him a huge relative advantage that top defenders at other positions just can't match. No shortstop begins a play sideways to the plate, standing on one leg, and bent over at the waist. A lot of pitchers do.

In a poor position and 40 feet closer to the batter than the other infielders. A pitcher with good reflexes in a better fielding position could have a huge advantage over other pitchers in fielding batted balls.
   44. hokieneer Posted: July 18, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4753502)
Chris Carpenter was another guy like that (47 SB, 77 CS in 2200 innings), which was a bit weirder, because he's right-handed and not exactly the picture of a nimble little guy.


Considering his handedness, Carpenter's numbers are truly astounding.



I watched Carpenter a lot over the years and never realized he was that good at controlling the running game.

Cueto (who might be the best RHP I've seen at shutting down the running game), is on a similar pace as Carpenter: 20 SB, 33 CS, ~1100 IP)
   45. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:24 AM (#4753599)
It's kind of strange to think that after Roy Halladay's arm injuries and eventual retirement and CC Sabathia's knee issues, Mark Buehrle's our next best hope for 300 wins.


It is tough to see how Buehrle gets to 300 wins without remarkable health into his early 40s. In fact, looking at the list of active pitchers, I think the only guy on the list that I can possibly imagine approaching 300 wins is King Felix (121 wins, age 28). It's not a pretty list. Either the definition of "Hall of Famer" for career wins is going to go down for many voters, or not a lot of starters are getting in the HOF in the next 20 years...
   46. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4753618)
It is tough to see how Buehrle gets to 300 wins without remarkable health into his early 40s.


That pretty much defines a 300 game winner, no? Clemens and Maddux are not the norm. Tom Glavine (275 wins through age 39), Gaylord Perry (267), Don Sutton (280), Nolan Ryan (253)...guys like that. At his current pace, Buehrle will have ~260 wins after his age 39 season.
   47. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: July 18, 2014 at 11:56 AM (#4753640)
It is tough to see how Buehrle gets to 300 wins without remarkable health into his early 40s.


That pretty much defines a 300 game winner, no? Clemens and Maddux are not the norm. Tom Glavine (275 wins through age 39), Gaylord Perry (267), Don Sutton (280), Nolan Ryan (253)...guys like that. At his current pace, Buehrle will have ~260 wins after his age 39 season.


Buehrle is at 196 wins at this moment, having his best season since 2006. His birthday is in late March, so if we give him another six wins this season, he would have 202 wins entering his age 36 season. It would also give him 16 wins in 2014...the most wins he has had in a season since 2005, when he was 26 years old.

And that is my point, in terms of my skepticism. To be at 260 wins after his age 39 season, he will have to win about 15 games each of the next four seasons. And that's just to be 40 wins short entering his 40s! He's won 15 or more games in a season exactly once since winning 16 in 2005. His pace is about 13 a season. That seems like a small difference, but when you have to win ~100 games from age 36 on to get to 300, that adds up to needing a whole additional season of prime performance in your 40s.

I like Buehrle a lot, and he is one of the best pitchers of generation, and he doesn't have to win 300 to be a HOFer, in my opinion. But I think he'll stall at about 240, if not earlier...
   48. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 18, 2014 at 12:17 PM (#4753663)
It's hard to say, but for the sake of argument: Every defender but the pitcher is standing ready to field his position when the ball reaches the batter. Virtually all pitchers are in poor position, and many are in such poor position as to surrender any chance of making a play on the their pitching-arm side. If a guy has trained himself to finish a pitch in decent fielding position, it gives him a huge relative advantage that top defenders at other positions just can't match. No shortstop begins a play sideways to the plate, standing on one leg, and bent over at the waist. A lot of pitchers do.


In a poor position and 40 feet closer to the batter than the other infielders. A pitcher with good reflexes in a better fielding position could have a huge advantage over other pitchers in fielding batted balls.

In a sense, Buehrle's a better version of the Walt Terrell example James mentioned in an old Abstract. As a guy who allows a lot of balls to be put in play, it's far more important for him (and he can take more advantage) to be able to field his position well than it would be for some high-strikeout pitcher. And for a guy who thus allows a lot of base hits, it's important for him to be able to control the running game, which he does exceedingly well.
   49. zonk Posted: July 18, 2014 at 01:01 PM (#4753695)
Isn't Buehrle also a notoriously fast worker on the mound? I've always wondered if there's a measurable defensive differential for pitchers that work quickly versus someone like a Steve Tracshel... Intuitively I would think there is, but don't think I've ever seen any real studies.
   50. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: July 18, 2014 at 01:09 PM (#4753698)
Isn't Buehrle also a notoriously fast worker on the mound? I've always wondered if there's a measurable defensive differential for pitchers that work quickly versus someone like a Steve Tracshel... Intuitively I would think there is, but don't think I've ever seen any real studies.


I don't know if it's been studied, but Bob Tufts swears by it.
   51. SandyRiver Posted: July 18, 2014 at 01:57 PM (#4753729)
Whitey Ford peak WAR seasons: 6.7, 5.2, 5.2, 4.3. Buehrle is better.


In looking at their respective stats, I find some things I consider odd. Buehrle has about 2 more WAA and 6 more WAR than Ford, in 5% fewer IP, and with ERA+ 119 compared to Ford's 133. They're very close on UE runs, Ford 140, Buehrle 132. While Ford wasn't as highly regarded as a fielder as Buehrle, he was well regarded, and he was as good as they come at holding runners on. Hard to compare 50s-60s context to 21st century, though.
   52. DL from MN Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:04 PM (#4753733)
The Yankee defense behind Ford was considered excellent. Not sure Buehrle's defenders have been that good other than Buehrle.
   53. cardsfanboy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:14 PM (#4753739)
It is tough to see how Buehrle gets to 300 wins without remarkable health into his early 40s. In fact, looking at the list of active pitchers, I think the only guy on the list that I can possibly imagine approaching 300 wins is King Felix (121 wins, age 28). It's not a pretty list. Either the definition of "Hall of Famer" for career wins is going to go down for many voters, or not a lot of starters are getting in the HOF in the next 20 years...


It's tough but not impossible. Any reasonable bet would say he needs to pitch into his age 42 season, not sure he's the type of guy to stick around that long though. I do think he would like to pitch one year in the Cardinals uniform, even if he's a washed up long reliever at that time. (He's appeared at multiple Cardinal's baseball writers dinners over the years and has said pretty much that--St Louis born kid---technically St. Charles but close enough)

Here is the list of 300 game winners, and the number of wins they had in their age 34 season. (Buehrle had 186)

Rk              Player   W From   To   Age  GS   L W-L%     IP  ERA  FIP ERA+
                                                                             
1    Christy Mathewson 369 1900 1915 19-34 545 184 .667 4714.0 2.12 2.25  137
2           Pud Galvin 351 1879 1891 22
-34 657 296 .543 5753.1 2.87 2.97  107
3          Kid Nichols 350 1890 1904 20
-34 537 196 .641 4866.0 2.93 3.50  142
4       Walter Johnson 337 1907 1922 19
-34 517 231 .593 4778.1 1.87 2.16  159
5        John Clarkson 328 1882 1894 20
-32 518 178 .648 4536.1 2.81 3.35  133
6             Cy Young 319 1890 1901 23
-34 487 180 .639 4415.0 2.93 3.35  142
7            Tim Keefe 313 1880 1891 23
-34 534 202 .608 4558.1 2.58 2.87  127
8         Mickey Welch 307 1880 1892 20
-32 549 210 .594 4802.0 2.71 3.28  113
9    Old Hoss Radbourn 271 1881 1889 26
-34 440 169 .616 3966.1 2.54 3.07  122
10      Pete Alexander 250 1911 1921 24
-34 377 127 .663 3368.1 2.16 2.44  143
11         Greg Maddux 240 1986 2000 20
-34 467 135 .640 3318.0 2.83 3.00  145
12          Tom Seaver 235 1967 1979 22
-34 449 133 .639 3454.2 2.55 2.69  138
13       Steve Carlton 225 1965 1979 20
-34 469 160 .584 3485.1 3.08 3.13  119
14          Don Sutton 217 1966 1979 21
-34 486 170 .561 3516.2 3.12 3.00  109
15       Roger Clemens 213 1984 1997 21
-34 416 118 .644 3040.0 2.97 2.88  149
16         Tom Glavine 208 1987 2000 21
-34 434 125 .625 2900.2 3.39 3.69  121
17         Lefty Grove 203 1925 1934 25
-34 279  87 .700 2510.1 3.04 3.24  144
18         Eddie Plank 202 1901 1910 25
-34 346 131 .607 2916.1 2.38 2.40  120
19          Nolan Ryan 189 1966 1981 19
-34 418 174 .521 3074.0 3.11 3.01  112
20          Early Wynn 184 1939 1954 19
-34 356 150 .551 2727.1 3.57 3.64  104
21        Warren Spahn 183 1942 1955 21
-34 334 124 .596 2678.2 2.98 3.30  127
22       Gaylord Perry 177 1962 1973 23
-34 364 144 .551 2981.0 2.89 2.91  122
23       Randy Johnson 143 1988 1998 24
-34 287  79 .644 1978.1 3.36 3.30  129
24         Phil Niekro 110 1964 1973 25
-34 224  94 .539 1913.2 3.00 3.24  123 


If you remove the pre-deadball era pitchers from the list(first 10), he's pretty much right about where you would expect a guy his age who will get to 300 wins, to be at.
   54. simon bedford Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4753748)
Beurhle works incredibly fast, this year during a game against the phillies where he faced cliff lee the entire game was over in just over 2 hours, and 7 runs were scored
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4753750)
Isn't Buehrle also a notoriously fast worker on the mound? I've always wondered if there's a measurable defensive differential for pitchers that work quickly versus someone like a Steve Tracshel... Intuitively I would think there is, but don't think I've ever seen any real studies.


I don't know if it's been studied, but Bob Tufts swears by it.


Most baseball color men swear by it too. That of course isn't proof of anything, but it does show conventional wisdom on the issue. Not just speed of delivery, but likelihood that the ball will be in play. They will talk about how a guy who is constantly going deep into counts is putting their defense asleep, while the contact guys are keeping them on their toes....whether it actively figures into quality of defense, is something that I haven't seen much data on.(and I'm assuming like every other saber field, that when the data does get studied, that the initial studies will say "no correlation found"...then over time, they will improve methodologies to the point that it will be "some correlation found but too small to mean anything." to "correlation found in some styles/situations." etc.)

Fangraphs has pace for pitchers and batters and I've seen one study saying no correlation between pacing and babip....of course the other article on pacing I found was about Buehrle but has nothing to do with defense.

Although this article does have an interesting point on the extremes...

For the bulk of the pitches thrown between 11 and 50 seconds after the previous pitch, there doesn’t seem to be much of an effect. However, at the extremes, the pitches thrown within 10 seconds after the previous pitch have a notably lower BABIP (.281), and the pitches thrown more than 50 seconds after the previous pitch have a much higher BABIP (.366). This finding is definitely noteworthy, but further investigation is needed to determine how much of the disparity is due to defensive play and how much is due to other situational differences.


This was an early hardball times article when they started to get the pacing data. (2008)
   56. McCoy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:32 PM (#4753759)

If you remove the pre-deadball era pitchers from the list(first 10), he's pretty much right about where you would expect a guy his age who will get to 300 wins, to be at.


Um, no.

There are 50 players since 1920 that have had more than 180 wins by their age 30 season. So 14 out of 50 made it to 300. Now then who is Buehrle around? Wynn and Spahn lost time to war in their youth and Gaylord didn't have his first full season until he was 27. Nolan Ryan and Randy played forever with Randy also taking a long time to be a full time starter. So for Mark to be right where we would expect a 300 game winner to be at at this point we would have to ignore practically all of the context that got the guys to that point on the list.
   57. cardsfanboy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:33 PM (#4753762)
Um, no.

Um... .Yes.
There are 50 players since 1920 that have had more than 180 wins by their age 30 season. So 14 out of 50 made it to 300. Now then who is Buehrle around? Wynn and Spahn lost time to war in their youth and Gaylord didn't have his first full season until he was 27. Nolan Ryan and Randy played forever with Randy also taking a long time to be a full time starter. So for Mark to be right where we would expect a 300 game winner to be at at this point we would have to ignore practically all of the context that got the guys to that point on the list.




I said he's pretty much right about where you would expect a guy who will get 300 wins to be at. I didn't say he was on pace or any of that other crap, and am not talking about the guys who failed. This isn't a pacing thing or a likelihood thing, this is relative to the guys who have done it, he's right within that group thing.

There is a pretty good argument to be made that those guys who started late or had missed years made 300 wins BECAUSE they had those issues, not in spite of it.
   58. Alex meets the threshold for granular review Posted: July 18, 2014 at 02:41 PM (#4753767)
Considering his handedness, Carpenter's numbers are truly astounding.


If you limit it to his years with the Cardinals, when Molina was his catcher: 15 SB, 34 CS.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4753780)
I'm not getting the "average" stuff. A 119 ERA+ in 3,000 innings is a very good pitcher and not far from a great pitcher.

Even a 100 ERA+ pitcher for 3,000 innings is a solidly above average pitcher, actually a good pitcher.

(Also, I strongly doubt that Buehrle's defense on the mound brings his ERA+ from 100 to 119.)

   60. Ray (RDP) Posted: July 18, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4753784)
As for Mark's HOF chances, if he gets to 4000 innings and his ERA+ remains around 120, I'd put him in.


Agreed. Right now he's Andy Pettitte, and I've said about Pettitte that he needed roughly 4,000 innings.
   61. cardsfanboy Posted: July 18, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4753785)
I'm not getting the "average" stuff. A 119 ERA+ in 3,000 innings is a very good pitcher and not far from a great pitcher


The article point was that the peripherals that Buehrle have is mostly around league average. Not his value to the team or the ultimate results. And then it attempted to explain why his results have been above average(good) overall, (excellent defense from Buehrle)


The article overstates this point at the top, since really the only thing that Buehrle is not good at is striking out batters and his homerun rate is exactly average, his dp conversion rate is well higher than average, his walk rate below average and his babip is slightly below average.
   62. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 12:30 AM (#4754150)
Re: CFB

So you're pretty much arguing that anything is possible. That is pretty much arguing just for the sake of arguing. Knock yourself out.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4754155)
So you're pretty much arguing that anything is possible. That is pretty much arguing just for the sake of arguing. Knock yourself out.


No, I'm saying that Buehrle is within the range of wins that a majority of the modern age starting pitchers had at his age that won 300 games. You are the one arguing for arguments sake. All I was saying was he's not at a low total for a guy who makes it to 300 wins.
   64. McCoy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:39 AM (#4754174)
As I mentioned before there are a ton of guys at his win range at the same age and very few made it to 300 with almost all of the guys around him who did go on to win 300+ games having special circumstances that don't apply to Mark. You might as well say that Mark is a guy and the other 300 game winners were guys so ipso facto Mark has a chance.
   65. cardsfanboy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:55 AM (#4754177)
As I mentioned before there are a ton of guys at his win range at the same age and very few made it to 300 with almost all of the guys around him who did go on to win 300+ games having special circumstances that don't apply to Mark. You might as well say that Mark is a guy and the other 300 game winners were guys so ipso facto Mark has a chance.


But that was never the point. People are saying he doesn't have a lot of wins for his age, and my point was among the guys who have won 300 games, he's clearly within the range that they were at. He is the most likely right now among current players. Likely? I would say he has probably around a 20% chance of getting to 300 wins, but that is high enough to keep an eye on him.

Again of the guys to make it to 300 wins since 1920 he is absolutely in the range of wins that they were in. That is the point...people like to argue pace in this discussion but it's not the guys who have great 20's that make it to 300, it's the guys who have great 30s that make it to 300, and prior to even their age 30 season, their win total isn't that big of a deal...

Mark Buerhle had 135 wins in his age 30 season...here are again, the 300 game winners in the modern era, and their win totals before age 30.

Rk          Player   W
                      
1       Tom Seaver 168
2      Greg Maddux 165
3    Roger Clemens 163
4       Don Sutton 155
5    Steve Carlton 148
6       Nolan Ryan 141
7      Tom Glavine 139
8     Warren Spahn 108
9       Early Wynn 101
10   Gaylord Perry  95
11   Randy Johnson  81
12     Phil Niekro  54
13     Lefty Grove  28 


Here is the win totals of these guys post their age 30 season.

Rk           Player   W
                       
1       Phil Niekro 287
2      Warren Spahn 277
3     Gaylord Perry 238
4     Randy Johnson 235
5        Early Wynn 217
6       Lefty Grove 213
7       Greg Maddux 205
8     Roger Clemens 202
9        Nolan Ryan 202
10    Steve Carlton 196
11       Don Sutton 185
12      Tom Glavine 181
13       Tom Seaver 165 


Again.... 300 winners win 300 games because of their post 30 career, not their pre-30 career.
   66. cardsfanboy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:04 AM (#4754179)
Now of course there is an argument to be made that he isn't keeping pace with the 300 game winners from age 30-35...
His record is 74-61 (.548) right now with the likelihood of finishing just at 80 wins or so considering what he does over the rest of the season. Which would still put him at the lower half(bottom) of the 300 game winners historically speaking.


Rk          Player   W  L W-L%
                              
1      Lefty Grove 136 47 .743
2    Gaylord Perry 122 87 .584
3       Early Wynn 118 67 .638
4     Warren Spahn 117 77 .603
5    Steve Carlton 116 64 .644
6      Greg Maddux 107 53 .669
7      Tom Glavine 100 50 .667
8       Tom Seaver  99 54 .647
9      Phil Niekro  99 80 .553
10   Randy Johnson  92 32 .742
11      Don Sutton  91 62 .595
12      Nolan Ryan  83 70 .542
13   Roger Clemens  81 52 .609 
   67. theboyqueen Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:09 AM (#4754181)
Beurhle (sic) works incredibly fast, this year during a game against the phillies where he faced cliff lee the entire game was over in just over 2 hours, and 7 runs were scored


In 2003 Buehrle and Mulder went head to head three times. Game times were 1:54, 1:49 (in a 6-0 game), and 1:53.
   68. Walt Davis Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:16 AM (#4754186)
To toss another log onto the bonfire ....

Yes, Buehrle is at 186 through 34, possibly "low" for a modern 300-game winner.

But many of those guys sailed well past 300. Sutton won another 107 games, leaving Buehrle just short. Glavine only 97, leaving him even shorter. But Ryan won 135, way more than Buehrle needs. Perry won 137, again more. Not good comps obviously but the other three recent guys all had win totals that would put Buehrle over the line (Maddux barely).

Obviously it's unlikely. The point is that it's always unlikely and very few make it without lasting as an effective pitcher through their early 40s. Buehrle's win total through age 34 is not low relative to pitchers who have made it to 300 wins.

In the expansion era, 8 non-knuckler pitchers have had at least 114 wins from age 35 on. This includes Moyer (180), John (134) and Wells (133). Dennis Martinez (108), Sutton (107) and Rogers (105) came up just short of what Buehrle needs. That seems like a bunch of Buehrle type pitchers. The only expansion era 300 winners that didn't win at least 100 games from 35 on were Glavine (97) and Seaver (76).

Of expansion era pitchers with between 170 and 200 wins through age 34 (Buehrle in the middle), there are 20. Two made it to 300 ... Ryan with 3 more wins than Buehrle and Perry with 9 fewer. The downside for Buehrle there is that those are relative old farts. Among more contemporary guys, Mussina 199, Halladay 188, Pettitte 186 didn't make it. And probably CC (208) won't either.
   69. cardsfanboy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 02:30 AM (#4754188)
But many of those guys sailed well past 300. Sutton won another 107 games, leaving Buehrle just short. Glavine only 97, leaving him even shorter. But Ryan won 135, way more than Buehrle needs. Perry won 137, again more. Not good comps obviously but the other three recent guys all had win totals that would put Buehrle over the line (Maddux barely).


I was going to at least point to Maddux, who was by far the farthest ahead of the group, but also won 355 games in his career.

In fact, with the data I have presented, the argument against Buehrle is not his record today, it's his post 30 record. At this point in time, his win record in his 30's is the least of any 300 game winner(modern division) This is often times indicative of a guy fading(mind you, I fully acknowledge that wins is not a true indicator of quality, but since this is what we are talking about, this is the stat that matters in this type of discussion)
now there is no evidence he is fading, his inning pitched total over the past 9 years is pretty consistently in the 200 ip range, his era+ hasn't dropped below 100 in that time frame(and is having a pretty great year this year) his whip and other rate numbers are still at his career norms etc... but still it's an argument against his chances.... (of course reality itself is an argument against his chances)

   70. shoewizard Posted: July 19, 2014 at 05:41 AM (#4754202)
Keeping with the theme of doing the little things right, here is one more to throw on the wood pile. Wild pitch

Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2014, (requiring IP<=3300 and At least 2700 Innings Pitched), sorted by smallest Wild Pitches

Rk                Player  WP     IP
1           Lew Burdette  23 3067.1
2           Mark Buehrle  26 3009.0
3       Dennis Eckersley  28 3285.2
4          Bartolo Colon  41 2705.1
5        Livan Hernandez  41 3189.0
6           Billy Pierce  48 3296.2
7              Rick Wise  49 3127.1
8             Dave Stieb  51 2895.1
9           Danny Darwin  52 3016.2
10          Mike Cuellar  53 2808.0
11             Bob Welch  55 3092.0
12             Jim Perry  55 3285.2
13          Roy Halladay  56 2749.1
14         Larry Jackson  56 3262.2
15             Bob Lemon  58 2756.0
16           CC Sabathia  59 2821.1
17          Dave McNally  59 2730.0
18           Bob Knepper  60 2708.0
19        Pedro Martinez  62 2827.1
20        Kevin Millwood  67 2720.1
21        Curt Schilling  72 3261.0
22           Whitey Ford  75 3170.1
23        Javier Vazquez  76 2840.0
24         Dwight Gooden  76 2800.2
25            Tim Hudson  80 2932.2
Rk                Player  WP     IP
26         Mike Flanagan  84 2770.0
27           Frank Viola  86 2836.1
28        Camilo Pascual  86 2930.2
29          Steve Rogers  87 2837.2
30         Mark Langston  89 2962.2
31            Bob Forsch  93 2794.2
32           Milt Pappas  97 3186.0
33          Ken Holtzman  98 2867.1
34           Mike Torrez 103 3043.2
35           Mike Morgan 105 2772.1
36           Kevin Brown 108 3256.1
37   Fernando Valenzuela 119 2930.0
38         Tom Candiotti 120 2725.0
39        Orel Hershiser 121 3130.1
40          Chuck Finley 130 3197.1
41         Tim Wakefield 134 3226.1
42            Mike Moore 135 2831.2
43            David Cone 149 2898.2 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/19/2014.
   71. DanG Posted: July 19, 2014 at 01:15 PM (#4754322)
[65]
I would say he has probably around a 20% chance of getting to 300 wins, but that is high enough to keep an eye on him.
After last season, Mr. James' formula gave these as the top ten with a chance for 300 wins:

30% J Verlander
21% CC Sabathia
20% C Kershaw
16% F Hernandez
11% C Lee
10% A Pettitte
10% J Shields
6 % A Wainwright
4 % M Buehrle
4 % AJ Burnett
   72. Starlin of the Slipstream (TRHN) Posted: July 19, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4754377)
That reminded me of Bill James' NBJHBA comment on Orel Hershiser and how crummy he and Nolan Ryan were at the stuff Buehrle is good at, as measured by the Index of Self-Destructive Acts. It's WP, HBP, errors, and balks per 9 innings.

For Buehrle, it's 26 WP + 70 HBP + 19 errors + 15 Balks = 130/3009 IP X 9 = .39.

That is likely a very good score. For reference, James had Robin Roberts as the all-time best at .23 and David Cone as the worst at .96, Ryan was second worst at .93. Buehrle's primary weakness appears to be the HBP.
   73. cardsfanboy Posted: July 19, 2014 at 04:43 PM (#4754424)
30% J Verlander
21% CC Sabathia
20% C Kershaw
16% F Hernandez
11% C Lee
10% A Pettitte
10% J Shields
6 % A Wainwright
4 % M Buehrle
4 % AJ Burnett


The problem with the favorite toy, is, it's just a pacing thing, it's not really a historical prediction or based upon anything other than pace(and recent success--and an aging curve) For pitchers as I have argued on this thread, making 300 wins doesn't have as much to do with what you do prior to your age 30 season, but almost entirely what you do after. Any pitcher that qualifies as a team ace/number two and stays healthy through their 30's will be a legitimate candidate for 300 wins, nearly regardless of when they got their start in the majors.

I will take Buehrle having more career wins than everyone on that list.
   74. shoewizard Posted: July 19, 2014 at 08:53 PM (#4754544)
Guys that dont have too many wild pitches, sb allowed and have good sb %'. i.e. Control running game , ranked by war. Then look at gidp and pickoffs. Thats the difference in this class of pitchers, in additionto his defense


Spanning Multiple Seasons or entire Careers, From 1947 to 2014, (For this search only years since 1951 available), (requiring WP<=50, stolen_base_perc<=70, SB<=100, SOp9<=7 and At least 2500 Innings Pitched), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

Rk            Player  WAR WP SBSB  SO9     IP   W   L W-L%  ERA  FIP ERAGDP  CS PO
1       Mark Buehrle 58.8 26 43
58 5.18 3009.0 196 148 .570 3.79 4.12  119 325  77 94
2       Billy Pierce 49.2 38 37
40 5.49 2850.1 189 138 .578 3.12 3.37  123 210  68 13
3      Bartolo Colon 45.2 41 55
66 6.79 2710.1 197 136 .592 3.95 4.07  112 256  53 13
4    John Candelaria 40.1 28 43
80 5.96 2525.2 177 122 .592 3.33 3.41  114 183 106 14
5       Curt Simmons 38.2 29 59
99 4.38 2823.1 164 152 .519 3.43 3.45  114 233  68  6
6           Vern Law 26.0 37 57
59 3.66 2544.0 155 138 .529 3.71 3.68  102 226  44  9
7       Lew Burdette 25.8 23 52
67 3.15 3066.0 203 144 .585 3.65 3.68   99 324  62  1 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/20/2014.
   75. DanG Posted: July 20, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4754712)
The problem with the favorite toy
This is based on a very different formula than the Favorite toy. Having said that, it ignores individual circumstance, being a one-size-fits-all formula.

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