3 pitching workhorses died during the making of this article.
Lucky would be winning the lottery. Meeting an engaging super-model in the supermarket checkout line. Having an off day on the road line up with an offer to play Pebble Beach.
But winning 13 games, as a rookie, for a team playing in the American League East?
“Yea, I just got lucky on the mound,” Jeremy Hellickson says dryly. “A lot of lucky outs.”
...The premise is based on a sabermetric calculation, called BABIP, which stands for batting average on balls in play, something essentially out of the pitcher’s control. The theory is that since Hellickson had such a low number — a major-league best .223, nearly 70 points below the league norm — he was more lucky than good.
“I hear it; it’s funny,” Hellickson said, not quite sure of the acronym. “I thought that’s what we’re supposed to do, let them put it in play and get outs. So I don’t really understand that. When you have a great defense, why not let them do their job? I’m not really a strikeout pitcher; I just get weak contact and let our defense play.”
...And that translates to the statistic that Hellickson feels matters the most.
“Wins are by far the most important stat,” he said. “You have a terrible day out there but as long as you win, you’re fine.”