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   1. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:14 AM (#2080582)
I just got back from the game, and Pedro's reaction was awesome, as were the "Who's your daddy?" chants that started in the bottom of the third. All in all, it was a great bit of closure on the career of the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history.
   2. Darren Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:26 AM (#2080596)
All in all, it was a great bit of closure on the career of the greatest pitcher in Red Sox history.

Ha ha ha, very funny.
   3. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:10 AM (#2080629)
It's especially funny because I know what you look like.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:15 AM (#2080631)
I'm glad to see Beckett doing well in his minor-league rehab assignment.
   5. Xander Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:23 AM (#2080641)
I'm glad to see Beckett doing well in his minor-league rehab assignment.

Haha. That's actually pretty funny.

Take it FWIW, but something seemed to click in Beckett's last inning against Atlanta. Even in that game, he was getting bailed out by a terrible offensive team. But in the 6th, his breaking ball became sharp and he was hitting his spots for the first time all game. He even said something about it in an interview after the game. IIRC, all he needed was to do was slow down his delivery. The homeruns are still a problem, but they have come at pretty harmless times in the last two outings.
   6. Joel W Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:54 AM (#2080682)
When did Josh Beckett change his name to Javy Vazquez?
   7. Xander Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:56 AM (#2080683)
Javy Seen Vazquez Pitch?
   8. odds are meatwad is drunk Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:03 AM (#2080686)
i cant believe that sox fans would chant somethign they all seemed to hate to their greatest pitcher they have ever seen in their unis
   9. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 11:20 AM (#2080740)
It was pretty clearly a joking chant, didn't get started until we WERE his daddy, and you know what? He's the opposition now. I was the strongest "Cheer Pedro" supporter around, but to do anything but taunt an opposing pitcher, once the game is underway, would be poor fansmanship.
   10. Dr. Vaux Posted: June 29, 2006 at 11:22 AM (#2080741)
Ridiculous.
   11. scotto Posted: June 29, 2006 at 01:48 PM (#2080815)
i cant believe that sox fans would chant somethign they all seemed to hate to their greatest pitcher they have ever seen in their unis

Did you watch the game, Meat? Did you watch the ovation he got in the previous game? No? Right.

Pedro got the love he wanted, and deserved. Then when he got banged around, he got the treatment the opposing team gets at Fenway. He knows Boston.

Do you?
   12. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:02 PM (#2080819)
If you can't beat the team, beat up the fans.
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:08 PM (#2080822)
i cant believe that sox fans would chant somethign they all seemed to hate to their greatest pitcher they have ever seen in their unis
Sox fans cheered Pedro. This criticism is insane - you cheer like crazy before the game starts, but not afterward. And if you can't see the irony in the "Who's Your Daddy" chants, you need to get your humor recalibrated.

Personally, I was rooting for Pedro even after the game started, but I certainly don't expect the same from non-extreme fanboys. I was kinda surprised at myself, actually.
   14. scotto Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:17 PM (#2080826)
Personally, I was rooting for Pedro even after the game started, but I certainly don't expect the same from non-extreme fanboys.

Yah, me too. I was surprised to see how low his arm slot was and how little velocity he was getting on his fastball. It wasn't the Pedro that lives in my memory, or who appeared in that brief and (IMHO) lame video montage with the absolutely crappy music that NESN kicked off its broadcast with. Whoever produced that deserves major taunting.

But the cheers that he got the previous evening, plus just seeing him take the Fenway mound in another uniform, made me a little misty.
   15. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:26 PM (#2080831)
I was rooting for Pedro once the game started, too. Once it got out of hand, though, I was among those chanting "PEY-dro!", and I'd do it again in a second.
   16. Addicted To Glove Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:37 PM (#2080836)
To me, it seemed like Pedro's mind wasn't all there last night. The biggest example I saw was the tailor-made 1-6-3 ball that Ortiz hit in the first. It's not like Pedro to not be in the game to the point of forgetting the shift was on.

That was a big surprise to me. It was almost like he cared more about the fan reaction than about his performance.
   17. Toby Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:39 PM (#2080839)
I love Pedro as much as the next guy but I continue to be glad we didn't give him four years.
   18. tfbg9 Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:43 PM (#2080843)
I was one of those guys who were hoping Perdo went 8, struck out 10, gave up no runs, but Beckett would blank the Lets-Gos, go nine and K 15 for the win as Alex Cora hit a two out pinch HR of Wagner to win it for him.

I heard Gammo was in good condition? All prayers...
   19. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:44 PM (#2080844)
The Sox really teed off on Martinez

I think there were just 3 well hit balls. Gonzalez hit the 2B and HR and Lowell hit an HR. But Youkilis' 2B in the first should have been caught, but was misjudged by Beltran (he caught a similar ball late in the game) - and obviously Lowell's FB was routine that Milledge dropped.
   20. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:50 PM (#2080850)
Gonzalez didn't have a double, and Lowell didn't have a HR. Lowell's double didn't look that routine to me, it was a well hit ball. And most of the singles were pretty solid liners.
   21. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:50 PM (#2080851)
Before I get called on my pedantry, Lowell didn't have a double, of course. I meant his reached on error.
   22. tfbg9 Posted: June 29, 2006 at 02:57 PM (#2080856)
*listed in good condition*
   23. chris p Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:00 PM (#2080859)
fly, it's pretty clear that dial was watching a different game than the rest of us.
   24. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:02 PM (#2080860)
But that's not really news, is it chris?
   25. Chip Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:04 PM (#2080864)
Also, Youkilis didn't have a double in the first. It was a line drive single. Followed by Loretta's line drive single. So Pedro was giving up good contact out of the box. He recovered to get the blown double play ball, and of course Milledge dropped the fly ball later in the inning, but Pedro's location and stuff was generally awful.

The Youkilis double referred to, the one that Beltran misplayed didn't happen last night. It was in game one, off Soler. As was the similar fly ball that Beltran played better.
   26. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:12 PM (#2080871)
As was the Lowell HR, of course. I think Dial just caught a tape of game 1.
   27. chris p Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:14 PM (#2080874)
I think Dial just caught a tape of game 1.

but then you should still conclude that the red sox hit the crap out of the ball.
   28. Josh Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:21 PM (#2080882)
Did this thread enter the twilight zone?
   29. Addicted To Glove Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:37 PM (#2080892)
Nope, BBTF may be a dimension of sight and sound, but it is definately not a dimension of mind. :-)
   30. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2006 at 03:46 PM (#2080904)
I love Pedro as much as the next guy but I continue to be glad we didn't give him four years.


The 2nd part of that sentence makes the 1st part false.
   31. Toby Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:53 PM (#2080986)
how so?
   32. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2006 at 04:59 PM (#2080990)
I think one can love Pedro with legitimate ardor and yet mistakenly believe in his impending mediocrity. I think Toby can legitimately feel that way.

I remain constantly at a loss as to how everyone can believe in Pedro's impending mediocrity when it's never, you know, happened in actual reality. But I don't need to have that debate again.
   33. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:35 PM (#2081028)
I thought my statement was self evident but let me re-phrase. If you loved Pedro as much as the next guy, you wouldnt be glad that we didnt give him four years. The next guy really loves Pedro.
   34. karlmagnus Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:38 PM (#2081035)
Pedro has an ERA+ of 148 last year, but that looks a bit of a fluke due to new hitters not knowing his stuff. I'd expect 180IP at 125 for this year and next year, with a dropoff in 08 (year 4 of his contract) to 120 at 120. That's not "mediocre" but the injury issues become a problem if you're paying him $13mm/year and expecting him to be your #1. As a somewhat unreliable #2, he's fine. Since he's better than Clement and Wells, even when the latter are fit, the Sox should probably have re-signed him, though it's a close call. However, Beckett's more useful (have we locked him up yet?) and by '08 Pedro would probably be behind both Lester and Papelbon, as well (in value, below Wakefield, who's still not as good but gets injured less.)

If he retires in 2009 with 240 wins, I'd have thought he was a sure 1st ballot HOFer, however many wins Glavine ends up with. They let in Koufax, and Pedro had a better peak than Koufax and has lasted longer.
   35. Toby Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:49 PM (#2081055)
I love the Sox, and I love that they show some fiscal discipline, more than I love Pedro, and I'm pretty sure the next guy feels that way too.
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:54 PM (#2081061)
Karl, yeah that 148 ERA+ really looks like a fluke... Just jumps out at you when you look at his stat page.

//throws empty bottle of cran-raspberry juice
   37. Addicted To Glove Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:55 PM (#2081063)
Wow, I just looked at B-Ref, and if you compare ERA+, there is no comparison between Pedro and Koufax.

Pedro - Best year: 285(!) Best 3-year average: 239 Career: 166
Koufax - Best year: 190 Best 3-year average: 175 Career: 131
   38. The Artist Posted: June 29, 2006 at 05:59 PM (#2081068)
You do not want to get me started on Pedro/Koufax comparisons. Another board I frequented (the OOTP boards) were the setting for just this arguement (that Pedro is in fact the pitcher people believe Koufax was), and dear god - the old guys (one crank in particular) simply would not accept it - the old "I saw Koufax with my eyes" arguement.
   39. scotto Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:02 PM (#2081073)
I've said it before and I'll say it again, any way you look at it Pedro in 2000 may be the best pitching season evah.
   40. Sam M. Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:04 PM (#2081076)
He recovered to get the blown double play ball, and of course Milledge dropped the fly ball later in the inning, but Pedro's location and stuff was generally awful.

That's a fair description, I think. It was his worst outing of the year, remember. He's not the Pedro of a half-dozen years ago, I think we all understand that, and THIS Pedro is going to have nights like that. But if any of you really think that was a fair representation of Pedro's 2006 stuff generally, you really aren't paying close enough attention. That is especially true when it comes to location -- he is usually much more able to hit his spots with precision with all his pitches, and that is his great advantage. It doesn't really shock me that, given all the emotion and distraction surrounding last night, he didn't have his fine edge & concentration. Surprised me last night, just because it's Pedro and I thought he'd find a way. But in hindsight, maybe we all should have expected that. And his pure stuff was off, too: not velocity (though that was down a bit) so much as bite on his breaking pitches. That's where his stuff was letting him down. So all in all, he was not only not the Pedro of 1999/2000; he wasn't the Pedro of 2006. Which is why I'm not really worried about him. -- I think there's good reason to toss that one out as pretty unique. Besides, hey . . . if we have to worry about Pedro, we're in big trouble anyway.

All in all, it showed that Pedro is a great pitcher still, but one with a lot less margin for error than the one who could dominate even with 75% (or less, perhaps?) of his best stuff in his prime. Even now, when he's on top of his game, Pedro is as good a # 1 as there is in baseball. If you doubt it, check out this gem against the Yankees. Against top-shelf opposition, though, he has to be at his best. Especially when that opposition is hot as blazes, as the Sox are.
   41. Sam M. Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:10 PM (#2081082)
Wow, I just looked at B-Ref, and if you compare ERA+, there is no comparison between Pedro and Koufax.

Pedro - Best year: 285(!) Best 3-year average: 239 Career: 166
Koufax - Best year: 190 Best 3-year average: 175 Career: 131


Look at innings, though. That is the argument for Koufax: value. Not saying I buy it, but that's the argument. How much more valuable is that 190 ERA+ when the guy is throwing 325 innings, compared to a guy throwing more 100 innings less than that? And it's harder for a great pitcher to produce a high ERA+ in a low-run environment -- you can only go "so low," and you can only be so much lower than a really low league average.

I don't have any doubt that if you offered me Koufax's best year and Pedro's best year, I'd take Koufax's, until/unless I knew how I was going to fill up those extra 100 innings. Bird in the hand, and all that.
   42. chris p Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:13 PM (#2081088)
I love the Sox, and I love that they show some fiscal discipline, more than I love Pedro, and I'm pretty sure the next guy feels that way too.

hehe. no. see, the next guy really loves pedro.
   43. PJ Martinez Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:18 PM (#2081098)
I love Pedro, he's still very good, and he would fill a massive need for the Sox.

That said, I think it was better _for Pedro_ to go to the Mets, face weaker competition without the DH in a pitcher's park, and rejuvenate a then-floundering franchise in a great baseball town, to rouse fans in a place looking for an ace to cheer, rather than to midly disappoint a spoiled fan base, who had seen him at his (and the world's) best, and had partly turned against him due to his occasional petulance.

In other words, I like Pedro so much that I'm glad he left the Sox for the Mets. I still root for him.
   44. Toby Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:28 PM (#2081107)
well said, PJ.
   45. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:32 PM (#2081111)
All in all, it showed that Pedro is a great pitcher still, but one with a lot less margin for error than the one who could dominate even with 75% (or less, perhaps?) of his best stuff in his prime.
Less. Much less.

Game 5, 1999 ALDS. Pitching with tweaked mechanics due to a back injury, Pedro was unable find the feel for his changeup. he had lost 5-7 mph on his fastball, and his command was not as good as usual. He threw 6 no-hit innings against hte best offense in the world in a win-or-go-home game, working mainly off the curveball, his third best offering. It was the greatest pitching performance in history.

As to the Kaufax thing, I think that we just don't know enough about how workload works and how much the game has changed in terms of pitching to make hte comparison really fit. I'd rather have Pedro, because he is teh awesomeness.

In other words, I like Pedro so much that I'm glad he left the Sox for the Mets. I still root for him.
Huh. I guess I'm more selfish in my fanboyism.

While I agree that the Mets seem to be the better destination for Pedro, I don't get to go see him play whenever I want to (and feel like dropping the cash, of course.) I'm not willing to make that trade - especially because the Red Sox would be better with Pedro on the staff, and they would have won the division outright last year.
   46. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:34 PM (#2081114)
well said, PJ.
I don't follow at all. Your argument above was that the Sox were right to show fiscal discipline and that Pedro would not be worth it. PJM argued that Pedro would be worth it, but it's better for him to be in New York. You guys disagree on just about everything.
   47. The Artist Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:35 PM (#2081117)


I don't have any doubt that if you offered me Koufax's best year and Pedro's best year, I'd take Koufax's, until/unless I knew how I was going to fill up those extra 100 innings. Bird in the hand, and all that.


No way. Pedro in 1999 pitched 213 innings with a K/BB ratio of .... 10. That's right - 10. He struck out 313, and walked 37, and had an ERA+ of 245. He was 8th in the league in innings, which is why the duration arugement doesn't hold as much weight for me. He lead the league in K/9, and was still second in the league in BB/9 - and gave only 9 HR - playing half his games in Fenway. Koufax's had three,300 IP + seasons - With an ERA+ of 161,160, and 190 - moreover, this was in the 1960's - a depressed offensive environment, to say the least. Moreover, Koufax gave up twice as many HR than Pedro (1963, 1965, or 1966 to Pedro 1999 comparisons) and his control was not even close to being as good as Pedro's (to say nothing of his K rate).Morever, I think Steve Treder (or someone else at THT) did a study pointing out that some of the differences in IP can be explained by the fact that the innings require more pitches today.

However you slice it, Pedro's best is better than Koufax' best, as is his peak and career value. I'll reiterate - Pedro is the pitcher today that people believe Koufax was back then.
   48. John DiFool2 Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:37 PM (#2081121)
If you are going to ignore era effects (not ERA effects) then you are indeed ignoring a lot.
I'm sure Pedro would have pitched more innings per year in the 60's, but there's several
other things to consider as well. Has anyone ever done a study comparing how hard it is for
an elite pitcher to drive his ERA+ higher in a low-run era vs. a high run era? I suspect
that it is true, based on the things the offense needs to do to score a run (said relationships
likely are NOT linear, while ERA+ assumes it is linear).
   49. Raskolnikov Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:39 PM (#2081124)
I love the Sox, and I love that they show some fiscal discipline, more than I love Pedro, and I'm pretty sure the next guy feels that way too.


At what point does a player reach a level with the fan base that his value exceeds the normal pay-for-production scale? I would imagine that Pedro would qualify to some extent towards that type of picture. Bird towards the end of his days was overpaid in a certain sense. Jordan was probably underpaid even at his salary. One of the toughest parts of any payroll projection, I would argue, is trying to determine whether someone is worth it given our limited metrics or tools.
   50. Sam M. Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#2081133)
He was 8th in the league in innings, which is why the duration arugement doesn't hold as much weight for me.

I don't care where he ranked in the league in innings; the fact is, it was 100 fewer innings. Someone else has to pitch those innings. If it's a guy with a 4.50 ERA, that's going to be a huge dropoff.

But I DO care about your other argument -- which is very persuasive. This one:

I think Steve Treder (or someone else at THT) did a study pointing out that some of the differences in IP can be explained by the fact that the innings require more pitches today.

Now, you've got something. Because I can see the argument for calculating the value not in terms of how many innings of X ERA+ pitching each guy is giving you, but how many pitches he's throwing for you. Not sure I buy it -- each game is measured in outs, after all, and innings are just collections of three outs -- but it has some merit.

Put it this way: In Pedro's best year, he started (and pitched in) 29 games. That's 29 games he influenced, almost all to the Red Sox great benefit, in 2000. In Koufax's best ERA+ year, he started (and pitched in) 41 games. That's 12 extra games he influenced, almost all to the Dodgers' great benefit in 1966. Come on. Let's be fair about this; even if Pedro wins -- which I agree he does -- that's got to make up some of the ERA+ difference. It just has to. Those games and innings have genuine value for the "old-time" pitchers.

So too does the other point I made, which is that it's harder to be relatively lower than the average in a low-run environment.

Like I said, I agree with the consensus that Pedro was the greater pitcher at his peak. But it's not as one-sided as a simple side-by-side of the ERA+ numbers suggests.
   51. Ozzie's gay friend Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#2081135)
I pray that the sox will resign pedro in 2009 to pitch once a week on sundays.
   52. Raskolnikov Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:46 PM (#2081136)
I've never thought that Koufax was in Pedro's league as a pitcher. And I've yet to read anything that has convinced me otherwise.
   53. DCA Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:51 PM (#2081141)
No way. Pedro in 1999 pitched 213 innings with a K/BB ratio of .... 10. That's right - 10. He struck out 313, and walked 37, and had an ERA+ of 245. He was 8th in the league in innings, which is why the duration arugement doesn't hold as much weight for me.

This is one of the main reasons I think Maddux 1994 was the best pitching I've ever seen. His ERA+ was 273, basically the same as Pedro's best. He not only lead the league in ERA+ (by 120), he also led the league in IP (by 23, or nearly an inning per start). He also led the league in H/9, HR/9, WHIP, W, CG, ShO, and was third in K/BB and BB/9.

In addition, it was the middle year of a three year streak during which time he led the league in IP, ERA+, and WHIP every year.
   54. karlmagnus Posted: June 29, 2006 at 06:58 PM (#2081148)
Pedro's best year was 217IP at 285, Koufax's 323 at 190. If you assume the additional 106 IP was made by a replacement level pitcher with an ERA+ of 80, then the Pedro = replacement combination would have an ERA+ of 217, still better than Koufax. Since seasons 3,5,8 and 10 in ERA+ were thrown during the dead ball era and 7 was Gibson in '68, I don't buy the "it's easier in a high run scoring envionment" argument.
   55. Sam M. Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:08 PM (#2081157)
If you assume the additional 106 IP was made by a replacement level pitcher with an ERA+ of 80, then the Pedro = replacement combination would have an ERA+ of 217, still better than Koufax.

Exactly! Better than Koufax -- but not better by the margin 285-190 would suggest. My own view is that it's somewhere in between that 95 point rout and that 27 point difference (the replacement-level assumption being too generous to Koufax).

People really should take a moment to think about how astonishing it is to compile a 190 ERA+ in 323 innings. I would posit (just a theory here, so cut me some slack) that there's a parallel to be drawn here to the difference between relief pitchers (especially one-inning specialists) and starters. A closer can save all his "stuff" for one inning, and thus dominate -- so we expect him, if he's really great, to have a stratospheric ERA+, right? It ought to be better than any starter, even a terrific one; starters tire, have to face batters a third, or fourth time, etc. Well, Koufax pitching that many innings was pitching more "tired" innings, he was facing batters late in games, he was having to conserve stuff to a degree Pedro didn't have to. The effect shouldn't be as dramatic, but still. To post those numbers, in THAT many innings, is some hell of a thing.

Talk up Pedro all you want; I'm with you all the way. But when I catch a whiff of denigration of Sandy Koufax in the comments, I just have to get my back up, even if I do feel like a bit of an old fart when I do it.
   56. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:13 PM (#2081166)
Every time the Pedro/Koufax comparison has come up on SoSH, many of old-timers completely freak out. One guy filled my inbox with obscenity-laden messages about it. Any thoughts that Pedro was better than Koufax is poison to them.

I can't imagine why that would be the case, since there's pretty clearly a discernable superiority for Pedro over Koufax in many of the ways discussed here, but Koufax is a sacred cow for many, many folks.
   57. The Artist Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2081168)

Every time the Pedro/Koufax comparison has come up on SoSH, many of old-timers completely freak out. One guy filled my inbox with obscenity-laden messages about it. Any thoughts that Pedro was better than Koufax is poison to them.

I can't imagine why that would be the case, since there's pretty clearly a discernable superiority for Pedro over Koufax in many of the ways discussed here, but Koufax is a sacred cow for many, many folks.


Yup - same point I made in #38 - and I think "sacred cow" is the correct term. In the debate I was referring to, these are people who are sabremetrically aligned, or at least have some understanding of this - but Koufax, they insist, is absolutely untouchable. They're more caught up in their memories of greatness than the factuality of it - something I can't blame people for per se, but doesn't exactly make for a good arguement.
   58. Toby Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:28 PM (#2081180)
MCoA,

PJM did not argue that Pedro was a good value over four years, just that Pedro is still good right now. I agree that Pedro is still good right now and it would be nice to still have him.

At the same time, I also agree with PJM that it's better for Pedro to be thrilling Mets fans than disappointing the excessive expectations of Sox fans.
   59. bunyon Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:30 PM (#2081182)
This is one of the main reasons I think Maddux 1994 was the best pitching I've ever seen. His ERA+ was 273, basically the same as Pedro's best. He not only lead the league in ERA+ (by 120), he also led the league in IP (by 23, or nearly an inning per start). He also led the league in H/9, HR/9, WHIP, W, CG, ShO, and was third in K/BB and BB/9.

In addition, it was the middle year of a three year streak during which time he led the league in IP, ERA+, and WHIP every year.


I'm a huge Maddux fan, but it should be noted that two of those three years weren't full seasons. That isn't a huge knock but it is worth noting. Which is a shame. Just as I'd like to see what Gwynn would've done in 1994, so would I like to have seen Maddux's full 1994.
   60. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:31 PM (#2081185)
That's what happened to me at SoSH once or twice, too.

If you want to argue raw value, then the Pedro/Koufax debate comes down to a debate about the exact skill of a replacement-level pitcher. That always seemed like a valid, but boring argument. In terms of value, both sides have a point.

The interesting question, to me, is about who was better. What would they have done in the other's context? What did they do to specifically take advantage of their context? It's not a definitively answerable question, but it's more interesting, and I think it's what most actually care about.
   61. Dizzypaco Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:40 PM (#2081198)
Most people on this website, when evaluating pitchers, look at only two things: Innings pitched and ERA+. That's it. We'll I guess some people look at peripherals as well, but its the same idea. And it works for most pitchers.

Once in a while, there is a pitchers who wins more or less often than would be predicted by his ERA+, innings pitched, and run support. Its hard to know how to deal with this, so most people on BTF just ignore it altogether.

From everything I have seen, Koufax was one of these pitchers. Koufax cannot be evaluated by innings pitched and ERA+ alone. If he did win more than his share of low scoring close games, then it is very relevant to his value - and I believe he did. And it is for this reason that I think so many people sabremetric types underrate Koufax.

If anyone has data showing that Koufax's win/loss records are entirely a result of his ERA+ and his run support, I'll change my mind.
   62. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:48 PM (#2081210)
From everything I have seen, Koufax was one of these pitchers. Koufax cannot be evaluated by innings pitched and ERA+ alone. If he did win more than his share of low scoring close games, then it is very relevant to his value - and I believe he did. And it is for this reason that I think so many people sabremetric types underrate Koufax.


But weren't his games low-scoring and close because of the horribly stunted offensive environment he pitched in?

He pitched in Dodger Stadium, the best pitcher's park in baseball, on a mound 12 feet high, in the 60s, where run-scoring was already at a near-historic low. How much extra credit does Koufax get for his circumstances?
   63. tfbg9 Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2081230)
Koufax had an insanely great record, W-L-wise, when the LAD's got him 3 or 2 or 1 run to work with, during his years of greatness. I think its in the Old Historical Abstract. I think he was able to be an .800 pitcher even in games of that sort...something like that-I can't look it up because I'm at the office. But I remember it was a remarkable record-one that strongly hinted at being able to "pitch to the scoreboard" in reverse. Anybody got the OBJHBA handy?
   64. Addicted To Glove Posted: June 29, 2006 at 07:58 PM (#2081231)
As to the value of more innings at a lower ERA+, I would offer the fact that over the course of their careers, Pedro has pitched 2513 career innings at 166 ERA+ while Koufax pitched 2324 innings at 131 ERA+. That tells me that over the course of their careers, Pedro has been more valuable than Koufax.
   65. Sam M. Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:00 PM (#2081233)
That tells me that over the course of their careers, Pedro has been more valuable than Koufax.

Agreed. But it doesn't tell us how much more, if any, any one season of Pedro has been compared to any one season of Koufax. No one disagrees that Koufax's career value is massively less because of how short it was.
   66. Dizzypaco Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:01 PM (#2081234)
But weren't his games low-scoring and close because of the horribly stunted offensive environment he pitched in?

He pitched in Dodger Stadium, the best pitcher's park in baseball, on a mound 12 feet high, in the 60s, where run-scoring was already at a near-historic low. How much extra credit does Koufax get for his circumstances?


Its not that he was involved in low scoring close games. Its that he won most of them - more than would be predicted by his ERA and his run support.

Ability to win games, to give up less runs than the other team, is no easier in low scoring environmments than high scoring environments. A 27-10 record is equally impressive no matter how many runs per game is scored on average in that era.

Obviously, you need to consider run support, adjusted for the era. But I do not think we should ignore win loss records, understood in context, because we do not know how to incorporate them into our "systems."
   67. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2081237)
ArthurDent, I'm not sure I agree with you on that one. Taken to an extreme, a pitcher who throws 3000 seasons of relief, in which he throws 1 perfect, 3k inning per season, is not more valuable than Pedro, except to the medical research establishment.
   68. DCA Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:02 PM (#2081238)
Pedro's best year was 217IP at 285, Koufax's 323 at 190. If you assume the additional 106 IP was made by a replacement level pitcher with an ERA+ of 80, then the Pedro = replacement combination would have an ERA+ of 217, still better than Koufax. Since seasons 3,5,8 and 10 in ERA+ were thrown during the dead ball era and 7 was Gibson in '68, I don't buy the "it's easier in a high run scoring envionment" argument.

Seems to me looking at that list of ten that it's easier to have a high ERA+ if you're Walter Johnson, Greg Maddux, or Pedro Martinez. I don't think I'd draw any other conclusion from that data.

How are these for comparison: Pitcher: ERA+ / IP rank for full or near-full seasons above average

Bob Gibson.. 258/3 164/4 149/x 148/4 139/4 136/x 133/x 132/3 127/3 126/3 119/x 110/x 105/9
Kevin Brown 214/6 169/x 167/7 160/2 150/6 148/2 136/x _____ 119/x 116/x 114/1 109/x 100/x

and this actually hurts Brown because he had two half seasons at 152 and 110 (which would fill in the blank spot), and he had bigger leagues than Gibson, which depresses his rank. Yes, I did just say that if you drop their best seasons Kevin Brown was just as good as Bob Gibson.

Sandy Koufax... 190/1 187/x 161/3 160/1 143/4 124/x 104/x 102/x
Randy Johnson* 198/x 196/4 154/7 136/v 135/4 108/x 106/x 104/x (v = 5th in ML)

*circa 1998. If Randy Johnson had retired rather than win 4 CY awards with Arizona, he'd have been about as good as Sandy Koufax, maybe one 160 ERA+ year short. That makes a lot of sense, and folks were saying it at the time.

Don Drysdale. 154/x 149/1 140/5 129/x 128/1 122/4 118/9 117/2 115/2 113/5
Orel Hershiser 172/x 148/1 148/1 133/x 130/1 119/x 116/x 109/x 105/x 104/x

A tale of two Dodgers. Hershiser not giving the innings on the downstream years, but it's a good match overall.
   69. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:03 PM (#2081239)
If he did win more than his share of low scoring close games, then it is very relevant to his value - and I believe he did. And it is for this reason that I think so many people sabremetric types underrate Koufax.

In the first BJHBA, there's a note in the Drysdale comment about Koufax's record in low-scoring games in 1963/64. To summarise, when the Dodgers scored Koufax three runs, he was 9-0. When they scored two runs, he was 6-3. When they scored one run, he was 3-1. In other words, when the Dodgers scored one, two, or three runs for Koufax over a two-year period, he was 18-4.

You can talk all you want about Pedro's ERA+, and if you want to say that Pedro at his peak was a more effective pitcher than Koufax at his peak, I'd agree with you. But we're talking Spitfire and Mustang, or Beatles and Rolling Stones here. There are no losers - only two winners. Koufax is legendary because he was one hell of a pitcher at his peak, who combined extraordinary performance with a grace and class rarely seen in a professional athlete. He may very well be the baseball player I most admire...
   70. Schilling's Sprained Ankiel Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:13 PM (#2081253)
In the first BJHBA, there's a note in the Drysdale comment about Koufax's record in low-scoring games in 1963/64. To summarise, when the Dodgers scored Koufax three runs, he was 9-0. When they scored two runs, he was 6-3. When they scored one run, he was 3-1. In other words, when the Dodgers scored one, two, or three runs for Koufax over a two-year period, he was 18-4.

You can talk all you want about Pedro's ERA+, and if you want to say that Pedro at his peak was a more effective pitcher than Koufax at his peak, I'd agree with you. But we're talking Spitfire and Mustang, or Beatles and Rolling Stones here. There are no losers - only two winners. Koufax is legendary because he was one hell of a pitcher at his peak, who combined extraordinary performance with a grace and class rarely seen in a professional athlete. He may very well be the baseball player I most admire...


Couldn't something similar be constructed for Pedro for comparison purposes? When Bos. scored 1, 2, or 3 runs (or whatever the equivalent # of runs would be now? I'm not a stats guy so be gentle), Pedro went X-Y?
   71. tfbg9 Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:19 PM (#2081257)
Well, there you go...
   72. Josh Posted: June 29, 2006 at 08:59 PM (#2081273)
Until Pedro converts (which I think Theo could have eventually gotten out of him), all of this is moot.
   73. esturminator_CT Posted: June 30, 2006 at 03:23 PM (#2082320)
I'm not as sabermetrically astute as many on this site, and not able (due to time limitations)to frequent all of the stats boards that you guys seem to keep up to date with, but I've always thought that comparing a team's W-L record with their ace on the mound (or any of their starters for that matter) versus that team's W-L record without said pitcher on the mound would be a pretty good comparison of how much that pitcher's performance means to the team. I know that assumes certain things, including that ultimately over the course of an entire season the offensive numbers on average are equivalent for that team regardless of who is on the mound.

Is it possible somewhere to compare winning pct./team winning pct. for Koufax vs. Pedro as a way to compare value of these pitchers at peak and over their careers?
   74. Steve Treder Posted: June 30, 2006 at 03:35 PM (#2082330)
I think Steve Treder (or someone else at THT) did a study pointing out that some of the differences in IP can be explained by the fact that the innings require more pitches today.

No. This is a commonly asserted assumption, but the data don't support it. Using TangoTiger's basic pitch count estimator, here are the estimated MLB pitches/9:

1960 144
61 146
62 145
63 142
64 143
1965 142
66 142
67 141
68 140
69 145
1970 146
71 143
72 142
73 145
74 144
1975 145
76 142
77 145
78 143
79 144
1980 143
81 142
82 144
83 144
84 144
1985 144
86 146
87 147
88 143
89 144
1990 145
91 145
92 144
93 146
94 149
1995 149
96 149
97 149
98 148
99 150
2000 151
01 147
02 147
03 147
04 148
2005 146

This is just an estimator, and might not be exactly correct, of course. But it's the best we have on the question, and it indicates that there have been no more than a small handful more pitches per game in the Pedro era than in the Koufax era.
   75. depletion Posted: June 30, 2006 at 06:27 PM (#2082474)
Regarding Sam's point about Koufax not being able to lower his ERA much lower than the league becuase he was shutting guys out anyway: For ages 25 to 30, 1961-1966 for Koufax, 1997-2002 for Martinez. The ERA's are 2.19 and 2.20 for SK and PM.

GS CG SHO IP RS
SK 170 31 11 1221.3 331
PM 211 115 35 1632.7 224

Every 6 starts Koufax was throwing a shutout. If those 411 innings were pitched by a league average pitcher in PM's time, it would have meant another 211 runs against his team. They're both great pitchers, one could argue about watered down leagues and so forth, but who really cares.
   76. Toby Posted: June 30, 2006 at 06:55 PM (#2082519)
Do you have SK and PM mixed up? It looks like every ~6 starts PM was throwing a shutout. For SK it was every ~15 starts.
   77. depletion Posted: June 30, 2006 at 07:06 PM (#2082533)
Yes, Toby. You found my mistake. The last column is runs saved (IP*lgaERA/9) - ER.
Martinez leads Koufax 331 to 224 here, but if you let a league average pitcher throw the 411 innings pitched differential, then Martinez gives back 211 runs.

....GS..CG SHO....IP...RS
PM 170 31..11 1221.3 331
SK 211 115..35 1632.7 224

Wish this box took tabs..
   78. Chip Posted: June 30, 2006 at 07:17 PM (#2082543)
If you doubt it, check out this gem against the Yankees.

That was a great game, at least until Wagner showed up, but that was also a pretty awful Torre house money lineup (NL rules version) he faced that day. The 5-9 was Cano-Cairo-Cabrera-Stinnett-Mussina. None of them a real HR threat, and none of them even an XBH threat beyond Cano.
   79. dave h Posted: June 30, 2006 at 07:18 PM (#2082545)
Isn't Koufax throwing more innings in part because it's easier to throw an inning in his era? If Pedro is throwing a shutout through 7 innings, he's likely to come out for the 8th. And if scoring were suppressed, he'd be more likely to be throwing a shutout after 7 innings. I think Pedro's rank in innings pitched relative to his peers is what's relevant. That's the whole idea with ERA+, right? Why would it just be limited to ERA?
   80. depletion Posted: June 30, 2006 at 07:41 PM (#2082573)
He's throwing more innings mostly because of 4 man rotations versus 5 man rotations.
And yes, the bullpens are used more now than in the 1960's. But innings pitched help assess how valuable a player is. After all, if a guy pitches 3 shutout innings a year, well, whoopdy-doo. The real point of the post was that gain in value of (lgaERA-ERA) is not linear as lgaERA approaches 0. If the league ERA is 3 you cannot go 3.1 ERA below league average.
   81. DCA Posted: June 30, 2006 at 07:56 PM (#2082599)
The real point of the post was that gain in value of (lgaERA-ERA) is not linear as lgaERA approaches 0.

Which is why we have ERA+, that has nothing to do with innings.

I'm also not sure how you can say that a league average pitcher throwing 411 innings would "give back" 211 runs to Pedro ... by using your statistic (IP*lgaERA/9) - ER, wouldn't a league average pitcher by definition give back 0 runs?
   82. Mattbert Posted: June 30, 2006 at 11:26 PM (#2082816)
Couldn't something similar be constructed for Pedro for comparison purposes? When Bos. scored 1, 2, or 3 runs (or whatever the equivalent # of runs would be now? I'm not a stats guy so be gentle), Pedro went X-Y?
I looked at Pedro's game logs from the 2002 and 2003 seasons on ESPN.com, since those were readily available and easily tabulated. He was 2-0 when the Sox scored 3 runs, 2-1 when they scored 2 runs, and 0-0 when they scored 1 run. That's 4-1 overall, 4-2 if you count a postseason loss to the Yankees in 2003.

At first blush, this data appears to say a lot more about differences in pitcher usage than it does about the relative hawtness of Pedro and Koufax. I didn't tabulate this, but Pedro had what struck me as a very large number of games in which one or both of the following was the case:

(a) He was not the pitcher of record due to his being lifted prior to the outcome being decided in the 8th or 9th inning
(b) He pitched shutout ball or perhaps allowed a single run, and the Red Sox scored 4 runs or more.

It would appear that Koufax had a great many more opportunities to win games in which his team scored 3 runs or fewer, due (unsurprisingly) in large part to the era in which he played.

---

That's what I wrote last night before my browser gave up the ghost (and my post). After looking at 1998-2001 today on Retrosheet, I'm not sure the above is true. Here are the results from all four years:

1998: +3(2-1), +2(2-4), +1(1-1)
1999: +3(3-0), +2(0-2), +1(1-0)
2000: +3(2-0), +2(3-1), +1(1-4)
2001: +3(2-0), +2(1-2), +1(0-1)
TOTAL: +3(9-1), +2(6-9), +1(3-6)

Tonight, I want to go back and look at it more detail. My impression is that Pedro is the anti-Koufax. It seems like he lost a TON of games 3-2 and 2-1, but I'll need to tabulate that before I continue...
   83. Dr. Vaux Posted: July 01, 2006 at 12:37 AM (#2082996)
the horribly wonderfully stunted offensive environment
   84. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: July 01, 2006 at 07:46 AM (#2083319)
You IDIOT Francona

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