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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Will the New “Year of the Pitcher” Crown a New ERA Champion?

To get an idea of deGrom’s probability of finishing with an ERA of 1.12 or better, I worked with a technique I’ve used in the past, which “simulates” a season using Monte Carlo algorithms and a smoothed model of a pitcher’s starts based on their projections and historical usage. At 189.2 innings (what he has in the bag, plus the 22 starts of 6.3 innings per start in his depth chart projections), he needs to allow 23 or fewer runs or a 1.23 ERA for the rest of the season. At 162 total innings, he’d have to maintain a 1.30 ERA the rest of the way.

deGrom’s no slam-dunk to catch Gibson, but he’s got a fighting chance, with my model estimating a 3.1% chance to beat a 1.12 ERA, or more precisely, Gibson’s 1.122538 (no cheating with rounding here!). That’s about 31-to-1, a little better than getting the exact number in roulette and roughly the probability of a 20-homer hitter getting a round-tripper in any given at-bat. In other words, it’s more likely than not that he falls short of the feat, but it’s definitely possible and firmly in the realm of plausibility.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 10:52 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: jacob degrom

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   1. Darren Posted: June 03, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6022327)
Gibson’s 258 ERA+, which takes into account league offense, still sits atop the leaderboard, but at least it doesn’t utterly wreck the recent field, which consists of Pedro Martinez (243, 1999), Roger Clemens (227, 1997), and Zack Greinke (227, 2015) among others.


What source is Dan using for ERA+? These numbers are slightly off, but also Baseball Reference lists 8 seasons ahead of that 258 ERA+, with Pedro's 291 ERA+ as the modern record.
   2. Booey Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:46 PM (#6022368)
I hope deGrom does do it. Current trends in MLB make virtually all (positive*) single season and career records basically unassailable.

What was the last major** single season record that was surpassed (overall record, not positional records, rookie records, etc)? Was it 2004 when Ichiro broke the hits record and Bonds set new records for walks (again) and on base percentage (ditto)?

* Batter strikeouts don't count

** K/9 for pitchers isn't a major record!
   3. TomH Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6022370)
I wonder if he is using raw ERA instead of park adjusted?

(edit) Naah... Gibson's ERA+ raw is 266, Pedro's is 282.
   4. Booey Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6022371)
Edit: double
   5. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: June 03, 2021 at 03:58 PM (#6022374)
Ichiro's a good one. Bonds set the career homerun record in 2007.

Major records are the ones that I can call to mind from memory:
30 wins (I know, not the all-time record)
1.12 ERA
.424 batting average
73 home runs
191 RBI
4,256 hits
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 04:06 PM (#6022377)
62 saves by K-Rod in 2008
   7. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 03, 2021 at 04:10 PM (#6022379)
The most 2021 thing possible would be for deGrom to finish with a lower ERA than Gibson, but fail to pitch enough innings to qualify. (He has 51 in 48 team games so far.)

For whatever reason, B-R's ERA leaderboard does not include deGrom, even though does meet the qualification standard currently.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 03, 2021 at 05:09 PM (#6022389)
Lowest ERA by non-qualfiying pitchers, within 10 IP of qualifying (since 1960):

Mark Eichhorn, 1986 - 1.72
Wilbur Wood, 1968 - 1.87
Dave Righett, 1981 - 2.05
Roger Craig, 1959, 2.06
Chris Sale, 2018 - 2.11
Clayton Kershaw, 2020 - 2.16
Mike Paul, 1972 - 2.17
Bob Knepper, 1981 - 2.18
Max Fried, 2020 - 2.25
Zach Plesac, 2020 - 2.28
   9. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 03, 2021 at 05:11 PM (#6022390)
And, since he's deGrom, no doubt he'd finish with an 8-11 record.
   10. Baldrick Posted: June 03, 2021 at 05:22 PM (#6022394)
It bums me out that 2020 records count on the single season lists. Like: he's a nice pitcher, but Shane Bieber should not be just ahead of Greg Maddux and right behind Pedro on the single season ERA+ chart.

It would probably equally bum me out if they weren't included. Mostly, 2020 just really bums me out.
   11. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 03, 2021 at 06:24 PM (#6022400)
It bums me out that 2020 records count on the single season lists. Like: he's a nice pitcher, but Shane Bieber should not be just ahead of Greg Maddux and right behind Pedro on the single season ERA+ chart.

It would probably equally bum me out if they weren't included. Mostly, 2020 just really bums me out.


If it helps, only 41 pitchers managed the 60 innings needed to qualify for rate leaderboards last year (including no members of either of the teams that reached the World Series), compared to 62 reaching 162 innings in 2019.

(I mean, personally it bums me out even more. But maybe it helps someone else?)
   12. Rally Posted: June 04, 2021 at 09:41 AM (#6022495)
Not an official record, but in 2001 Randy Johnson struck out 419 batters including the playoffs.
   13. Booey Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:29 AM (#6022514)
For me, the lack of major record chases is one of the downers of the current game. Since both leagues became fully integrated in the 1960's and began what I think of as the "modern" game, we've seen a steady stream of regular season and career records fall - several in each decade - until the 2010's, when they suddenly dried up entirely. Again, only counting overall records (not positional records, rookie records, etc), we had this:

1960 - Ted Williams retires with the all time OBP record (probably not acknowledged as a major record at the time, but it certainly was)

1961 - Roger Maris breaks single season HR record

1962 - Maury Wills breaks single season SB record

1962 - Stan Musial breaks career TB record

1965 - Sandy Koufax breaks single season strikeout record

1968 - Bob Gibson sets lively ball ERA record

1968 - Denny McClain becomes last pitcher to win 30 games

1972 - Hank Aaron breaks career TB record

1973 - Nolan Ryan breaks single season strikeout record (19th century numbers aren't being counted)

1974 - Hank Aaron breaks career HR record

1974 - Lou Brock breaks single season SB record

1975 - Hank Aaron breaks career RBI record

1978 - Lou Brock breaks career SB record

1982 - Rickey breaks single season SB record

1983 - Steve Carlton and Nolan Ryan break career strikeout record (Ryan passes Carlton for good in 1984)

1985 - Pete Rose breaks career hits record (I don't know if his records for AB's, games played, or plate appearances count as major records)

1991 - Rickey breaks career SB record

1995 - Cal Ripken Jr breaks consecutive games played record (you can debate whether that's a major record or not, but it sure as hell was treated like one)

1998 - Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa break single season HR record

2001 - Rickey breaks career records for BB and runs

2001 - Barry Bonds breaks single season records for HR, BB, and SLG

2002 - Barry Bonds breaks single season records for BB (2nd time), and OBP

2004 - Barry Bonds breaks single season records for BB (3rd time) and OBP (2nd time), as well as the career record for BB

2004 - Ichiro breaks single season record for hits

2006 - Trevor Hoffman breaks career record for saves

2007 - Barry Bonds breaks career record for HR

2008 - K-Rod breaks single season record for saves

2011 - Mariano Rivera breaks career record for saves

And then...? Nothing for a decade, with nothing on the horizon unless deGrom can beat the odds and take Gibson's single season ERA record title. Miguel Cabrera winning the first Triple Crown in 45 years in 2012 was cool, but not an official record.

(Note: I didn't consider any saves records switching hands prior to the 2000's as major records since they were such a new statistic. No one seemed to care when Dave Righetti or Bobby Thigpen set new single season marks or Jeff Reardon and Lee Smith surpassed the previous high career totals)
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:38 AM (#6022518)
Thigpen got a lot of ink for his saves record
   15. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6022520)
The drop off has been pretty dramatic, but we probably should expect records to get harder and harder to break over time. (Absent context changes - which of course account for some of these.) It took a really exception player to break Brock's record, but it's going to take a REALLY exceptional one to break Rickey's.
   16. Booey Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:55 AM (#6022529)
#15 - Yeah, all records are a product of their times, but it seems like whenever the style of play changed so some stats were harder to rack up, other stats became easier, so those records fell instead. There was always SOMETHING noteworthy that seemed vulnerable to be surpassed. With the current trends though, seemingly everything is out of reach except for negative records like batter strikeouts. We've set new overall HR records lately...but that's because everyone and their mother is working to increase their launch angle and hits 20-30, not because the top guys are hitting any more than usual (like we saw in the late 90's and early 2000's), so Barry's single season and career HR records appear safe. Similarly, we see more strikeouts than ever...but pitchers don't throw enough innings anymore to challenge Nolan's single season or career records.

Records have always fallen when the conditions were ripe for them, but the conditions of this era don't seem to be ripe for anything special*.

* Again, unless deGrom beats some long odds this season. Fingers crossed...
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 04, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6022542)
I agree with #13 - in addition to league and MLB records, there were also milestone numbers which were big, important, and memorable - like 300 wins:

1982 - Perry
1983 - Carlton
1985 - Seaver, Niekro
1986 - Sutton
1990 - Ryan
2003 - Clemens
2004 - Maddux
2007 - Glavine
2009 - Randy Johnson

And in the midst of all this, there were a bunch of guys who got close, like John (288), Blyleven (287), Jenkins (284), and Kaat (283). Probably the last guy outside of this list to have a shot at 300 was Mussina, who pulled up at 270 despite probably having some gas left in the tank.

Now? At this moment, there are 18 active pitchers with 100 wins. Only eight have more than 132 wins. Only two have more than 193 wins:

Verlander, 38 years old, 226
Greinke, 37, 213
Lester, 37, 193
Kershaw, 33, 182
Scherzer, 36, 179
Wainwright, 39, 170
Price, 35, 151
Ervin Santana, 38, 149
Cueto, 35, 132
Happ, 38, 126
Bumgarner, 31, 124
Arrieta, 35, 115
Strasburg, 32, 113
Lynn, 34, 111
Sale, 32, 109
Kazmir, 37, 108
Cole, 30, 107
Kluber, 35, 102

(The most wins by somebody still in their 20s is Aaron Nola, 28, who has 62 wins.)

I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, but: Should we, as fans, begin adjusting culturally by getting excited about a pitcher's 200th win the way we used to get excited about a 300th win?

If so, how many of the above pitchers (besides the two already above 200) have a legit chance at breaking 200 wins? If the over/under was 4.5 of the 16 pitchers on this list that do not already have 200 getting to 200, would you take the over or under?




   18. base ball chick Posted: June 04, 2021 at 01:59 PM (#6022549)
well, seeing as how SP are now averaging about 5 IP/start - or is it 5.1 - and being pulled with 80-100 pitches/not being allowed to go through the lineup 3 times no matter how well you're pitching - and there's a parade of usually crappy relievers who lose games for you, welp, i think that even winning 200 G is gonna be very unusual because it is gonna need a pitcher who starts young, doesn't get hurt and doesn't get degrommed. (i canNOT bleeve that the rays actually let yarbrough pitch a complete game with over 100 pitches the other night - more than 3 times through the lineup can yew bleeve it???)

of that list, lester and kershaw are the only ones who are as close to sure things as it gets. maybe scherzer who has to average 7 wins a year for 3 years but in baseball years he b old and 2-3 years of playing and not getting hurt or degrommed are not exactly a sure thang. maybe cole with same ida knows about not getting hurt/degrommed. i know bumgarner is not Old but he's not pitching for a good team with a good bullpen and he just ain't who he used to be a tall, 7 inning no-no or not

i know that degrommination is not a new thang - felix hernandez, for one. and 10 year before that, i remember counting up in 04/05 all the times roy oswalt and clemens left tied or with a lead and got degrommed. the year he got the cy, roger got screwed out of like 10 or 12 W, i forgot exactly how many and am too lazy to go back and look it up

truth is, we should celebrate 150 these days

because 3000 K is gonna be the new 300 W
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 04, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6022551)
Bumgarner, 31, 124


This is the really surprising one to me. Bumgarner was in the rotation at age 20, pitched for a lot of very good teams, been mostly healthy throughout his career, never had a bad season until last year's disease-shortened one - and he's got virtually no chance at even making it to 200 wins.
   20. Booey Posted: June 04, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6022555)
#17/18 - Yep. 3000 K's is about the only milestone it looks like we're still going to see regularly. 300 wins is gone. 200 wins will be very, very rare once the last of the stars who debuted in the 2000's rather than the 2010's and beyond pass it (Kershaw, Scherzer).

And it's not just pitchers, either; I pointed this out a while back, but only 8 active players have career .300 batting averages, and only one - Cabrera - seems likely to retire with it (he's trying his damndest to drop below like Pujols did, but I think he'll run out of time). With batting averages plummeting, 3000 hit guys will drop way down too. High rbi totals (1500+) will be rare, since 30 homer seasons only rack up 80 rbi now and even 40 HR seasons just produce 90-105. We'll get a few 500 HR guys (Trout, maybe Harper) but nothing like we saw from the generations who debuted in the 1950's or the late 80's through the mid 90's.

Many of the best players of today are of the Dwight Evans, Lou Whitaker, and Bobby Grich mold; good at everything, but don't put up standout numbers in any specific category. Even some of the no brainer top guys in today's game: what are Mookie Betts career numbers likely to look like? Dwight Evans with an extra 20 pts of batting average (which still wouldn't put him over .300 or get him 3000 hits)? What about Freddie Freeman? Fred McGriff minus 100 homers and 200 rbi?

Sigh...I miss big numbers (yes, and lawns without kids on them)
   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 04, 2021 at 03:15 PM (#6022562)
A few things about Cabrera (who #20 mentioned):

1) He is playing so poorly (.188 entering today) that his career rate stats are actually moving down measurably:

Entering this season, his career line was .313/.391/.540
He's only played in 39 games this year, and his career line is now .311/.389/.536.

2) He has been poised for years now as the rare "500 HRs, 3000 hits" player, and you'd think he would get there, but if he hits for the next two-thirds of the season similar to how he has hit the first third of the season (and that's with a May that was crappy, but where he at least hit .254), he *still* won't get to either milestone number in 2021! Entering today, he still needs nine HRs and 107 hits - but in 39 games this year, he has four HRs,and 27 hits.

3) Probably the best thing going to Cabrera right now is that Detroit stinks. If the team was battling for the playoffs this year, it would be very, very difficult to play Cabrera as much as they are.
   22. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 04, 2021 at 03:22 PM (#6022563)
#19: As for Bumgarner, I thought the same thing. He was at exactly 100 career wins after his age 26 season, 200+ IP in six straight seasons, and CYA votes in five of those six seasons. He seemed like a real horse out there.

Since that season, though (2016), he has a *total* of 24 wins as of today, going 24-34 with an ERA above 4. I suppose people could point to his heavy usage in early-to-mid 20s and justify the kind of kid gloves being used with most starters today, but let's say that is generally valid: If a 6'4", 250 pound guy who is clearly very athletic gets cooked by age 28 or whatever by pitching an average of seven innings every 5th day for six years, then as others above are saying, maybe 200 wins is going to be out of reach going forward.
   23. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: June 04, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6022564)
Now? At this moment, there are 18 active pitchers with 100 wins.


It would require far more research than I'm prepared to do, but I wonder how many years have passed since the number was that low. Probably at some point during the 16-team era.
   24. vortex of dissipation Posted: June 04, 2021 at 03:56 PM (#6022571)
Craig Biggio should have stuck around for one more season to get the three HBP he needed to break Hughie Jennings' career record. :-)
   25. GregD Posted: June 04, 2021 at 06:58 PM (#6022599)
Verlander, 38 years old, 226
Greinke, 37, 213
Lester, 37, 193
Kershaw, 33, 182
Scherzer, 36, 179
Wainwright, 39, 170
Price, 35, 151
Ervin Santana, 38, 149
Cueto, 35, 132
Happ, 38, 126
Bumgarner, 31, 124
Arrieta, 35, 115
Strasburg, 32, 113
Lynn, 34, 111
Sale, 32, 109
Kazmir, 37, 108
Cole, 30, 107
Kluber, 35, 102

(The most wins by somebody still in their 20s is Aaron Nola, 28, who has 62 wins.)

I'm not being sarcastic when I ask this, but: Should we, as fans, begin adjusting culturally by getting excited about a pitcher's 200th win the way we used to get excited about a 300th win?

If so, how many of the above pitchers (besides the two already above 200) have a legit chance at breaking 200 wins? If the over/under was 4.5 of the 16 pitchers on this list that do not already have 200 getting to 200, would you take the over or under?


Great question! I think I'd take the under. Lester should be a tap in but is making it exciting. After him, Kershaw and Scherzer will make it. But, assuming Lester craps through this year with 5-6 wins and no good deal for next year, that would mean do you think of the remaining list will make 200? I'd vote no.
   26. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: June 04, 2021 at 08:26 PM (#6022615)
Cole Hamels is 37 with 163 wins. He’s not playing nor is he retired. I’d expect he’ll turn up somewhere but I can’t see him getting close to 200.
   27. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:10 PM (#6022666)
Mark Canha has 12 HBP, which could maybe reach Don Baylor's 35, but is still far off the pace of Ron Hunt's 50
   28. baxter Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:36 PM (#6022681)
Randy Johnson won 88 games through age 30.

How many of you would have made a bet he was going to win 300?
   29. Howie Menckel Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:41 PM (#6022686)
Phil Niekro won 54 through age 30 - and 31 before age 30.

Warren Spahn won 86 through age 30.

Jamie Moyer won 34 through age 30 - but only 235 after that, so he doesn't qualify.
   30. baxter Posted: June 04, 2021 at 11:57 PM (#6022690)
Or, consider David Wells, 181 wins after 30

I thought Sabathia had a chance; I thought when he lost a bunch of weight he got worse (there may have been other factors?)
   31. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: June 05, 2021 at 12:01 AM (#6022692)
[24] Oddly, Biggio’s HBPs crashed just as he was getting close to the record. He only got 3 HBPs in his final season, the last of which was on July 7. I’m not saying that Biggio was trying specifically to avoid the record, but if he was, his final season is pretty much exactly what you’d expect. I remember he even ditched the armor in his last year.
   32. Gch Posted: June 05, 2021 at 03:29 AM (#6022704)
Wasn’t that a consequence of Biggio trying to get to 3,000 hits? His walk rare also declined his last few years.
   33. tonywagner Posted: June 05, 2021 at 08:42 AM (#6022711)
For whatever reason, B-R's ERA leaderboard does not include deGrom, even though does meet the qualification standard currently.


During the season, B-R uses average team games played to calculate the league qualification threshold. Undoubtedly easier, but less accurate, of course.
   34. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 05, 2021 at 11:59 AM (#6022726)
300 winners have historically come in groups.

Pre-1900 Group
1. Cy Young+ (22) 511 R (crosses eras)
5. Pud Galvin+ (15) 365 R
7. Kid Nichols+ (15) 362 R
10. Tim Keefe+ (14) 342 R
12. John Clarkson+ (12) 328 R
19. Old Hoss Radbourn+ (12) 310 R
20. Mickey Welch+ (13) 307 R


Dead ball group
2. Walter Johnson+ (21) 417 R (career extends past the dead ball era)
3a. Pete Alexander+ (20) 373 R (career extends past the dead ball era)
3b. Christy Mathewson+ (17) 373 R
13. Eddie Plank+ (17) 326 L


1950's group
6. Warren Spahn+ (21) 363 L
Early Wynn+ (23) 300 L


1970's group
11. Steve Carlton+ (24) 329 L
14. Nolan Ryan+ (27) 324 R
Don Sutton+ (23) 324 R
16. Phil Niekro+ (24) 318 R
17. Gaylord Perry+ (22) 314 R
18. Tom Seaver+ (20) 311 R

1990's group
8. Greg Maddux+ (23) 355 R
9. Roger Clemens (24) 354 R
21. Tom Glavine+ (22) 305 L
22. Randy Johnson+ (22) 303 L

The only real outlier, without a group of his own is
23. Lefty Grove+ (17) 300 L


My guess is that a combination of rule changes which negate some of the advantage of 1-inning relief pitchers combined with adjustments based upon better understanding of pitcher "abuse", will lead to another group emerging, but probably not for another decade at least. Some of the pitchers just starting out may get there, though.
   35. AstrosOldTimer Posted: June 05, 2021 at 01:20 PM (#6022732)
Wasn’t that a consequence of Biggio trying to get to 3,000 hits? His walk rare also declined his last few years.


Biggio's walk rate declined because he was losing bat speed as he got older, so he compensated by batting more aggressively and swinging earlier. This change in batting style cratered his OBP but increased his HR rate. At some point, even that wasn't enough.
   36. TomH Posted: June 05, 2021 at 06:27 PM (#6022761)
#34, which is why Grove has a reasonable argument for GOAT pitcher. 9 ERA titles, 5 WPCT titles, virtually the best career WPCT ever, and 300 wins while time lost in the "minors"; and to boot, no one else in the live ball would win 300 for a lonnng time. Yeah, playing for good teams helped....
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: June 05, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6022768)
I'm still in the camp that 300 wins will happen, just that it's going to happen differently... I honestly think that over the next decade or so we'll see pitchers used differently than now, they'll start 25-30 games a season, and then end up relieving 10-20 a season... not the best pitchers, but the guys thought of as number 3 or fours who are working their way into the rotation.

300 wins is going to be rare, I just don't think that the current style of play eliminates it as a future possibility. To get to 300 wins, you need roughly 500 starts, that is always going to be a tough barrier to overcome, That is basically 15 healthy seasons.... The current style limits the number of innings pitched, but at the same time it more than likely makes a quality start into a win if you leave with the lead intact.
   38. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: June 06, 2021 at 01:17 AM (#6022812)
Now? At this moment, there are 18 active pitchers with 100 wins. Only eight have more than 132 wins. Only two have more than 193 wins...


I get the point of what I quoted and the general perspective being discussed by many, and I agree it's an unfortunate scenario that appears imminent. But, geez, when it comes to pitcher wins they've always seemed to me like a tough thing to accumulate. All time, from Old Hoss starting two-thirds of his team's games one year to four-man rotations to endurance freaks like Nolan Ryan to five-man rotations, a mere 263 guys have 150 wins. All time. Maybe part of why that's surprising to me is because many are in my lifetime and thus I'd expect history would have given us many more, but considering how many starting-pitcher careers there have been, that's not many. Heck, 359 guys—nearly 100 more—have between 100 and 149 wins.
   39. BDC Posted: June 06, 2021 at 05:17 PM (#6022879)
I guess the good news is that, although you don't have to go five innings to get a Loss, the active leaders are still pretty far down the list. Verlander and Greinke lead there too, with 129 and 128 (and Ervin Santana lost a game this year also to reach 128). But Verlander is only tied for 278th in career Losses, with Pat Dobson and Dave Stewart. So the days of the 200-loss pitcher are also long past …
   40. John Northey Posted: June 06, 2021 at 09:55 PM (#6022911)
With things always changing and all the potential rule changes coming I'm sure some oddities will happen in the next decade. Robo Umps are coming - I don't think it is an if anymore, but a when. I think they are using it in Florida and walk totals skyrocketed (I suspect umps helped cut walks down to speed up games, as they want to go home too at some point). Given that I wonder if Rickey's and Barry's walk records could be in jeopardy. With efforts to re-introduce speed to the game (bigger bases, pitchers back a foot) might stolen bases jump enough to get another 100 SB guy (increased walks, making SB easier = 100 SB possible). One never knows what to expect in the future. Maybe a new emphasis on contact and focus on reducing pitch count will result in a new Greg Maddux - pitching to contact, leading to someone getting innings and wins. Who knows?
   41. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 07, 2021 at 03:55 PM (#6023010)
As #40 says, the game will change over the next generation, and changes in rules, technology (including cheating with drugs and foreign substances), dimensions, or equipment would greatly accelerate such change. If you had told somebody in 1968 that Sillyball would be the name of the game 30 years later, they would have found it impossible. If you had told fans in the early 1980s that stolen bases would not be much a part of the game a few decades later, that would have also seem highly improbable. But something will again happen.

Where is baseball's greatest "market inefficiency" right now? It strikes me that it probably has something to do with the ability to make contact at a very high rate, combined with some ability to be "unshiftable" defensively.

The best of such players would probably be guys like Ichiro, Gwynn and Carew, right? Who are the poor man's version of that more recently? In Boston, Alex Verdugo has developed that reputation - young player, good defensively, fast enough to take advantage of an extra base here and there, enough power to hit 15-20 HRs, takes a walk, and one of the lowest strikeout rates in the majors - he makes a lot of contact, with enough power and speed to take advantage of contact. Do skills like that get heightened in value in an era like this?

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