It is sometimes so hard to refrain from the juvenile puns . . . . I guess Ray Kerby no longer makes his Astros statistical engine available on his website, but I've got a copy that I update every year, and from time to time I'll take the thing out and play with it, as I did today.
Everyone talks about how the Rocket is getting shortchanged, but no-one quantifies it, you know what I mean?
Well, instead of just complaining, I looked at the numbers to see where Roger stands in terms of the most "underappreciated" Astros pitchers of all times. In other words, of all the pitchers in Astros history who found themselves with a shiny ERA to go with a poor-to-ordinary won loss record, which ones were most heinously ruined by their lack of offensive support? And again, where does the Rocket this year rank with these? The formula I used is very simple, almost too much so: I simply eliminated those pitchers who had a won-loss percentage lower than .250, then took the reciprocals of both ERA and win percentage for the rest, and multiplied them. That certainly SEEMS too simplistic, but look at the results, both at the top and bottom. Empirically, you'd hope that the seasons you intuitively guess belong would be ranked. Most longterm fans would name Nolan Ryan's 1987 season as the most infamous pitching season in team history, with a .333 winning percentage to go with a 2.76 ERA, and you'd hope that any system you'd devise would rank it pretty high.
And there it is.
And hopefully, your system would recognize the other side of the coin: those who had a crappy ERA but got lucky. And if you're reading this, you probably didn't have to be prompted to say "Elarton's 2000 season," or "Robertson's 2003 season."
So, yes I think it works, and yes I think that, at least so far, Clemens is on pace to have the most-unrewarded pitching season in Astros history. . . .
Good ERA Bad Record
|Rocket, This Year . . .|
|2005 Roger Clemens||11||3||3||1.30||.500||1.540|
|And the Historical Comp . . .|
|1987 Nolan Ryan||34||8||16||2.76||.333||1.085|
|1962 Dick Farrell||29||10||20||3.02||.333||.995|
|1983 Bob Knepper||29||6||13||3.19||.316||.992|
|1963 Hal Brown||20||5||11||3.31||.313||.966|
|1963 Ken Johnson||32||11||17||2.65||.393||.960|
|1980 Joaquin Andujar||14||3||8||3.91||.273||.938|
|1976 Joe Niekro||13||4||8||3.36||.333||.894|
|1968 Denny Lemaster||32||10||15||2.81||.400||.889|
|1968 Mike Cuellar||24||8||11||2.74||.421||.866|
|1976 Dan Larson||13||5||8||3.02||.385||.860|
To compare, the bottom five. . . .
Bad ERA Good Record
|1994 Brian Williams||13||6||5||5.74||.545||.319|
|2003 Jeriome Robertson||31||15||9||5.05||.625||.317|
|1994 Pete Harnisch||17||8||5||5.40||.615||.301|
|2000 Scott Elarton||30||17||7||4.81||.708||.293|
|2001 Dave Mlicki||14||7||3||5.09||.700||.281|
But maybe you think different?