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Brian Moehler: A Re-Evaluation

You all may remember a couple of weeks ago, I had written an entry in which I savaged Spring Training Invitee Bran Moehler, both in concept and in the reality. I stopped short of saying disparaging things about the Moehler bloodlines, but you'd have had to have picked through the post fairly thoroughly if you were the guy's PR agent, and wanted to find something useful for the old databank.

I think I might have said that Moehler might end up being useful at Round Rock, although in other parts I expressed skepticism at that, too.

Well, shows how much I know.

Turns out, the guy's a certified Winner©, at least when he's wearing an Astros uniform.

Who'd a thunk it?

I first became aware of Moehler's hidden dominance through our old friend David Pinto, who runs the Baseball Musings website. Pinto has invented another one of his semi-famous web apps. This one can tell you what the record of any team was when any particular player made an appearance in a game.

What has the Mets' record been when Pedro Martinez has pitched? Or how about the Cubs with Kerry Wood?

Pinto's tool is specifically designed for questions such as these.

Here's the link to the tool, when it has been instructed to hunt for all Astros since the club's Opening Game at Colt Stadium in 1962.

A word of warning: it takes a bit of time, and if you 're still using dial-up, you paleolithic netsurfer you, well, you probably wanna skip it.

The highlights are right here, anyway, and yes indeedy, that is Brian Moehler you see at the top, a bright shiny 1.000 winning percentage for the Astros in all games during which he made an appearance.

Say it, savor the way it rolls off your tongue: The Astros never lose when Moehler makes an appearance!

Sign him up, Timmy P! And you better pencil in Gimenez as backup catcher this summer, while you're at it.

Top Ten Players in Astros History, by Win Percentage
Player W L WPCT
Brian Moehler 3 0 1.000
Hector Gimenez 2 0 1.000
John Paciorek 1 0 1.000
Jeremy Griffiths 1 0 1.000
Philip Barzilla 1 0 1.000
Dwight Gooden 1 0 1.000
Sid Fernandez 1 0 1.000
Randy Johnson 10 1 .909
Jason Alfaro 6 1 .857
Dan Driessen 14 3 .824
OK; I know I'm being silly. If the table above has any meaning beyond "Randy Johnson kicked some ass for a short while," and a curt re-telling of the legend of John Paciorek, then it escapes me.

But what if we filtered out the small sample noise? Would that extract any useful dope?

Top Twelve, Over 100 Games Played
Player W L WPCT Games
Billy Wagner 342 121 .739 463
Brad Lidge 220 92 .705 312
Doug Jones 102 49 .675 151
Glen Barker 153 82 .651 235
Octavio Dotel 193 109 .639 302
Eric Bruntlett 151 89 .629 240
Roy Oswalt 119 71 .626 190
Dan Wheeler 97 63 .606 160
Mike Hampton 118 79 .599 197
Carl Everett 151 105 .590 256
Dave Smith 331 232 .588 553
Wade Miller 77 54 .588 126

Hmmm. Three closers at the top of the list is not surprising. These guys only come into the game when the Astros are winning, so it's a bit easier for them to get the W. Setup men Dotel and Wheeler, like their ninth inning brethren, also generally entered the game when Houston was leading. Although the patterns weren't quite as entrenched in the 80's, you can say the same thing about Dave Smith. And Roy Oswalt, Mike Hampton, and Wade Miller are more or less dominant pitchers in the Astros history books.

At first I was surprised to see Barker and Bruntlett, but they, too, mostly entered the game with the Astros ahead, as defensive replacements.

As fun as Pinto's toy might be, I still don't see where we've gained any major insight.

Although the trivia factor is sky-high.

Here are some other players, picked for current relevance, or sheer perversity:

Some Others
Player W L WPCT Games
Carlo$ Beltran 54 36 .600 160
Jason Lane 243 182 .572 425
Mike Scott 148 116 .561 264
Roger Clemens 47 37 .560 84
Nolan Ryan 151 131 .535 282
Mitch Meluskey 60 87 .408 147
Jim York 28 86 .246 114
Gary Kroll 0 10 .000 10
Oscar Zamora 0 10 .000 10

Righthand reliever Jim York pitched for the team between 1972 and 1975, finishing in Houston for the worst team in franchise history. In terms of the wins and losses we are looking at here, he is the losingest player in team history who appeared in 100 games or more.

Kroll was also a righthanded reliever for a half-season in 1966 before being sold to the Indians. Zamora spent a good deal of time in the Astros' organization in the late '60's and early 70's. He actually threw a seven-inning perfect game for AAA Oklahoma City in 1972, before leaving the organization, then finished his career with Houston in 1978, throwing 15 innings, going 0 - 0 with a 7.20.

Kroll and Zamora are the franchise's all-time Bad-Luck Schleprocks: no players in team history appeared more often without ending up at least once on the victorious side.