1. Have something to say? Register Now! and be posting in minutes!

Best Starting Pitchers of the Last 35 Years

Discussion in 'MLB Baseball Forum' started by StanMarsh51, Mar 14, 2016.

  1. StanMarsh51

    StanMarsh51 Well-Known Member

    6,435
    547
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    Why not have a debate on it? Looking at it from a career perspective, the leaders in WAR (Baseball Reference's version) from pitchers who started their careers from the early 1980s onward:


    1) Roger Clemens
    2) Greg Maddux
    3) Randy Johnson
    4) Pedro Martinez
    5) Mike Mussina
    6) Curt Schilling
    7) Tom Glavine
    8) Kevin Brown
    9) John Smoltz
    10) Roy Halladay
    11) David Cone
    12) Andy Pettitte
    13) Mark Buehrle
    14) Bret Saberhagen
    15) Chuck Finley
    16) Tim Hudson
    17) Kevin Appier
    18) CC Sabathia
    19) David Wells
    20) Orel Hershiser
    21) Kenny Rogers
    22) Johan Santana
    23) Mark Langston
    24) Jamie Moyer
    25) Roy Oswalt
    26) Felix Hernandez
    27) Jimmy Key
    28) Zack Greinke
    29) Dwight Gooden
    30) Frank Viola

    Kershaw with a good 2016 probably will crack the top 25...
     



    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    Great thread. Clemens and Maddux are 1.a and 1.b to me, but I'd probably go with Clemens, with a better JAWS and WAR7
     
  3. Hunter Montana

    Hunter Montana Member

    128
    5
    18
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    How did you compile this list using baseball reference? Would it be possible to see a list of starting pitchers of the last 35 years sorted by their average WAR (with a minimum of maybe around 10 seasons)?
     
  4. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    There's no stat that gives WAR/PA, but if you're looking for peak years, try JAWS or WAR7
     
  5. calsnowskier

    calsnowskier Sarcastic F-wad

    35,446
    2,950
    293
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 3,429


    I like WAR7 a lot. 7 years is a long enough time period to get a pretty good idea of how a guy played when he was good, but still punish him for the "Brady Anderson effect".

    That said, I think the rough list stan posted in the OP passes the sniff test. Maddux, Clemens, Johnson and Pedro are pretty clearly the top of the last 35 years or so. Ranking past that is really not adding anything to the conversation, IMHO.
     
  6. tducey

    tducey Sports discussion

    8,361
    791
    113
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2014
    Location:
    In a house
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 2,700


    Some great pitchers the pasy 35 years, Clemens, Maddux, johnson and Martinez looks like a great top 5 to me.
     
  7. StanMarsh51

    StanMarsh51 Well-Known Member

    6,435
    547
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000



    I think it might be useful for a HOF conversation...for instance, you obviously have 4 historically great pitchers in Maddux/Clemens/RJ/Pedro (arguably 4 of the top 10-15 all time) but you see guys like Mussina and Schilling at 5-6 on the HOF one can make the case that they seem to be getting the short end of the stick.
     
  8. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    Exactly. Same thing when looking at Pettitte and Buehrle. Most people don't want either in the HOF, but this list might somewhat refute that to some people, when you have people like Oswalt, Felix, Hershiser, and Johan Santana lower. Pettitte will always be hurt by PED linkage and pitching in two hitter's parks in a hitter's era. I still like him and his 83 FIP- enough to cast a vote for him.

    Buehrle on the other hand is too much quantity against too little quality (and even not enough quantity. I mean if we're talking about potential quantity HOFers, we're looking at Moyer, Murphy, and Tommy John- and none of those guys should be in the HOF). This is where I think simply looking at the WARs of a number of players and saying "yeah he's a HOFer, and he's not" is dangerous. Most people would take the careers of just about anyone below Buehrle's WAR over Buehrle himself, except probably for Moyer.
     
  9. calsnowskier

    calsnowskier Sarcastic F-wad

    35,446
    2,950
    293
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Location:
    San Diego
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 3,429


    For me, looking back on a pitchers career, I like ERA, and IP first and foremost. WHIP and K/BB are secondary. FIP is more if a Stat that looks forward. It gives an idea of wetter guy will perform well moving forward, not how did in the past. Same as FB velocity or amount of drop on a CB. I would not look back at Chapman and say "he is a HOFer because he threw 104 MPH." However, if he turns that 104 FB into a lot of saves and a low ERA, THEN I will look at him. (Relievers need to be looked at differently from SPs, though)
     
  10. HammerDown

    HammerDown Well-Known Member Supporting Member Level 3

    66,827
    4,880
    293
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 398


    The. Big. Unit.

    ...followed by Kevin Brown.
     
  11. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    I completely disagree. If a pitcher pitches in a small ballpark with a bad defense his whole career, his FIP (or xFIP) will account for that unfairness, so we're looking more at the pitcher solely than the pitcher and his defense behind him. FIP is a good measure of predictive value, but that should definitely not be its only usage.

    Look at Tom Glavine. From '98-'02, he put up great numbers if you look at ERA and ERA+, even winning the Cy Young in 1998. In that five season span, pitching in huge Turner Field with Andruw Jones in center field, he put up a 3.31 ERA and 132 ERA+ in 1148.1 IP. But he also posted a 4.10 FIP in that span. Fast forward to 2003, in hitter-friendly Shea Stadium and the likes of Roger Cedeno and Jeromy Burnitz attempting to track down fly balls, and Glavine's ERA jumps to 4.52, while posting a FIP and xFIP of 4.74 and 4.84, respectively. Yes, his FIP in Atlanta tells us we should have expected some regression when he signed with the Mets, but it also tells us he probably isn't as good a pitcher as we envisioned him in the late '90s. A good point on these lines is his ridiculous 1998 NL CYA. Kevin Brown, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and probably even Al Leiter were better pitchers in the NL that year. Let's look at Curt Schilling specifically. He had a K/9 nearly double that of Glavine's, a lower BB/9, a K-BB% nearly 2.5 times than that of Glavine, and pitched nearly 40 more innings. But Glavine had a lower HR/9 with the help of Turner Field and Jones, and thus had the lower ERA, so voters voted for him. It was ridiculous (even if you're enamored with ERA, Glavine still isn't the best pitcher in the NL in '98).

    Now if you want to make an argument about where FIP stops holding weight and actual results; namely ERA, are factored in (see: Ricky Nolasco) then I would definitely listen to what you have to say. But FIP is more than just a predictive tool. It's also very valuable in retrospect.
     
  12. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    I guess you're joking about Brown because you're a Pad's fan?
     
  13. mrwallace2ku

    mrwallace2ku Treehugger

    26,631
    2,844
    293
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Location:
    "WHERE THE TREES MEET THE SEA BREEZE"
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 200



    #s 2 and 7...I don't need a fastball heater pitcher, just one with brains, the ability to consistently locate his pitches and a pitcher who understands when, where and why to change his velocity. Gawd I miss Bobby Cox.
     
  14. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    So you'd take Glavine over Clemens? Ok:suds:
     
  15. mrwallace2ku

    mrwallace2ku Treehugger

    26,631
    2,844
    293
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Location:
    "WHERE THE TREES MEET THE SEA BREEZE"
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 200


    ^ Yepperz...
     
  16. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    Do you have any comment on the dilemma I raised above regarding the pitfalls of overrating Glavine?
     
  17. cerealboi

    cerealboi Well-Known Member

    6,002
    462
    83
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 307


    Interesting that the common belief is Mussina will never sniff the HOF yet he's #5 on the list.
     
  18. mrwallace2ku

    mrwallace2ku Treehugger

    26,631
    2,844
    293
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Location:
    "WHERE THE TREES MEET THE SEA BREEZE"
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 200


    Wouldn't try to debate you on Glavine's merits, you know your stat shit, I don't. I never worried about a location pitcher's ERA stats tho, they are going to give up hits-n-runs. A climbing ERA is a worry, but an consistent/game ERA within a season is what I look for. IF I were building a staff, finding good location pitching is hard to do, harder than just throwing a guy in a game who throws at 100MPH AND has good location.

    IMO...I like junk ball throwers who master a strike zone, not thru intimidation velocity methods. Not to say a good hign-n-in pitch is one of my favs tho...keeps a good hitter honest.
     
  19. Chewbaccer

    Chewbaccer Illustrious Potentate

    33,907
    8,879
    533
    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2014
    Location:
    Jasper, GA
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 3,634


    If we're ignoring PED use, which I'm assuming we are, Roger Clemens is easily the best of the era IMO.

    Maddux is the clear number 2 IMO.

    He had a great peak in the early 90's, and honestly, John Smoltz's Cy Young should be on Mad Dog's mantle as well, and he had longevity to go with it.

    Randy Johnson gets the nod for third.

    He was dominant in both leagues, had great longevity and is second on the all time strikeouts list.

    4th is Pedro. If we were just using peak years, he'd be number 1, but he didn't have the longevity of the 3 above him, and that puts him 4th on my list.

    So, basically my top 4 is the same as the OP's list.

    For 5th, I'd jump Glavine over Mussina and Schilling.
     
  20. Omar 382

    Omar 382 Well-Known Member

    14,355
    758
    113
    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2013
    Hoopla Bookie:
    $ 1,000


    Yeah, basically any way you spin it, Clemens is going to be 1 and Maddux will be 2. Even accounting for PED usage, it's hard for a rational thinker to put anyone above Clemens. Johnson and Pedro are 3/4. That's pretty undebatable. From there, it gets a little murkier. Hell it depends on how you assign "value" to a player. Dwight Gooden is low on the WAR list, but he started out his career with WAR's of 8.3 and 8.9. One of the better two year spans for a pitcher, ever. Would you prefer that, and then 5 more good seasons, over the consistency of Tom Glavine, who never posted a WAR above 5.4? I mean, if the Cubs could develop one right now, there's no way you wouldn't go with Doc.