Posted by Andy on November 5, 2009
Wow...what a World Series!
Lots to talk about. Let's start with Andy Pettitte.
From the post-season leaders page, we can see some of Pettitte's all-time post-season rankings.
He's first in wins:
Those 18 wins came over 249 IP in 40 games and starts. So that's a little over one regular season's worth of starts, and he's managed 18 wins, which is very good. (Remember that in the post-season, you're facing all good teams, so he has no doormats with which to pad his win total. Winning at a rate of 15-16 games for a full-year equivalent is impressive.)
Pettitte is also up there in losses:
At 18-9, he's won twice as often as he's lost, which again is very good.
Check out the all-time leaders in games pitched:
This table summarizes the baseball playoffs nicely. In the Wild Card era, there are so many more games that all the records belong to modern guys, and over that same period, it's been pretty much all Braves, Yankees, and Red Sox.
Pettitte is number 1 in homers allowed:
However, 5 of the top 10 guys above actually allowed homers at a higher rate than Pettitte (including, obviously, Jaret Wright--wow!) Catfish Hunter sticks out as the only holdover from prior to the Wild Card era.
Anyway, the bottom line is that Pettitte has been very impressive. He's pitched in 8 World Series (including with Houston in 2005.) True, he's been lucky to be on such good teams, but A) he had a lot to do with them being so good and B) regardless of how he got the opportunities, he has done well with them.
It's interesting to debate his Hall of Fame credentials. His position as a top pitcher on 8 World Series teams goes a long way, in my opinion. He's got the 63rd-highest win total of all time, but only the 229th-highest loss total (translation: he's got a great winning percentage.) He has two 20-win seasons (actually 21 both times) and finished in the top 6 in Cy Young voting in 5 different seasons.
The marks against him are primarily these:
- He has only 229 career wins (as mentioned, 63rd all time) which would be a very low total for a Hall of Famer.
- His excellent W-L record seems to be at least partially a product of playing on such good teams. He came to the Yankees in 1995 when they made the playoffs for the first time in a long time and has never pitched for a poor team. His ERA+ is only 116 which, while very respectable, is not excellent. His neutralized pitching totals tell the story. They say his record should be (gulp) 162-146, a whopping 67 wins fewer than he has. This means that if he hadn't been on the Yankees, he'd be much closer to a .500 pitcher in all likelihood. This would give him numbers more like Tim Wakefield, Livan Hernandez, or Kevin Millwood. These are all good pitchers but clearly not HOFers.
What do you think?