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Derek Lowe: 30 GS 175 IP ERA+ 110.

Posted by Raphy on November 29, 2008

Derek Lowe's career with the Dodgers has been very consistent, despite the fact that he only started pitching for them in his age 32 season. Now, as he is about to embark on his age 36 season he is looking for another multiyear deal.

There are only 5 players who have made at least 30 starts, with at least 175 innings and an ERA of at least 110 in each of the last 4 seasons. Lowe, Carlos Zambrano, Brandon Webb, Johan Santana, and Roy Oswalt. Lowe is by far the oldest of the group.

In fact, since 1901 only 9 pitchers have reached those marks in each of their 32-35 seasons. Here is how they performed after 35:

                   From  To   Ages Seasons Link to Individual Seasons
 Derek Lowe        2005 2008 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   ? 
 Greg Maddux       1998 2001 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (did it once more at 36 and then just missed 4 times)
 Kevin Brown       1997 2000 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (never again after 35)
 Gaylord Perry     1971 1974 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (did 5 more times from 36-40 and just missed at 41)
 Phil Niekro       1971 1974 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (did 6 more times from 36-40 and at 45!)
 Bob Gibson        1968 1971 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (did it once more at 36)
 Jim Bunning       1964 1967 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (never did it again)
 Whitey Ford       1961 1964 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (never did it again)
 Warren Spahn      1953 1956 32-35       4 Ind. Seasons   (did 6 more times in the next 7 years. The year he missed (1960), he had an ERA+ of 98 and finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting.)

7 Responses to “Derek Lowe: 30 GS 175 IP ERA+ 110.”

  1. Jgeller Says:

    Look what company Lowe is in. 6 Hall of Famers. 1 Future Hall of Famer (Maddux). and Kevin Brown who's pretty damn good, maybe/maybe not Hall of Fame (not asking for a debate). Derek Lowe could be one of the more underrated starters of all time.

  2. whiz Says:

    If you go back before 1901, you can add Cy Young to the list. He matched those marks for 6 of the next 7 seasons as well -- the year he missed was because of a bad ERA+ (86 in 1906).

  3. JohnnyTwisto Says:

    It is impressive company, but this resembles a common trap that Bill James warned of. It is easy to select a group of statistical milestones that a player meets to group him with other obviously superior players. I haven't checked the seasons by the other players above, but I'd guess that most of them exceed those lower limits by more than Lowe's do.

  4. Raphy Says:

    I wasn't looking to evaluate Lowe. My main interest was to see how many of those pitchers were able to keep it up. If you're looking for pitchers who were similar to Lowe from ages 32-35 try Tom Candiotti and Dennis Martinez. Both of those pitchers say Derek Lowe more than the ones above.

    From that point on Candiotti would pitch 903 more innings with an ERA+ of 93. Martinez would throw 1288.2 with an ERA+ 121.

  5. kingturtle Says:

    You're all going to kill me for this one...but Derek Lowe has been using Adderall during that stretch of time. Yes, I know it is prescribed, and okayed by MLB, but Adderall is Adderall. It is banned in the Olympics, and I believe it is banned by MLB. Why would anyone use Adderall illegally? Read here:

  6. Jgeller Says:

    Oh no, I've taken Ritalin prescribed by a doctor since kindergarten. i'm cheating if i ever make the majors!
    for all we know, he's been on it before his baseball career. taking on a fight against Adderall and Ritalin would be too much a headache.

  7. kingturtle Says:

    But he hasn't been on it before his career. He only started taking it this decade. And it is possible that his success on the field is because he's better able to focus.