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Winning More Than Losing, Last Quarter Century

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 4, 2011

Since 1986, how many pitchers (min. 100 decisions) have "Wins > 1.5*Losses"?

Here's the list:

Rk Player W L Dec From To Age G GS CG SHO GF W-L% SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF IBB HBP BK WP Tm BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ SH SF 2B 3B GDP SB CS PO
1 Greg Maddux 355 227 582 1986 2008 20-42 744 740 109 35 3 .610 0 5008.1 4726 1981 1756 999 3371 3.16 132 353 20421 177 137 28 70 CHC-ATL-TOT-SDP .250 .291 .358 .649 75 274 119 817 84 422 547 170 28
2 Roger Clemens 338 175 513 1986 2007 23-44 673 672 110 44 0 .659 0 4685.0 3956 1780 1607 1514 4472 3.09 145 345 19258 60 154 17 138 BOS-TOR-NYY-HOU .228 .294 .340 .634 67 116 98 763 80 322 411 210 36
3 Tom Glavine 305 203 508 1987 2008 21-42 682 682 56 25 0 .600 0 4413.1 4298 1900 1734 1500 2607 3.54 118 356 18604 145 66 7 65 ATL-NYM .257 .319 .378 .697 88 228 113 786 76 420 226 168 41
4 Randy Johnson 303 166 469 1988 2009 24-45 618 603 100 37 7 .646 2 4135.1 3346 1703 1513 1497 4875 3.29 136 411 17067 37 190 33 109 MON-TOT-SEA-ARI-NYY-SFG .221 .297 .353 .650 71 131 89 660 58 252 456 224 58
5 Mike Mussina 270 153 423 1991 2008 22-39 537 536 57 23 0 .638 0 3562.2 3460 1559 1458 785 2813 3.68 123 376 14593 29 60 1 71 BAL-NYY .255 .297 .399 .696 81 90 82 719 53 293 182 117 5
6 Andy Pettitte 240 138 378 1995 2010 23-38 489 479 25 4 3 .635 0 3055.1 3185 1461 1317 962 2251 3.88 116 263 12987 41 51 11 62 NYY-HOU .270 .326 .398 .724 89 102 75 605 57 339 176 86 94
7 David Wells 239 157 396 1987 2007 24-44 660 489 54 12 65 .604 13 3439.0 3635 1702 1578 719 2201 4.13 108 407 14413 65 83 17 101 TOR-DET-TOT-BAL-NYY-CHW-SDP-BOS .271 .310 .427 .737 93 106 84 741 65 266 268 120 51
8 Pedro Martinez 219 100 319 1992 2009 20-37 476 409 46 17 23 .687 3 2827.1 2221 1006 919 760 3154 2.93 154 239 11394 30 141 6 62 LAD-MON-BOS-NYM-PHI .214 .276 .337 .613 60 74 63 443 54 148 210 70 17
9 David Cone 194 126 320 1986 2003 23-40 450 419 56 22 9 .606 1 2898.2 2504 1222 1115 1137 2668 3.46 121 258 12184 42 106 32 149 KCR-NYM-TOT-NYY-BOS .232 .309 .359 .669 82 76 82 466 64 138 343 134 19
10 Roy Halladay 169 86 255 1998 2010 21-33 346 320 58 19 6 .663 1 2297.1 2228 944 848 485 1714 3.32 136 196 9426 23 62 8 48 TOR-PHI .254 .296 .375 .671 75 46 46 408 36 223 178 52 2
11 Jimmy Key 168 106 274 1986 1998 25-37 372 357 31 13 4 .613 0 2317.0 2260 990 907 586 1409 3.52 122 224 9578 20 35 10 41 TOR-NYY-BAL .256 .303 .391 .695 85 77 63 419 50 210 91 72 35
12 Tim Hudson 165 87 252 1999 2010 23-34 345 344 23 11 0 .655 0 2288.1 2147 948 870 706 1541 3.42 128 184 9524 69 84 6 63 OAK-ATL .250 .311 .368 .679 80 85 44 372 47 250 142 67 16
13 CC Sabathia 157 88 245 2001 2010 20-29 322 322 30 11 0 .641 0 2127.0 1947 919 844 664 1787 3.57 122 188 8804 28 66 12 44 CLE-TOT-NYY .245 .306 .375 .681 81 59 62 402 33 192 143 74 17
14 Dwight Gooden 153 99 252 1986 2000 21-35 364 344 45 13 4 .607 3 2306.0 2205 1075 981 812 1749 3.83 104 190 9761 36 74 24 67 NYM-NYY-CLE-TOT .252 .319 .374 .694 92 75 64 399 48 172 383 110 28
15 Roy Oswalt 150 83 233 2001 2010 23-32 316 303 20 8 5 .644 0 2015.0 1918 765 712 467 1666 3.18 136 173 8292 32 71 5 23 HOU-TOT .252 .300 .384 .683 81 94 51 403 40 177 50 37 5
16 Ramon Martinez 135 88 223 1988 2001 20-33 301 297 37 20 1 .605 0 1895.2 1691 880 772 795 1427 3.67 106 170 8075 41 66 7 33 LAD-BOS-PIT .239 .319 .364 .684 91 76 50 316 33 116 156 95 8
17 Chris Carpenter 133 83 216 1997 2010 22-35 313 295 29 13 6 .616 0 1965.0 1946 916 829 569 1494 3.80 117 202 8237 18 77 2 48 TOR-STL .260 .317 .403 .720 89 63 45 396 33 202 41 71 2
18 Freddy Garcia 133 87 220 1999 2010 24-35 303 302 12 4 0 .605 0 1929.2 1896 934 885 611 1390 4.13 109 233 8177 35 60 8 80 SEA-TOT-CHW-PHI-DET .256 .316 .415 .730 90 46 50 407 35 168 178 38 12
19 Johan Santana 133 69 202 2000 2010 21-31 339 263 13 8 23 .658 1 1908.2 1609 708 658 528 1877 3.10 142 203 7763 12 36 12 67 MIN-NYM .226 .282 .367 .649 71 54 35 325 33 114 40 36 18
20 Carlos Zambrano 116 74 190 2001 2010 20-29 295 258 9 4 6 .611 0 1681.0 1432 724 653 767 1441 3.50 128 133 7164 36 87 5 56 CHC .231 .323 .350 .673 77 81 31 275 32 146 49 49 13
21 Josh Beckett 112 74 186 2001 2010 21-30 249 246 9 4 1 .602 0 1528.2 1431 730 672 471 1446 3.96 112 171 6412 17 56 3 47 FLA-BOS .246 .308 .400 .707 85 45 24 314 34 110 99 39 2
22 Mark Mulder 103 60 163 2000 2008 22-30 205 203 25 10 1 .632 0 1314.0 1352 657 611 412 834 4.18 106 141 5562 15 50 1 47 OAK-STL .269 .329 .416 .745 95 51 29 282 15 166 65 56 36
23 Bruce Hurst 103 67 170 1986 1994 28-36 233 232 62 18 0 .606 0 1588.0 1524 681 629 452 1169 3.56 112 159 6584 26 10 10 40 BOS-SDP-TOT-TEX .253 .305 .382 .687 90 73 32 262 19 120 104 63 29
24 Cliff Lee 102 61 163 2002 2010 23-31 222 218 20 5 1 .626 0 1409.0 1419 661 603 350 1085 3.85 112 150 5922 12 39 2 35 CLE-TOT .260 .307 .405 .712 89 32 40 300 21 100 47 22 4
25 Justin Verlander 83 52 135 2005 2010 22-27 165 165 10 3 0 .615 0 1064.1 987 482 450 353 965 3.81 118 94 4483 17 52 12 48 DET .245 .312 .372 .684 79 21 23 197 16 63 47 38 17
26 Adam Wainwright 66 35 101 2005 2010 23-28 182 119 8 2 11 .653 3 874.1 802 316 289 249 724 2.97 141 64 3624 10 23 0 21 STL .244 .300 .361 .660 78 42 21 162 15 77 33 22 4
27 Jered Weaver 64 39 103 2006 2010 23-27 144 144 4 2 0 .621 0 896.0 828 375 353 252 779 3.55 124 101 3717 11 15 1 19 LAA .243 .296 .395 .691 81 16 24 181 17 33 96 20 10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/4/2011.

.

I never would have figured Ramon Martinez to make this list, but, he did.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 4th, 2011 at 7:02 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Winning More Than Losing, Last Quarter Century”

  1. dukeofflatbush Says:

    12 of the first 14, played some of their career for the Yankees and Braves.

    In a completely unrelated and silly note; if the Braves start their season 55-46, which is likely, their franchise record becomes - 10,000-10,000. I'm not sure why I know or posted that.

  2. Notice how much better Mussina is than Pettitte on so many stats? Again, Andy ain't a HOFer.

  3. @2, Notice how much better Maddux is than Glavine on so many stats?

  4. @1 I noticed that as well... I'm hoping they'll be playing in Philly near either of the dates they do that... it would be neat to see..

  5. Wow...

    Tom Glavine has never made a relief appearance. I wonder what the record is for most games, all of which are starts.

  6. Hard luck Dave Stieb could have been there.

  7. @5, Dr. Doom -- Your hunch is correct; Glavine has that record by a mile.

    Most career games pitched, all starts:
    1. Tom Glavine, 682
    2. C.C. Sabathia, 322
    3. Ben Sheets, 241
    4. Juan Guzman, 240
    5. Jake Peavy, 232

    Those stats do not include the postseason, but none of those pitchers ever relieved in the postseason, either. Glavine's total starts are 717 if you count the postseason. His 682 regular-season starts ranks 12th in MLB history.

  8. @5
    Glavine has the record by a mile

    682 Tom Glavine
    322 CC Sabathia
    241 Ben Sheets
    240 Juan Guzman
    237 Dick McBride
    232 Jake Peavy

  9. Autin gets the victory this time... even uses the same "by a mile" phrasing. :-)

  10. "Wins > 1.5 Losses" ... more commonly known as, W% > .600.

  11. If I had a nickel for everytime some sabrehead declared "W-L records to be one of the most unreliable statistics".

    Look at that list!

  12. Here's another thing I love about this list.

    Almost all of these lists contain a handful of anomalies- freaks who don't belong for any reason.

    Bruce Hurst is probably the weakest name on that list, and Bruce Hurst was a pretty darn good pitcher.

  13. I was surprised that Curt Schilling did not make the list.

  14. @7 & 8

    Thanks fellas! I appreciate it. You know what, though? It does surprise me a little that it wasn't someone from earlier in the twentieth century - someone who played when rotations were smaller and guys finished many of the games they started. On the other hand, "back in the day," as it were, teams were more apt to throw the starting pitcher out there off-schedule - for example, relieving in a game where they REALLY needed it. Now, that doesn't happen as much to starters. Thus, Glavine and his bizarre GS/G ratio.

    @13

    Schilling is just short - .597. I'd assume (without looking, of course) that has a lot to do with those AWFUL Phillies teams for which he played earlier in his career.

    @11

    Bob Gibson, Curt Schilling, Warren Spahn, John Smoltz, and WALTER JOHNSON don't/wouldn't make this list. That's why W-L is garbage. Well, not total garbage: it tells us something, but what it tells us is less important than other things.

  15. WinsAndLosses Says:

    @14:
    W-L IS complete garbage. I cannot believe this topic continues to be debated. I think it was proven when the Orioles edged the Braves 4-3 in the 1988 World Series.

  16. @15

    I think you're confusing wins and losses on the team level and on the individual pitching level. Also, notice please that I didn't say "complete garbage" - in fact, I said "not total garbage." But I really, REALLY love it when people ignore what other people say, and decide that it says something else. It's incredibly respectful.

    But as to your point, yes - that's one valid reason to consider wins and losses. However, sometimes that doesn't tell the whole story. A pitcher can post great "peripheral" numbers and not get a lot of wins or losses, just because his team is bad. Or, he could be Chris Capuano in 2005: 3.99 ERA, 1.384 WHIP, 18-12. He was not good that year, but won a lot of games, because of good run support. Ben Sheets had a 3.33 ERA, and 1.066 WHIP, but went 10-9. Chris Capuano was not better than Ben Sheets in 2005, though he won more games, and at a higher percentage.

  17. WinsAndLosses Says:

    @15
    I think you're taking yourself too seriously. I think it has been acknowledged for some time that wins and losses are not the 'be all, end all' in the individual sense. For you to say: "Whelp, Walter Johnson isn't on this list... therefore we finally have the proof" is ignoring the fact that while he was playing it was acknowledged and implicitly understood that his lack of being on championship teams was not a proper gauge of his individual talent.

    I assume next you'll say, "Holy cow, Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA/258 ERA+ in 1968 and he still lost 9 games. This proves that W-L doesn't mean anything" and then pretend or believe that this is an altogether new thought.

    So, to sum up: Wins and Losses has always been considered flawed when trying to gauge a player's value. To pretend that this is a new thought is the height of arrogance.

  18. WinsAndLosses Says:

    I think I have found a way to prove the point that Wins and ERA are the most important statistics ever. I think you will find this original research will make you rethink everything you ever thought.

    1959 Omaha Cardinals
    Frank Barnes (15-12, 2.87)
    Bob Gibson (9-9, 3.07)

    1984 Pikeville Cubs
    Tim Rice (6-4, 2.53)
    Greg Maddux (6-2, 2.63)

    I think we finally have the proof that Wins has always been considered the most important factor in determining a player's present and future value. This is further backed up by the fact that Frank Barnes and Tim Rice went on to Hall of Fame careers while no one remembers (or probably even has heard of) Bob Gibson or Greg Maddux.

    This also shows that ERA is the most important tie-breaker and second most important statistic. Imagine the impact on baseball history had the Chicago Cubs ignored the fact that Tim Rice had the same wins as AND a better ERA than Greg Maddux and instead decided to call up Maddux? The horror.

    This along with other examples I am planning on finding shows, beyond a doubt, that Wins is the most important followed by ERA.

  19. @17, 18

    I'm glad we agree that wins and losses are not the most important statistic.

    Also, I don't think I have said anything arrogant, but if I have, I apologize.

    I never claimed I had any new thoughts on the subject, as you acknowledge you do not. While I do not believe this means can still talk about it, something I said clearly upset you, and I'm sorry for that.

  20. Whoops. There's a "not" in my last sentence that I forgot to remove. Sorry.

  21. Schilling was one of those touted as underrated by wins and losses in the 90s. From 1988-2000, he was only 110-95 but with a whopping 123 ERA+. The Pythag winning percentage for that ERA+ is .602. He "should" have been 123-82. No one was surprised when his career took off in the 00s.

  22. #15 Love that solid statistical analysis.

    One single anomaly throws decades of stats out the window. Especially one as overwhelming as a 4-3 WS win.

    W-L is "complete garbage", yet look at how it unites this amazing group of pitchers.

  23. @8, DavidRF -- Spooky timing & wording! But kudos to you for including Dick McBride. I've recently started extending my Play Index searches to 1893 or even 1876 (instead of the default 1901) -- but you, sir, have taken it all the way back to the dawn of time.

    I was not familiar with Dick McBride, but I see now that he was the Athletics' pitcher in 1872 & '74 -- as in, he started and completed all 47 games in '72 and 55 games in '74. In his spare time, he managed the club; at least he didn't have to give any thought to developing a bullpen.

  24. WinsAndLosses Says:

    @22
    Great post. You may want to check your World Series facts though. I'm pretty sure if you check the 1988 standings you'll get the joke.

  25. yes, but how is their FIP?

  26. @23
    Careful when you use the phrase "dawn of time". McBride was the captain of the Athletic club for a few years before the founding of the NA. His playing days date back to the Civil War. Some stats are available from before 1871 but they are a bit sketchy. Who knows... maybe he pitched in relief *once* during that time and it knocks him off the list. I do see him playing some 2B in the 1860s.

    If going back further doesn't change the list, then it just makes Glavine's mark look more impressive.

  27. Mike Felber Says:

    W-L at the extremes TEND to show excellent pitchers. Still it is a poor arbiter of individual performance, & reflects team success to a good degree even with the outliers. That over time many of the very best-& some who make this list by being good but playing on excellent teams-are represented on such a list, does not show W-L to rank pitchers well.

    Even just here, it does a poor job of ranking guys amongst themselves, let alone who was omitted. For example Clearly Martinez, with easily the best ERA + of the modern era, would deserve to rank around #1, not #8, if quality per start was reflected here.

  28. Pedro comes out smelling like a rose no matter what type of stats you like (Classic or SABR). He has the best W-L% and ERA+ of pitchers on the list.

  29. Note to dukeofflatbush: The Braves have a franchise WL % of exactly .500 since 1876 but they've only had three seasons where their record was excaxtly .500. Likewise the Tigers, who have a franchise record of .506 since 1901 but only finished at exactly .500 twice (1954 and 2010). If the pattern holds, the Tigers should do it again sometime between 2063 and 2066.