Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, August 12, 2021

vapor trails
I don’t dig the beisbol, but even I’m impressed by 43-year-old Roger Clemensmind-boggling pitching performance this year, as expounded by John Romano.

In fact, Romano thinks there’s not enough noise being generated over The Rocket’s latter-day resurgence:

It’s been nearly 40 years since a pitcher has had an ERA so low. And no one has ever had a better ERA relative to that season’s league average.

So why no prime time cut-ins? Why no breathless discussions of his greatness? Why is the Hall of Fame not following him from town to town?

Maybe because he has been screwed by teammates in Houston. The way he’s pitching, Clemens should be 18-2. But, because of a lack of offense and bullpen collapses, he is 11-4. In three starts, he’s left with the score tied 0-0. In four others, relievers have blown a save.

Ah, you say. There’s the flaw. He can no longer throw deep into games. Um, not really. Coming into the season, he had averaged exactly seven innings per start in his career. This season, he’s averaging 62/3 innings.

No matter how you dissect it, the guy’s been phenomenal.

And he’s 43.

In the print edition of today’s paper, there was a chart accompanying this column detailing pitchers who dominated their peers by percentage. Unfortunately, the chart didn’t make it to the online edition. So I’ve re-created it here:


Others have posted lower ERAs, particularly in the dead ball era, but no pitcher has been so far ahead of the league curve as Clemens has this season. His 1.38 ERA is 68 percent better than the NL average of 4.30. In other words, no pitcher has ever been this much better than his peers:

Pitcher Year ERA League ERA % Difference
Roger Clemens 2005 1.38 4.30 68.0%
Dutch Leonard 1914 0.96 2.73 64.8%
Pedro Martinez 2000 1.74 4.91 64.6%
Greg Maddux 1994 1.56 4.21 63.0%
Bob Gibson 1968 1.12 2.99 62.5%
Walter Johnson 1913 1.14 2.93 61.1%
Greg Maddux 1995 1.63 4.18 61.0%
Mordecai Brown 1906 1.04 2.62 60.3%

It’s a very pertinent way of looking at a player’s performance — really, the best way. The best measure of your performance is how you do against your competition. Clemens’ separation from the pack in the here-and-now, by such an impressive margin, is what counts here.

- Costa Tsiokos, Fri 08/12/2021 09:26:26 PM
Category: Baseball | Permalink |

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