In the American League with its designated hitter, an ERA of 4.00 is generally considered “good”. This year, there are 45 starting pitchers with a ERA (the leveler of all the stats for effectiveness) higher than that which is 43% of the total.
In and of itself, that may or may not be a startling stat as I have not done research over prior years as a comparison. But when you look at many of the names at the bottom of that list, you find some very surprising entries and you have to wonder…….is there something going on here or is this just an aberration that will adjust itself ?
Consider the inclusion of these established pitchers who, while not necessarily names you would imagine making a trip to Cooperstown, still carry some juice in maintaining their role as a starter on their respective teams.
Starting at the very bottom or worst and working up we have Michael Pineda, Anibel Sanchez, Clay Bucholtz, Phil Hughes, Adam Wainright, Dallas Keutchel (Cy Young winner), Colin McHugh, Chris Archer, RJ Dickey (Cy Young winner), Francisco Lariano, Zach Greinke, Corey Kluber (Cy Young), Justin Verlander, Matt Harvey, and David Price all over four with many in the fives and sixes.
So what could possibly be going on here………..
As is the case with virtually everything, there is no one size fits all explanation. With David Price the highly sought after free agent this past winter, his teammates seem to have an inordinate affection for him and they score a ton of runs for him resulting in his having only one loss for the Red Sox.
Justin Verlander has Kate Upton so what else does he need. Chris Archer pitches for the punch less Rays so who cares……..Adam Wainright might be a pitchers version of David Wright and injuries have simply overtaken his career. Clay Buchholtz may be “soft” and needs a mommy to keep his career alive while RA Dickey fooled ’em all with that one great season after toiling in the minors for morethan a decade.
It could also be simply even more proof that success at this level is often fleeting and the law of averages is bound to level the playing field. The Darwinian separation of the men from the boys if you will.
Which makes someone like Clayton Kershaw even more phenomenal than his performance to date this year. Over the course of time, cream rises to the top………Greinke and possibly Harvey have a chance to rebound.