Last off-season, I took a look at the ERA+ distribution of the ‘rotations’ of all the MLB teams, and updated it partially through this season. Now with the season over, I’m redoing the numbers. Once again, the methodology was basically: top five pitchers on each team by numbers of game started, then sorted by ERA+. Now, there are a couple problems, due to the stranger rotations we’ve got going on, but that’s restricted to a couple of teams. Very few teams have a consistent fifth starter throughout the year, as well, but as I said in the earlier post, I think this is still the best basic approach to get at this concept.
Of course, I also realized that I had accidentally used the mean, when I meant to use the median, but now I’ve fixed that.
The thing that is nice is that the two sets of numbers from 2011 and 2012 line up very well. This actually is pretty expected, given that ERA+ is adjusted to league average every year. Unless the comparative numbers of awesome and terrible pitchers shift, the averages should all come back to about the same level.
Here’s the comparison:
|Starter 1||Starter 2||Starter 3||Starter 4||Starter 5|
Unlike in 2011, the Reds had an excellent rotation in 2012. Cueto, Latos, Arroyo, Bailey, and Leake were one of only three rotations where every pitcher was in the top quartile for their ‘position’, along with the Rays and the Tigers. It’s unsurprising, as the strength of the rotation has been an obvious strong point to this team all year long.
While Cueto and, to lesser extents, Bailey, Latos, and Arroyo have been great and acclaimed as such, Mike Leake did suck a little bit. But I don’t think he’s given enough credit for how little he sucked. Mike Leaked suck less than the vast majority of fifth-best starters, and he did so all year long. Yes, Mike Leake allowed kind a lot of runs, but he was pitching in Great American Ball Park, and overall, he gave the Reds as good a chance to win the game as we could probably expect, every fifth days.
Also, he’s young. We pay him barely anything and there’s tons of possibility for improvement. I mean, there hasn’t really been a lot of Leake criticism, but there shouldn’t be any at all. He’s the best! (…fifth starter.) (Ok, the fifth best.)