Among the items in The Bill James Handbook 2011 is the Bill James Leader (boards). And, for each league, therein, we can find the leaders in “Cheap Wins.”
What’s a “Cheap Win”? It’s when a starting pitcher wins a game where his Game Score was under 50. (See our Stat Glossary if you don’t know what “Game Score” is all about.)
Related, here are the 2010 American League leaders in “Cheap Wins” – min. 5 “Cheap Wins”:
- John Lackey, BOS 6
- Phil Hughes, NYY 5
Yup. The Yankees offense really helped Phil Hughes get his 18-8 record last season. And, I would offer that a more reasonable W-L record for Hughes last year would be something like 14-12. In fact, if you look at Hughes’ 2011 Neutral Wins and Losses via the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia, that’s his record. (If you don’t now what Neutral Wins and Losses are, again, see the Stat Glossary.)
This is all good food for thought for those who believe that Hughes is ready to step into the “front end” of the Yankees starting rotation next season. And, if Brian Cashman and company are thinking Phil is ready to be counted on as a “#3″ starter (after Sabathia and Cliff Lee, assuming the Yankees sign the latter), that’s a mistake.
Don’t let the 18-8 record fool you. If not for the luck he had last season, Hughes would be right up there with A.J. Burnett and Javy Vazquez – not in terms of sucky stats, but, rather, in terms of being just about a .500 pitcher (as those two have been most of their career).
This is not to say that Hughes cannot take it to the next level in 2011, or, that he can’t get lucky again next season. Anything can happen. But, if the Yankees, or their fans, book on it happening, that’s just wishful thinking at this point.