• Best Pitchers Who Threw Left & Batted Right

    Posted by on March 11th, 2012 · Comments (16)

    Since 1901 -

    Rk Player WAR From To Age W L SV IP ERA ERA+
    1 Randy Johnson 91.8 1988 2009 24-45 303 166 2 4135.1 3.29 136
    2 Carl Hubbell 64.4 1928 1943 25-40 253 154 33 3590.1 2.98 130
    3 Tommy John 59.0 1963 1989 20-46 288 231 4 4710.1 3.34 111
    4 Jerry Koosman 58.8 1967 1985 24-42 222 209 17 3839.1 3.36 110
    5 Sandy Koufax 54.5 1955 1966 19-30 165 87 9 2324.1 2.76 131
    6 Eppa Rixey 51.2 1912 1933 21-42 266 251 14 4494.2 3.15 115
    7 Mark Langston 47.1 1984 1999 23-38 179 158 0 2962.2 3.97 108
    8 Jimmy Key 45.7 1984 1998 23-37 186 117 10 2591.2 3.51 122
    9 Rube Waddell 45.1 1901 1910 24-33 178 127 4 2659.2 2.11 134
    10 Wilbur Wood 45.0 1961 1978 19-36 164 156 57 2684.0 3.24 114
    11 Wilbur Cooper 43.7 1912 1926 20-34 216 178 14 3480.0 2.89 116
    12 Nap Rucker 41.7 1907 1916 22-31 134 134 14 2375.1 2.42 119
    13 Larry French 40.0 1929 1942 21-34 197 171 17 3152.0 3.44 114
    14 Chris Short 35.5 1959 1973 21-35 135 132 18 2325.0 3.43 104
    15 Preacher Roe 31.8 1938 1954 22-38 127 84 10 1914.1 3.43 116
    16 Charlie Leibrandt 31.7 1979 1993 22-36 140 119 2 2308.0 3.71 109
    17 Bobby Shantz 30.6 1949 1964 23-38 119 99 48 1935.2 3.38 119
    18 Slim Sallee 30.4 1908 1921 23-36 174 143 36 2821.2 2.56 114
    19 Ken Raffensberger 28.4 1939 1954 21-36 119 154 16 2151.2 3.60 110
    20 John Hiller 28.2 1965 1980 22-37 87 76 125 1242.0 2.83 134
    21 Ken Holtzman 27.5 1965 1979 19-33 174 150 3 2867.1 3.49 105
    22 Greg Swindell 27.4 1986 2002 21-37 123 122 7 2233.1 3.86 107
    23 Hooks Wiltse 26.5 1904 1915 24-35 139 90 33 2112.1 2.47 113
    24 Max Lanier 25.5 1938 1953 22-37 108 82 17 1619.1 3.01 126
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/10/2012.

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    It’s a small list of those like this who did well, on the mound.

    Comments on Best Pitchers Who Threw Left & Batted Right

    1. Jim TreshFan
      March 11th, 2012 | 2:38 pm

      And one of the reasons why, when it comes to WAR, I’m a professed pacifist: Jerry Koosman a better pitcher than Sandy Koufax based upon 1,500 more innings pitched. Anyone else out there besides Webster who puts Koosman before Koufax?

    2. Corey Italiano
      March 11th, 2012 | 2:59 pm

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      Your argument is silly though because WAR is a counting stat. Koufax pitched in 40% less innings than Koosman.

      I’m not saying WAR is without it’s flaws, but this is not one of them.

    3. Jim TreshFan
      March 11th, 2012 | 4:07 pm

      @ Corey Italiano:
      I’m sorry that you missed the point entirely. The list was the “Best” pitchers who threw left and batted right. Not the “Highest WARs” for pitchers who threw left and batted right (for which my argument would have indeed been “silly”). But I am interested in why you imply that Koosman was a better pitcher than Koufax regardless of WAR.

    4. Evan3457
      March 11th, 2012 | 4:42 pm

      In the comparison being debated above, plain ol’ wins is just as silly as WAR, for it shows Koosman, a fine pitcher for many years, won 57 more games than Koufax.

      How about this…

      Break each pitchers innings into seasonal groups. During the era in which both pitched, the average innings by the league leader was a little over 300 innings. Take, say, 85% of that figure, or 255 innings, to be a “season”.

      Koosman’s WAR per 255 innings: 3.9 (14.7 actual “wins”)
      Koufax’ WAR per 255 innings: 6.0 (18.1 actual “wins”)

      I think this shows that, as fine a pitcher as Koosman was, Koufax was much better. Everybody happy now?

    5. March 11th, 2012 | 5:21 pm

      Is Koufax better than Koosman? Then I guess Munson is better than Fisk and DiMaggio is better than Cobb too, eh?

    6. Evan3457
      March 11th, 2012 | 11:05 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      Is Koufax better than Koosman? Then I guess Munson is better than Fisk and DiMaggio is better than Cobb too, eh?

      ?

      Munson was not better than Fisk. Not by totals; not by value per season, assuming Munson had not died, and had gone on to a 2-3 year decline phase. At the time of his accident, Munson’s catching days were coming to an end. His knees were shot. He couldn’t really hit well enough to support his staying on at 1st. Fisk’s career was 80% longer, and he was good enough to keep catching into his 40′s.

      There’s no real evidence that DiMaggio was better than Cobb. Certainly not in career value, nor at their respective peaks. DiMaggio best 5 years in WAR: 8.6, 8.4, 8.0, 7.3, 6.9. Cobb’s 5 best: 11.9, 11.4, 11.1, 11.0, 10.6.

      But Koufax was certainly a greater pitcher than Koosman. Koufax was on top of his game when he left. He could’ve kept going, but he felt no need to play with pain from his arthritic elbow. Most athletes keep going until they’re forced out by poor performance. Munson was near the end. DiMaggio knew he was at the end. Koufax retired on top, having won his 3rd Cy Young and 3rd pitching triple crown in his last season. In my opinion, the three are not really comparable.

    7. Jim TreshFan
      March 12th, 2012 | 12:30 am

      Alright, let’s put this to bed. For those of us who were around then Jerry Koosman was just about the best lefthander in baseball during his 1st two seasons (1968-1969) during which he went 36-21 (.632) with an ERA+ of 152 while making the All Star team both years. Over his next 16 seasons (1970-1985) Koosman went 186-186 (.500) with an ERA+ of 107 while never being named to an All Star team. When Koosman became eligble for the Hall of Fame in 1991 he received a total of 4 votes (0.9%) and was dropped from further consideration by the BBWAA. So there you have it, Koosman started off in a blaze of glory. I really did believe he was going to be something special based on his first two years. But for the overwhelming majority of his career he was nothing special. Now I do understand that he would have a higher WAR than Koufax based on 1,500 more innings of work; but I don’t understand how that would make him a greater pitcher than Koufax.

    8. Raf
      March 12th, 2012 | 6:38 am

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      You’re overthinking it. Koosman has a higher WAR (again, a counting stat) because he pitched more innings and overall played longer than Koufax. You would’ve gotten the same results as if you sorted the list by Wins (another counting stat.

      Not that Koosman is or was better than Koufax, but there is some value in pitching some 1500 more innings than Koufax, value that is reflected in the WAR totals.

      It’s just as impressive that Koufax has a high WAR total despite a truncated career of which half was exceptional.

    9. March 12th, 2012 | 8:28 am

      This is the old debate of whether it’s better to be the best in the league for part of a 10 season career or to be a near All-Star for 15 seasons.

    10. Jim TreshFan
      March 12th, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      @ Steve L.:
      The answer, so far as the BBWAA is concerned is the former. To whit: Sandy Koufax was elected to the Hall on the first ballot, Jerry Koosman received 0.9% of the vote on his first try—meaning that 99.1% of the BBWAA voting rejected him. The same is true of Jackie Robinson and Reggie Smith. Smith had the higher WAR but when it came to the Hall voting he received just 0.7%—meaning he was rejected by 99.3% of those voting—while Robinson got in on the first ballot. Of course there were other circumstances surrounding Robinson’s election, but I have no doubt in my mind that Jackie Robinson was the better player. Anyone else?

    11. Raf
      March 12th, 2012 | 6:39 pm

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      Tim Raines and Bert Blyleven

    12. Jim TreshFan
      March 12th, 2012 | 7:34 pm

      @ Raf:
      Sorry, Blyleven was not a first ballot Hall Of Famer, and Raines received more than 1% of the vote his first time on the ballot, so neither qualify as examples.

    13. Evan3457
      March 12th, 2012 | 7:45 pm

      I personally hope Raines eventually makes it. He’s the 2nd best leadoff hitter of the modern era, but had the misfortune of direct “competition” and comparison with the best: Rickey.
      =====================================================
      In Sandy Koufax’ case he led his Dodgers to two titles in 5 years, and, taking advantage of some of the best conditions for a pitcher since the deadball days, was so thoroughly dominant as to become legend.

      Mets’ fans still grumble about Koosman losing the Rookie of the Year in 1968 to Johnny Bench, but he was actually the 3rd highest pitcher in the MVP vote, after Gibson.

      (No votes for the Cy Young for Koosman, I think because there were only 1st place votes, and Gibson got all 20 of ‘em. No other ordinal votes are recorded at BRef.)

      And Koosman also took advantage of the absolute peak of pro-pitching conditions in 1968, the worst year for offense since before Babe Ruth.

    14. Raf
      March 12th, 2012 | 11:08 pm

      @ Jim TreshFan:
      Of course they qualified. That the BBWAA doesn’t or didn’t recognize their accomplishments don’t take away from them.

      And why are you comparing Robinson to Smith? Different eras, different positions, different types of player…

    15. Jim TreshFan
      March 12th, 2012 | 11:52 pm

      @ Raf:
      The stipulation was a 1st ballot inductee (like Koufax) vs. a candidate who received less than 1% of the vote on his 1st try (like Koosman). That’s a huge difference. But I happen to agree with Evan here. I do believe Raines makes the Hall eventually. I don’t have the same feeling about Koosman.

    16. Jim TreshFan
      March 13th, 2012 | 12:16 am

      @ Raf:
      One more thing and I’ll put this to rest for good. Bob Feller (266-162, ERA+ of 122 in 3,827 IP) was a first ballot Hall of Famer. Rick Reuschel (214-191 ERA+ of 114 in 3,548 1/3 IP) received less than 1% on his 1st try. Which of these two was the better pitcher? According to WAR it was Reuschel.

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