• Best Pitchers In Baseball 1971-1974

    Posted by on June 28th, 2012 · Comments (8)

    Wilbur Wood was just about the king of the hill during this time:

    Rk Player WAR From To Age G GS W L IP ERA ERA+
    1 Wilbur Wood 34.2 1971 1974 29-32 184 181 90 69 1390.1 2.86 127
    2 Tom Seaver 30.8 1971 1974 26-29 139 138 71 43 1074.1 2.45 143
    3 Bert Blyleven 27.8 1971 1974 20-23 154 153 70 66 1171.2 2.67 136
    4 Gaylord Perry 27.8 1971 1974 32-35 156 155 80 60 1289.0 2.64 135
    5 Fergie Jenkins 25.5 1971 1974 28-31 154 154 83 53 1213.2 3.14 121
    6 Mickey Lolich 22.8 1971 1974 30-33 169 169 79 64 1320.0 3.31 110
    7 Steve Carlton 21.8 1971 1974 26-29 157 156 76 52 1204.0 3.10 119
    8 Phil Niekro 21.3 1971 1974 32-35 163 141 64 49 1098.1 2.91 131
    9 Jon Matlack 18.8 1971 1974 21-24 109 106 42 44 788.1 2.71 130
    10 Nolan Ryan 18.3 1971 1974 24-27 152 145 72 62 1094.2 2.88 115
    11 Luis Tiant 18.2 1971 1974 30-33 137 102 58 39 834.2 3.01 125
    12 Don Sutton 17.9 1971 1974 26-29 144 143 73 40 1070.1 2.57 131
    13 Don Wilson 16.9 1971 1974 26-29 138 126 53 49 940.1 2.83 122
    14 Bob Gibson 16.3 1971 1974 35-38 123 123 58 47 958.2 3.01 118
    15 Jim Palmer 15.9 1971 1974 25-28 137 136 70 40 1031.1 2.54 134
    16 Catfish Hunter 15.7 1971 1974 25-28 152 151 88 35 1143.2 2.68 122
    17 Joe Coleman 15.3 1971 1974 24-27 160 158 76 50 1140.0 3.45 106
    18 Dave Roberts 13.7 1971 1974 26-29 145 128 53 47 915.0 3.10 111
    19 Jim Kaat 13.5 1971 1974 32-35 132 127 59 42 875.1 3.30 112
    20 Andy Messersmith 13.0 1971 1974 25-28 135 131 62 40 988.1 2.77 119
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/28/2012.

    .
    I wonder if R.A. Dickey can have a four year run like the one that Wood had?

    Comments on Best Pitchers In Baseball 1971-1974

    1. 77yankees
      June 28th, 2012 | 8:02 pm

      Even in the context of the four man rotation days of the 70s, 181 starts over a four year period is unfathomable.

    2. Evan3457
      June 29th, 2012 | 8:11 am

      As the ERA+ shows, Seaver was the best pitcher in baseball at that time.

      In the early days of the DH in the AL, the top starters were still starting 40-41-42 games a year, because of 4 man rotations. Wood throwing the knuckleball allowed him to start 12 more games than Lolich in that period, mostly in 1972 and 1973, when he started 49 and 48 games, respectively.

    3. June 29th, 2012 | 9:10 am

      @ Evan3457:
      I would trade those few points in ERA+ that seaver had for the almost 400 extra innings that Wood provided.

    4. MJ Recanati
      June 29th, 2012 | 9:37 am

      @ Steve L.:
      It’s 316 IP which, in those days, was probably a season’s worth. Doubtful that Dickey could recreate that same magic that Wood had.

    5. June 29th, 2012 | 10:06 am

      FWIW, I wasn’t expecting Dickey to match Wood. I was just wondering if he could be one of the best pitchers in the league for 4 years in a row.

    6. Evan3457
      June 29th, 2012 | 10:46 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      @ Evan3457:
      I would trade those few points in ERA+ that seaver had for the almost 400 extra innings that Wood provided.

      Well, here I’m not thinking about total WAR for the 4 years. Wood averaged 1 WAR a year more than Seaver. But at the time, if you had asked anyone around the game of baseball who the best pitcher in the game was; who’d they pick to start just one game if they absolutely had to win, and it would’ve been nearly unanimous: Seaver. If you’d polled 100 baseball writers and front office personnel, and asked them “one game, Seaver or Wood” the survey would’ve gone 100-0 for Seaver, or something very close to that.

    7. Evan3457
      June 29th, 2012 | 11:00 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      FWIW, I wasn’t expecting Dickey to match Wood. I was just wondering if he could be one of the best pitchers in the league for 4 years in a row.

      Amazingly enough, Dickey ranks 22nd among major league pitchers in WAR for the seasons 2009-2012, largely on the basis of his huge 1st half this year. But he had seasons that are pretty good under sharp analysis in both 2010 and 2011, over 3 WAR in both.

      If he has a 2nd half about as good as the 1st half (not likely, I know), then he cracks the top 20, and might be as high as 18 when the season ends.

      If he pitches like 2010 or 2011 for the next year and a half, he’ll be about about 13th at the end of 2013. If he has a 2nd half like this 1st half, then goes back to 2010-11 form in 2013, he’ll be about 10th. If he pitches this way for the next year and a half, he’ll be about 4th or 5th.

      Shocking, ain’t it?

    8. MJ Recanati
      June 29th, 2012 | 1:49 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      FWIW, I wasn’t expecting Dickey to match Wood. I was just wondering if he could be one of the best pitchers in the league for 4 years in a row.

      Doubt it.

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