• Starting Rotations With 3+ Aces, Since 1990

    Posted by on December 7th, 2016 · Comments (3)

    Only the White Sox won a ring.

    Comments on Starting Rotations With 3+ Aces, Since 1990

    1. December 7th, 2016 | 1:17 pm

      This was used to make the cut: IP>=200, GS>=30 and ERA+ >=120

    2. KPOcala
      December 7th, 2016 | 10:07 pm

      Funny how the NY “Press” used to talk about the Yankees having “four aces”. Maybe someone heard them on an oldies station, 😉

    3. waltcoogan
      December 17th, 2016 | 2:49 am

      @ Steve L.:

      … good information, and to me it suggests the general randomness of postseason results.

      Of course, the criteria is somewhat arbitrary, especially in this day and age where Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester, the Cubs’ two best starting pitchers in 2016 and two of the best in the National League (two of the three NL Cy Young finalists, in fact) failed to pitch 200 innings. And the Braves certainly would have featured “three aces” in 1998 and 1999 if one makes an exception for John Smoltz, who failed to pitch 200 innings in either season due to an ailing elbow (after hurling over 250 innings in both 1996 and 1997) yet was available and effective down the stretch of both regular seasons, heading into the postseason. In 1998, in fact, Smoltz constituted one of the league’s hottest starting pitchers down the stretch as he finished 17-3 with a 2.90 ERA for the year, including a 12-1 record and 2.29 ERA after the All-Star break (4-0, 0.67 in four September starts). Smoltz proved pretty hot down the stretch in 1999, too, posting a 2.90 ERA in six starts in August and then a 2.14 ERA in six starts in September.

      And you should make an adjustment for the 144-game, strike-shortened season of 1995 where Smoltz and Tom Glavine only failed to reach 200 innings (or 30 starts, a mark that Greg Maddux also did not attain) because of the shortened schedule. Thus 1995 would constitute the other post-eighties exception in terms of a team with “three aces” winning the World Series. Indeed, Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz all ranked in the top seven in the National League in ERA in 1995, in the top five in ERA+, and in the top five in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings (Maddux was first, Glavine second). Smoltz placed second in total strikeouts and Maddux third; Maddux tied for the league lead in innings pitched, with Glavine sixth.

      By the way, the Braves would have also featured “three aces” in 2002 if Maddux had pitched 2/3 more of one inning. Indeed, he ranked second in the NL in ERA that season while throwing 199 and 1/3 innings.

      And in 2002 and 2003, Boston’s Pedro Martinez led the majors in ERA, ERA+, FIP, and winning percentage both seasons without quite throwing 200 innings either year. For modern times, 190 innings, or 185 innings (and, say, 28 or 29 starts), might actually constitute a better barometer. One might then compensate by raising the ERA+ minimum to, say, 125.

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