Watching Buehrle raise his game every year in interleague and this years results makes you wonder how his career would be looked at if he would have started out there. Pitching to AL lineups in a bandbox didn’t do him any favors. This was a pretty easy thing to see coming when you take a look at his career interleague numbers and peripherals.
I’d like to see a stat for NL pitchers that shows how often they whiff the opposing pitcher. From that you could have an adjusted K/9 stat to distinguish between AL/NL pitchers (factoring interleague play, of course), and you could plot NL Buehrle against AL Buehrle to see how tight the correlation is with his improved K/BB ratio.
Just in terms of pure counting stats, the NL has to be worth an average of at least +1 K per start, or 25-30 per season (my guess).
Definitely. One of the first questions that came to mind was how much of his strikeout increase could be attributed to pitcher strikeouts.
But a league switch is certainly not a guarantee of increased strikeouts. For instance, I was really surprised that in Santana’s first year as a Met, his K-rate went down substantially from where it had been as a Twin — from around 26% to around 21%.
Buehrle has 10 strikeouts in 34 plate appearances against pitchers. Replace that with a DH, at his career strikeout rate, and he’s gotten about 5 extra strikeouts. So, lets say he would have 68 strikeouts if he didn’t face pitchers. That reduces his strikeout rate to 5.07 from 5.44. Still higher than the last few years. He hasn’t walked a pitcher, but in so few plate appearances, at his career walk rate, that would only add about 1-2 walks, raising his walk rate to 1.43 ish from 1.34. His strikeout to walk ratio would decline, but it would still be much better than his last several years.
I know that pitcher PAs are sometimes removed from things like NL league averages for batting stats, but I’m not sure if pitching stats are similarly “controlled” for PAs by opposing pitchers. It is an interesting idea.
Something that just came to mind, that I haven’t seen talked about as much is; would being in the NL lower your walk rate as well? That could also account for his career best strikeout to walk ratio. Higher strikeout rates and lower walk rates attributed to the fact that he gets to both strikeout and not walk pitchers.
Buehrle has had such an interesting career. Lets say ZIPS is right and he gets 5 more wins this yeah, and say he accumulates 1.2 more WAR. That would put him at 175 and 49. If he pitches through his 41 year old season (quite possible), that would be 8 more season. Let’s be a little optimistic and say he averages 12 wins and 2 WAR over those 8 years.
That puts him at 271 wins and 73 WAR. if that is all you say, that is a fringy HOFer Given that he does not rely on power, I am not sure if the regular aging curves will apply. I am sure there is someone much smarter than me will know. 271 wins seems like a big number going forward, given we might not see another 300 game winner. (I know, I know, wins suck, but that is still a nice career WAR) He also has 3 GG, and may get a few more.
Do I think given the above he would a HOF worthy? No. But those are pretty lofty numbers so who knows what those crazy voters will do.
Him and Rolen are going to be two interesting cases.
Don’t forget that Fangraphs’ WAR doesn’t take into account Buehrle’s defense, nor his tremendous ability to shut down the running game. Prorating the DRS stat to the beginning of his career, Buehrle’s saved about 90 runs over average in his career. That’s an extra 9 wins, which significantly affects the WAR total.