Best Rotation Ever? Best. Rotation. Ever.

Last winter when the Phillies were revealed as the mystery team that scooped up Cliff Lee off the open market, every baseball mind in the country pondered: Is this the best rotation ever? Dave Cameron chimed in on the topic and concluded this was no case of hyperbole. The consensus around the blogosphere was that entering the 2011 season, Philadelphia had collected the most talented group of starters baseball had ever seen – at least on paper.  Even if you only paid attention to the Phillies peripherally this season, you certainly know the trio of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Lee didn’t disappoint. But the label of being the best rotation ever is a towering level to live up to. How did the rotation – on a whole – stack up against its historical competition for the title of “Best Rotation Ever”?

The following numbers and rankings are composed from all of the starts made for each team, not the combination of totals for each player that made a start. Check out the leaderboards here.

21.6% K% (5th ranking of all-time)

The only collective group of starters that checks in ahead of the 2011 Phillies with any reasonable claim as the best rotation of all time is the 2002 Diamondbacks (22.8%). The year following a World Series title, both Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling fanned 334 and 316 batters, respectively. In the heyday of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, the Braves never posted a K% above 20.2% – a rate they hit in 1998.

5.1% BB% (9th ranking since 1916)

We don’t have data before 1916, so this will have to do. Outside of the 2005 Twins (4.3%) who ranked number one on the list, the other seven teams ahead of the 2011 Philadelphia squad were from 1933 or earlier. Checking in again on the Braves, the lowest BB% they could muster with the three future Hall of Famers was 6.1% in 1997.

4.22 K/BB (1st ranking of all time)

It should be no surprise based on the above rates to see the 2011 Phillies grab this spot – and it’s not particularly close either. The 2002 Diamondbacks (3.88) show up in the two spot and the 2003 Yankees ranked third all time with 3.53 punch outs for every free pass. By the time the highest ranking Braves squad appears at the eighth spot with 3.16 K/BB, we’re already down a full integer.

77 FIP- (1st ranking since 1900)

Given that strikeouts and walks are two of the inputs to FIP calculations, you could probably see this coming. The Braves of the late 90’s and the 2002 Diamondbacks fill out the rest of the top five.  The 1996 through 1998 Braves were able to find their way into these rankings by their ability to keep the ball in the ballpark – posting 0.70, 0.64 and 0.70 HR/9 rates, respectively – in the most dominating homerun hitting era in baseball history. For reference, the 2011 Phillies gave up 0.69 dingers per nine innings.

74 ERA- (11th ranking since 1900)

There was definitely something in the water on the North side of Chicago before 1920 as the Cubs take the first five spots. The 1998 Braves (73) and 1997 Braves (74) are the only starting squads after 1944 ahead of the 2011 Phillies on this list. While ERA isn’t a good metric for evaluating talent or predicting future results, it does tell us what actually happened.

25.8 WAR (2nd ranking since 1974)

The 1997 Braves claim the top spot here with 26.4 WAR. The 0.6 WAR advantage Atlanta has over this year’s Phillies is partly the result of an additional 32 innings pitched over the full season. The top four pitchers – Maddux (8.2 WAR), Smoltz (6.9 WAR), Glavine (5.4 WAR) and Denny Neagle (3.8 WAR) – provided 92% of the value for the collective group compared to Halladay (8.2 WAR), Lee (6.7 WAR), Hamels (4.9 WAR) and Roy Oswalt (2.5 WAR) who provided 86% of the total. The 2003 Yankees and 2002 Diamondbacks land in the third and fourth spots with 25.4 and 25.1 WAR, respectively. Johnson and Schilling accounted for over 73% of that amount by themselves.

One question that begs to be asked is: How much of this was luck? One way to begin to answer this question is to take a look at a few luck-influenced metrics like BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB. I took the career averages for each of the seven hurlers – including Vance Worley, Kyle Kendrick and Joe Blanton – and combined them into a weighted average based on the number of innings each pitcher threw this season.

For BABIP, LOB% and HR/FB, the 2011 Phillies starters produced rates of .288, 77.6% and 8.1% compared to the weighted career averages of .289, 74.9% and 9.5% that we might expect to see. The BABIP is right in line, but the LOB% and HR/FB do indicate a dimension of luck to the Phillies success this year. Regardless, I’m not concerned with luck because this analysis wasn’t to show if this success was repeatable. The fact of the matter is Philadelphia starters – as a group – put together perhaps the most dominant performance in baseball history this past season.



Print This Post





Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Matt Poindexter
Guest
Matt Poindexter
4 years 10 months ago

What happens to these numbers when offensive environment is taken into account? 2002 and 1997 were recent, but wasn’t the NL a higher run-scoring environment in those years?

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

FIP-, ERA-, and WAR are all adjusted for park-and-league.

K% and K/BB, on the other hand, aren’t useful for making historical comparisons. K rate has steadily risen throughout baseball history. 12.5% in 1981, 15.2% in 1991, 17.3% in 2001, 18.6% in 2011.

Bo
Guest
Bo
4 years 10 months ago

Congrats again, Philly, on winning the 2011 World Series.

Wait… They didn’t?

rob
Guest
rob
4 years 10 months ago

I misread that post’s final sentence. Initially, I thought it read “Philadelphia starters put together the most dominant performance in baseball history this POSTseason.” (instead of “past season”)

www.thehotteststove.com
Guest
www.thehotteststove.com
4 years 10 months ago

And a special congrats to the Cardinals for beating Lee, Oswalt and Halladay in a playoff series. Tough stuff…..

A Washington
Guest
A Washington
4 years 10 months ago

So, they finished #2 to the 97 Braves in WAR, then aren’t they the ‘Second. Best. Rotation. Ever’?

moose
Guest
moose
4 years 10 months ago

correct. second best rotation ever. how could this years rotation beat a rotation with 3 HoFers in it. only halladay can ever make it to the hall out of that phillies rotation

T-bone
Guest
T-bone
4 years 10 months ago

who knows, Cole has a shot, he’s young

B N
Guest
B N
4 years 10 months ago

Eh, Lee could if he stayed healthy long enough and continued to be dominant in his later years. He’s accumulated around 37 WAR, and has put up over 6 WAR the last couple of years. 4 more years at 5 WAR would start to put him in the discussion. Tag a handful of 3 WAR seasons onto that, and he’d get some votes.

Not saying that would happen, as it would require a Clemens-esque career arc (see also: Steroids for more information). But stranger things have happened. Heck, if Livan Hernandez just put up 2 WAR this year, I’m not going to rule out Lee from grabbing some extra in his late years. But I will admit, Lee’s trajectory looks a bit more lose Moose than Blyleven so unlikely.

test
Guest
test
4 years 10 months ago

Lee also has a shot. It depends on him lasting at his current level for at least 3 more years with a soft decline, but he could have a Curt Schilling shaped career, with a long noisy career start followed by years of susteained peak. Schilling is a borderline HoF guy, I think about on par with Smoltz, and Lee could end up about the same. He’s got 1600 IP already, 119 wins, several years of greatness in a row now. And he just finished his age 32 season.

Now it is true that the Braves had 3 HoFers, but it wasn’t obvious at the time that Glavine and SMoltz were going to make it (still isn’t obvious for smoltz).

Greg K
Guest
Greg K
4 years 10 months ago

0.6 difference in WAR isn’t enough to say that one was definitively better than the other. If differences between say 5.6 and 5.2 WAR for a single player is negligible, then for an entire rotation 0.6 means nothing. You have to take into account the other numbers more heavily.

Dang
Guest
Dang
4 years 10 months ago

Smoltz is a no doubt hall of famer, Period. 200+ wins 200+ saves (the only pitcher ever to do that) especially when he was starter turned reliever back to starter. Dominant as a starter before and after and was one of the best closer’s in baseball while he was doing it. I think pitching with Maddux and Glavine for so long actually made him a little under appreciated.

Dang
Guest
Dang
4 years 10 months ago

I understand this is fangraphs and wins saves era etc aren’t the prevailing stats used here but when you’re talking HOF those are the numbers that matter to voters

Daniel
Member
Daniel
4 years 10 months ago

@Dang: Smoltz had 213 wins and 154 saves. He is the only pitcher with 200 wins and 150 saves (Eck had 197 wins).

Bill but not Ted
Guest
Bill but not Ted
4 years 10 months ago

Of course you are operating under the assumption that WAR is the:

Best. Statistic. Ever.

Jim
Guest
Jim
4 years 10 months ago

Uh, no they aren’t… Actually rather clearly they’re suggesting that a team that ISN’T the best by WAR may be the best…

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

@moose
“correct. second best rotation ever. how could this years rotation beat a rotation with 3 HoFers in it. only halladay can ever make it to the hall out of that phillies rotation”

So what you’re saying is all the Astros need to do is field a rotation of Clemens, Pedro, Smoltz and the Big Unit in 2012 and they will have the best pitching performance ever?

The Braves rotation was one of the best gathering of talents ever seen, and produced at an astronomical rate in 1997. But, that doesnt mean a team of 5 no-names cant stumble upon a better season sometime in the future. The Braves HOF credentials ultimately has absolutely nothing to do with how they actually produced on the feild.

Realistically, between the two rotations, there is just no way I would choose the Braves over the Phillies if I were to pick one to represent me over a season though. Glavine, Smoltz, Maddux and Neagle (24.3 WAR) were slightly better then Doc, Lee, Hamels and Oswalt (22.3 WAR) – but that is mainly because Oswalt missed 9-10 starts. If we go off a WAR per start basis* we see the reverse
Braves: 135 Starts, 24.3 WAR = 0.180 WAR/GS
Phillies: 118 Starts, 22.3 WAR = 0.189 WAR/GS
(*I know WAR doesnt work well like that as it adds in replacement level guys to give you the desired number of innings. But it still shows that the Phillies were producing at a higher rate overall despite starting 17 fewer games)

Then when you get to the rest of arms on the club, there is just no contest as I cant imagine anyone would choose a combination of 1997 Wade, Millwood, Byrd and Brock over 2011 Worley, Kendrick and Blanton.

So you have the Braves arguably (but not definitely) superior in the 1-4 and the Phillies much stronger when it gets to 5-7. Over 162 games, the depth will always be the difference.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
4 years 10 months ago

So, because Oswalt is old and past his prime, you factor in what it would be like if he were younger and more healthy and THAT is your breaker?

Halladay is a poor man’s Maddux. Lee is a poor man’s Glavine. Hamels isn’t as good as Smoltz. Oswalt is better than Neagle but wasn’t in their respective years.

The Braves trio trumps all also because they played together for like 9 years. Something that won’t happen in Philly. I know we’re talking about a year vs year basic, but come on. Buying 2 starters (3 really) so you can have 1 great year? That’s dumb. May as well use All Star game rotations too.

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

@Anthony

Oswalt was 33 last year – merely 2 years older then Maddux and Glavine were (and Smoltz was turning) in 1997.

And yes, the Phillies 1-4 was better then the Braves 1-4 when on the field. The Phillies had an injury, the Braves didnt – its the only reason why the accumulative WAR says otherwise.

Youre wrong on your assessment of the pitchers too
Halladay 2.20 FIP >>> Maddux 2.43 FIP
Lee 2.60 FIP >>> Smoltz 3.04 FIP
Hamels 3.05 FIP >>> Neagle 3.34 FIP
Oswalt 3.44 FIP >>> Glavine 3.96 FIP

And overall you get the Phillies at 2.98 FIP against the Braves at 3.30 FIP. The Phillies were much better 1-4 on a pure results basis. The Phillies were also much better in the depth category. The only thing the Braves have on them is that their 1-4 stayed healthy the whole season and were overall pushed harder because they lacked a 5; where the Phillies had Oswalt go down for a while and shorted everyone else a game or two because Worley and Kendrick were also pitching so strong.

So yeah, the Braves rotation was together so long and was also extremely special on multiple occasions – the 2011 Phillies were still better though…

adohaj
Guest
adohaj
4 years 10 months ago

@SOB

The braves put up those FIP numbers in 1997 when league offense was way up. In 2011 league offense was down. Numbers need to be put into context

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

@adohaj

Difference isnt as big as people try to make it out to be, and the results actually stay pretty much the same:

Doc 56 FIP- >>> Maddux 57 FIP-
Lee 67 FIP- >>> Smoltz 72 FIP-
Hamels 79 FIP- === Neagle 79 FIP-
Oswalt 89 FIP- >>> Glavine 94 FIP-

Really, I just don’t see how people can still cling to the idea the Braves staff was superior. It was absolutely fantastic, and the fact it was kept together for a while is amazing – don’t get me wrong there. But the 2011 Phillies were just a bit better…

www.thehotteststove.com
Guest
www.thehotteststove.com
4 years 10 months ago

@ Anthony

Everything you’ve stated is opinion…and most of it is contrary to the facts being stated here. It’s alright if the Braves are your favorite, and they are mine as well, due to the extended period of dominance together. The Phillies did a good job of creating a crazy good rotation also, and a few cards fell in their favor also. An exceptional year from the Phillies’ staff…

www.thehotteststove.com
Guest
www.thehotteststove.com
4 years 10 months ago

@ myself

proofread your work before you submit!

antonio bananas
Guest
antonio bananas
4 years 10 months ago

Yea, use FIP to value Glavine and Maddux, a couple of contact guys, brilliant.

antonio bananas
Guest
antonio bananas
4 years 10 months ago

@sob “Oswalt wasn’t much older than Glavine and Maddux” actually 2 years means a lot. Especially when you’re in the declining phase. Smoltz outpitched Oswalt at the same age. That’s a crap argument. Fact is, saying “if if if” is BS. If Glavine, Maddux, and Smoltz all pitched to their peak potential, it wouldn’t even be close because Maddux (at his peak) destroys doc and Glavine destroys Lee. Lee and Halladay are like diet Maddux/Glavine.

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

@antonio bananas

Word of advise, when you come into an argument acting like an ass, it’s best to have at least one actual fact to give. Unfortunately, your posts just provided no truth at all.

First, between 1991 and 1998, Maddux had a 6.89 K/9 rate – 21st highest of 89 qualified starters. Similarly, his 6.85 in 1997 was the 28th best of 83 qualified pitchers. He sure was a piss-poor “pitch to contact” pitcher, I guess…

Second, Glavine had a 5.7 K/9 in 1997 while Oswalt posted a 6.0 in 2011. So whatever you think your argument is for Tom, it applies to Roy just the same.

Then, Oswalt isnt old and there is nothing to say he is really declining – 2010 was his best season since 2005, and he merely got hurt in 2011. He ended 2011 pitching like his old self though, with a 3.40 K/BB and 68 K/9 with only the horrible Philly D causing problems for him. But if he is “old and declining” like you insist, how do you account for this:
5.70 K/9, 2.96 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9 – Glavine in 1997 at 31
6.02 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9 – Oswalt in 2011 at 33
…see, even if we gave you your argument, it would just end up meaning “an old and declining Oswalt pitched better then a 31 year old Glavine”.

Glavine ended up with a better ERA because his BAbip witnessed a fluke 50 point drop to .248 (.40 lower then his career avg to that point) while Oswalt saw a .316 – the highest of his career and .20 higher then his norm. And as we all know, that’s why people don’t use rather worthless stats like ERA to judge pitchers ability shown.

Oh, and lastly, I haven’t given 1 single “if” in any of my posts, so I don’t know where you get your whole “saying if if if is BS” nonsense from…

Dang
Guest
Dang
4 years 10 months ago

@cobradc23 Thanks for the correction, I was going off of memory

Piratesbreak500
Guest
Piratesbreak500
4 years 10 months ago

WAR isn’t the end all be all. For example, if you were talking about the variety of pitching situations in a season as opposed to over a season, it’s a different question. Even if the Braves were better over a whole season, what team would pitch better if matched in a series? That’s also part of the question. I love WAR as a stat, but it isn’t the end all be all.

Bill but not Ted
Guest
Bill but not Ted
4 years 10 months ago

Regardless of who you give the edge to, between the 2011 Phills and Braves/Diamondbacks/Cubs 106 years ago, for best rotation for a single season. I think what sets the Braves apart is that they put up strong numbers over many seasons.

Now if the Phills keep the core of their rotation together and repeat this success for two, three or four years, then we could have a really interesting debate.

Baron Samedi
Member
Baron Samedi
4 years 10 months ago

“The fact of the matter is Philadelphia starters – as a group – put together perhaps the most dominant performance in baseball history this post season.”

Oh, wait…

Phrozen
Guest
Phrozen
4 years 10 months ago

…past season.

Baron Samedi
Member
Baron Samedi
4 years 10 months ago

Durr…

www.thehotteststove.com
Guest
www.thehotteststove.com
4 years 10 months ago

Wait a second…..is this the “Goldeneye 64, Egyptian Temple” Baron or the “Live and Let Die” Baron? This is crucial in planning my next move….

cwendt
Guest
cwendt
4 years 10 months ago

Reading this, I wasn’t surprised that the ’97 Braves were the other contender.

However, I don’t think FIP is as accurate a description in this case as ERA-, as the HR component of FIP isn’t era neutral. The 1997 Braves pitched in the heart of the most power-happy era in history (thanks to parks, umpiring, and of course steroids). For whatever reason, the 2011 Phillies pitched in a much weaker power environment.

Median team HR/9 (1997): 1.07
Median team HR/9 (2011): .93

Relative to their league,it turns out that the Braves (.68) were about twice as good at limiting HR relative to the league as the Phillies (.73). But FIP treats the as equals.

Context neutral stats work best when they are actually context neutral.

cwendt
Guest
cwendt
4 years 10 months ago

God, what a poorly put together second to last sentence:

“Relative to their league,it turns out that the Braves (.68) were about twice as good at limiting HR as the Phillies (.73). But FIP treats theM as equals.”

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

But FIP- (the stat cited in the article) is adjusted for offensive environment.

Woodrum's UZR Article
Guest
Woodrum's UZR Article
4 years 10 months ago

i thought FIP- adjusted for eras though? is that not accurate?

cwendt
Member
cwendt
4 years 10 months ago

2011 Phillies: FIP- 77
1997 Braves: FIP- 78

FIP- is adjusted for league and park, but I don’t see anything about era. So I have serious concerns about saying “they are virtually tied, and therefore the Phillies were better” when one of those staffs was operating in an offensively weaker era.

Think about it this way: Pedro Martinez’ ERA- in 1999 was 42, at the height of the steroid era. Does this mean we think Pedro’s ERA- would be the same if we gave him a time machine that let him pitch place his 1999 self in 1967, or 1917?

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

Cwendt, I think you’re confused. When we say that FIP- is adjusted for league, we mean it’s compared to league average. In your examples, the 2011 Phillies’ FIP was 23% better than the league average FIP in 2011, and the 1997 Braves’ FIP was 22% better than the league average FIP in 1997.

For instance, the Dodgers had a 2.53 FIP in 1968. But that was only good for a FIP- of 98.

So, yeah, it adjusts for offensive era.

moebius
Guest
moebius
4 years 10 months ago

Incorrect.

FIP- tells you how a pitcher did, relative to the competition for that year. It is a normalizing metric.

What it does not allow you to do is make any assumptions about that player’s ability to perform at a similar level in different contexts.

For example, Babe Ruth has a 197 wRC+. Does that make him the greatest player ever? We can’t tell just from his wRC+, because we don’t know if he was that far above his competition because he was unusually good, or they were unusually bad (if I wRC+ 200 in 1942, against weaker competition, should it count?). Of course, we can look at other things (like his ability to ISO .350 when the parks were much larger) that suggest that yeah, most of that that was probably him.

That is why baseball arguments are fun and frustrating: there is no single statistic that allows us to precisely compare Ty Cobb and Barry Bonds. The best we can do is look at their individual greatness relative to their era and say “Yeah, they were both really good”. But there are enough other factors (conditioning, competition, parks) that a definitive statement is unlikely.

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

@moebius

Actually, he is correct because it’s normalized against the “average”

The average pitcher’s line of any given season is going to correspond to the average hitters line. If the hitters talents go up or down over time, the pitchers are going to see the opposite effect in their performance.

So when you take, say, a 20% better then average pitcher in 1997, he will still be about 20% better then the average pitcher in 2011 – his talent level didnt change in relation to the other pitchers around him; the only thing that changed was a variable making it easier/harder to hit/pitch (in this case, drug tests).

cktai
Guest
cktai
4 years 10 months ago

“So when you take, say, a 20% better then average pitcher in 1997, he will still be about 20% better then the average pitcher in 2011 – his talent level didnt change in relation to the other pitchers around him; the only thing that changed was a variable making it easier/harder to hit/pitch (in this case, drug tests).”

Actually I would disagree with this, and I think so would moebius. His (and my) point is that the talent level of the average pitcher of 2011 might not be the talent level of the average pitcher of 1997 and certainly not the talent level of 1910.

Since there are many more people today who play baseball and have the possibility of entering the major leagues, it is not a long shot to assume that the average MLB pitcher of 1910 would be considerably worse than the average MLB pitcher of 2011 when magically being transported to the same era. even though their FIP- are both 100.

El Guapo
Guest
El Guapo
4 years 10 months ago

1954 Cleveland Indians
The 1971 Baltimore Orioles had four pitchers win 20 games, but the 1954 Cleveland Indians pitching rotation went five deep, incuding four 20-game winner? Of the four, Early Wynn and Bob Lemon had 23 wins each. Pretty good winning percentage, too. Early Wynn’s 23-11 was the worst record of the five. Combined, the five starters had a record of 95-38, including a 13-3 mark by Bob Feller. Excellent ERA? Wynn, Mike Garcia and Lemon all had an ERA under 3.00.

Ari Collins
Guest
Ari Collins
4 years 10 months ago

I think you might be on the wrong site.

SOB
Guest
SOB
4 years 10 months ago

No, he isnt (although he probably just stumbled into his accurate inclusion)

1954 Indians
Garcia – 2.55 FIP in 258.2 IP
Wynn – 3.18 FIP in 270.2 IP
Lemon – 3.26 FIP in 258.1 IP
Houtteman- 3.63 FIP in 188 IP
Feller – 3.66 FIP in 140 IP

Overall – 3.27 FIP in 1371 IP as starters

compare that to the 1997 Braves at 3.30 in 1096 IP and 2011 Phillies at 2.98 in 1064 and you realize that Indians club is definitely in the conversation with the other two.

ofMontreal
Guest
ofMontreal
4 years 10 months ago

He didn’t stumble into it. It’s baseball lore. And it turns out to be true. That Orioles rotation was bs tho.

Born in DC
Guest
Born in DC
4 years 10 months ago

Wow, nerds worshipping stats. Let me try an analogy with football.
My Washington FC has been horrible this year, esp. under John Beck. Low completion %, few first downs, etc. But when the team falls behind, he has scored points in the last minutes of a half, against a prevent defense. This has bolstered (meaninglessly) his final game stats, and QB rating.
In baseball, might a pitcher and his fielders play differently, when the team has a lead? Might a power hitter get a pitch to hit in the ninth inning, when down by two runs, rather than being walked? Probably so. Ergo, “wins” should not be laughed at as a meaningless stat. True, it was a football coach who said “You play to win the game.” But the same applies, to some degree, when applied to pitchers.

Baron Samedi
Member
Baron Samedi
4 years 10 months ago

P-p-p-p-pitcher wins!

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

Good point. Also: the 2001 Seattle Mariners top four starters combined for a 70-21 record. They all had at least 15 wins and 6 or fewer losses.

Mayor McFleas
Guest
Mayor McFleas
4 years 10 months ago

Was batting/fielding WAR included in these calculations? I’m guessing not, since the individual numbers quoted are the pitching WAR. If not, the 1997 Braves starters’ batting WAR of 2.9 gives them an additional edge over the Phils’ 1.5, giving a total edge to the Braves of a full 2 WAR. That is, unless I’m completely wrong and the pitching WAR already takes a pitcher’s hitting into account.

Chris
Guest
Chris
4 years 10 months ago

Chicks dig the long ball.

SC2GG
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

This article made me think, “The 16-0 2007 NE Patriots were the best football team ever.”

vivalajeter
Guest
vivalajeter
4 years 10 months ago

Well, you have a weird thought process then. The article is clearly talking about one portion of a team, not the entire team. It’s more like saying “The 2007 NE Patriots had the best offense ever”.

channelclemente
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

If that were strictly speaking true, it would have been the 2010 Giants. The 2011 Phillies are like a large bell that wants to be loud but has no clapper.

Woodrum's UZR Article
Guest
Woodrum's UZR Article
4 years 10 months ago

not sure i follow….

Morse
Guest
Morse
4 years 10 months ago

Just imagine what it would be like if Oswalt hadn’t gone to the DL, and pitched to his career averages.

Anthony
Guest
Anthony
4 years 10 months ago

imagine if Maddux had his ’95 in ’97, imagine if Glavine had his ’91 in ’97, and if Smoltz had his ’96 in ’97, ZOMG!!!!

El Guapo
Guest
El Guapo
4 years 10 months ago

Just imagine if Oswalt was younger and pitched better and didn’t have a bad back…

Roy J
Guest
Roy J
4 years 10 months ago

That Braves rotation pitched in the heart of the steroid era. Not only that but most of the pitchers in that rotation over the years were not strikeout artists. They pitched to CONTACT in the steroid era. That’s just crazy to me. Besides John Smoltz, the rest weren’t overpowering. I don’t think the Phillies rotation could ever out do that group of pitchers. Especially when it comes to longevity.

Abreutime
Guest
Abreutime
4 years 10 months ago

“I don’t think the Phillies rotation could ever out do that group of pitchers.”

It would be hard to do if you view a strikeout as less impressive than getting outs in the field.

Bill
Guest
Bill
4 years 10 months ago

People forget how dominant the 2005 White Sox rotation and bullpen were. No super-stars, but solid through and through.

Kyle
Guest
Kyle
4 years 10 months ago

How could Lee ever make the Hall of Fame? He’s 33 and only has 119 wins(as overrated as they may be voters look at overall numbers.) His career ERA is a pretty mediocre 3.65. His WHIP is decent considering hitting was crazy up until recently, but he’s only had 4 seasons that are “ace” like. Roy Oswalt should still have a higher chance to make the Hall than he does. Injuries and playing for the crappy Astros for a few seasons have hurt his overall numbers. If he bounces back for 2 or 3 more solid seasons, he’ll reach 200 wins and has a career ERA of 3.21. People forget that he was one of the top 3 or 4 pitchers for a decade of baseball. Hamels also has a much better chance than Lee since he’s only 27 and already proven he’s an ace.

Unless Lee unleashes 4 straight years like his previous 4(but gets more wins), I doubt he’ll make it. Unlike Maddux and Glavine, he’ll never come close to winning 300 games, and he doesn’t have a Smoltz like 200 plus wins and 154 saves and 3000 k’s. Pitchers usually start showing a decline around the age of 34 or 35. Smoltz had more durability into his late 30’s after being a closer around four seasons to save him from constant injuries.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

Agree that Lee’s not likely to have enough good years to make the HoF. But I seriously doubt voters will be looking at pitcher wins in 20 years.

channelclemente
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Yes they will, and Lee will still be an also ran.

Abreutime
Guest
Abreutime
4 years 10 months ago

A second Cy Young award would go a long way toward his candidacy (combined with a few other 5+ WAR seasons).

frug
Guest
frug
4 years 10 months ago

The second Cy Young would help. Every non-active pitcher besides Sabrehaggen (sp?) with at least 2 CYA is either already in or will be inducted in their first year of eligibility.

Paul
Guest
Paul
4 years 10 months ago

I’d like to see the WAR ranking using BR war.

Will
Guest
Will
4 years 10 months ago

“Regardless, I’m not concerned with luck because this analysis wasn’t to show if this success was repeatable.” Wouldn’t you look at ERA then?

Ghost of Future Stats
Guest
Ghost of Future Stats
4 years 10 months ago

FG WAR criminally underrates Glavine his entire career. I personally think it underrates Maddux a bit too, albeit to a much lesser degree.

Head in sand
Guest
Head in sand
4 years 10 months ago

How can they be crowned the best ever without compiling their wins and/or win %??

mister_rob
Guest
mister_rob
4 years 10 months ago

Its funny that this argument seems to be between the 2011 phils and a few of those maddux/glavine/smoltz teams

you always here the old adage “pitching wins championships”

and yet the Phils didnt do anything in the postseason, and those braves teams usually got bounced fairly quickly too

Michael Procton
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

That’s the problem of the playoffs. The depth of your rotation is largely irrelevant.

john
Guest
john
4 years 10 months ago

The numbers are too close to draw definite conclusions as to which is best. ’11 Phils and ’97 Braves are more like #1A and #1B GOAT.

Davor
Guest
Davor
4 years 10 months ago

Interestingly, other teams (loosely) in discussion are 2002 Dbacks (not 2001) and 2003 Yankees. 1954 Indians were swept in WS. 1971 Orioles, with 4 20-game winners, came closest, losing game 7 WS 2-1.

Person
Guest
Person
4 years 10 months ago

How can they be the best ever if their ERA- was 11th all time. I know their FIP- was first, but as it was stated above that stat underrates both Glavine and Maddux. Plus, it is true that .6 in WAR isn’t enough to claim one was definitely better than the other, so what’s to say that the staff behind the Phillies in WAR was not as good as them. This year’s Phillies rotation was definitely one of the all time best, but the information in this article cannot prove them to be the “best rotation ever”

TK
Guest
TK
4 years 10 months ago

By performance, the Braves were better. By true talent, it’s hard to say the Braves weren’t better. Second place ain’t bad.

kds
Guest
kds
4 years 10 months ago

FIP = (3W + 13HR – 2K)/IP + C. Where W = BB – IBB +HBP and C is a constant added to get the FIP to equal the park adjusted league ERA. So, when the league scoring rate changes the constant C will adjust for this. The coefficients for W, HR, and K do not change, though it would seem logical that their relative importance would change as the relationships among them and with Hits and other non DIPS factors vary.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

Yes, when the league scoring rate changes, the constant changes. But that doesn’t mean that the constant adjusts for changes in offensive era. It simply makes the league FIP equal to the league ERA. Those two numbers still bounce all over the place. You need to use FIP- to compare different eras.

And you make a good point about the relative importance of BB/K/HR in different run environments. But the fact of the matter is that the coefficients are rounded in the first place. FIP is more of a back-of-the-envelope equation.

Strike Three!
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

How about % difference K/BB and K compared to the rest of the league?

Strike Three!
Guest
4 years 10 months ago

Not many 60’s clubs listed! Is the list adjusted appropriately for staffs where starters also had to relieve, with 25 or so doubleheaders/ year? Some “starters” still got in 30 or more starts, but 30% of their appearances were in relief! Take the ’64-68 Indians for example: McDowell, Tiant, Siebert, Hargan.

Yirmiyahu
Member
Yirmiyahu
4 years 10 months ago

Assuming you’re looking at the leaderboard, it’s all of the club’s starts for the season (162). Any relief appearances by a starter wouldn’t be included. And pitching WAR only goes back to 1974, so no 1960’s teams. And if you’re looking at any stat involving K’s (K% or K/BB), older teams have a huge disadvantage there because of the ever-increasing K rate.

wpDiscuz