- FanGraphs Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs -

Daily Notes: How Well Did Pitching Coaches Pitch as Players?

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. The Pitching Stats for the Pitching Coaches
2. Video: Dave Righetti’s No-Hitter, 1983

The Pitching Stats for the Pitching Coaches
In yesterday’s edition of the Notes, for reasons that remain somewhat unclear, we considered how well the league’s hitting coaches performed as major leaguers themselves. In today’s edition, we turn our attention to the pitching coaches — and to their corresponding major-league pitching careers.

As noted yesterday, there’s nothing to suggest — or, at least, not so far as the author is aware — that a player’s own personal pitching ability is a determinative factor in his ability to coach others well in that same art. Stated differently: this is a mostly trivial exercise the author is conducting.

In any case, there’s no doubting that what follows are the career stats for the 23 current pitching coaches with major-league experience, sorted by park-adjusted ERA relative to league average (ERA-), where 100 is average and a lower figure is better:


Name Team IP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 BABIP FIP- ERA- WAR RA9-Wins
Roger McDowell Braves 1050.0 4.49 3.51 0.43 .284 98 87 5.3 10.1
Dave Righetti Giants 1403.2 7.13 3.79 0.61 .286 86 88 24.3 24.8
Ray Searage Pirates 287.2 6.04 4.29 0.69 .276 97 89 1.6 3.9
Doug Brocail Astros 880.0 6.57 3.17 0.87 .294 95 93 8.3 9.1
Chris Bosio Cubs 1710.0 5.57 2.53 0.85 .288 91 94 29.7 26.7
Rick Honeycutt Dodgers 2160.0 4.32 2.74 0.77 .277 100 96 24.4 26.6
Mike Butcher Angels 137.0 6.31 5.39 0.92 .278 106 96 0.2 0.9
Pete Walker Blue Jays 339.1 5.07 3.53 1.27 .287 110 97 1.8 4.1
Charles Nagy D-backs 1954.2 5.72 2.70 1.00 .310 93 99 34.4 29.6
Mike Maddux Rangers 861.2 5.89 2.97 0.70 .294 91 99 9.3 7.1
Carl Willis Mariners 390.0 5.12 2.65 0.65 .304 86 100 5.2 1.7
Steve McCatty Nationals 1188.1 4.10 3.94 0.94 .265 119 104 4.0 13.9
Derek Lilliquist Cardinals 483.2 4.86 2.49 1.10 .293 105 104 3.9 5.7
Jeff Jones Tigers 205.0 5.62 4.92 1.14 .273 129 105 -2.3 -0.9
Juan Nieves Red Sox 491.0 6.45 4.16 0.99 .298 99 110 6.7 3.5
Curt Young Athletics 1107.0 4.36 2.98 1.20 .270 120 111 4.1 9.0
Dan Warthen Mets 307.0 6.57 5.80 0.76 .255 114 116 1.7 2.0
Rick Anderson Twins 96.2 3.91 2.70 0.84 .301 106 118 0.5 0.3
Bo McLaughlin Rockies 313.0 5.41 3.54 0.63 .303 104 124 1.6 -2.2
Don Cooper White Sox 85.1 4.96 4.85 1.48 .291 134 132 -0.9 -0.8
Dave Eiland Royals 373.0 3.69 2.85 1.11 .309 113 133 2.9 -2.2
Mickey Callaway Indians 130.2 5.92 3.99 1.17 .338 107 135 1.1 -1.0
Larry Rothschild Yankees 8.1 1.08 8.64 1.08 .226 177 136 -0.3 -0.1
Averages 694.0 5.18 3.83 0.92 .287 108 107 7.3 7.5

Notes
• Absent from this list are the seven coaches who never played in the majors. They are as follows, presented in no discernible order: Rick Adair (Orioles), Jim Hickey (Rays), Bryan Price (Reds), Chuck Hernandez (Marlins), Rick Kranitz (Brewers), Rich Dubee (Phillies), and Darren Balsley (Padres).

• As noted, players are sorted by career ERA-. RA9-Wins is essentially Wins Above Replacement, except with ERA (and not FIP) as the input. All averages are simple averages — that is, not weighted by innings pitched.

• By this method, it appears as though 10 present pitching coaches were above-average (although very slightly, in some cases) major-league pitchers. One more (Carl Willis) was exactly league average. Twelve more were below average. Finally, as noted above, seven didn’t play at the major-league level.

• There doesn’t appear to be any, among the league’s present-day pitching coaches, who was definitively superior to his peers. Dave Righetti certainly deserves some recognition for his success on a per-inning basis. Charles Nagy posted the highest WAR and RA9-Win totals as major leaguer.

• A full list of all coaches is available at Baseball Reference. A FanGraphs leaderboard of all the pitching coaches’ career numbers is available here.

Video: Dave Righetti’s No-Hitter, 1983
Here’s video coverage, courtesy MLB.com, of Dave Righetti’s no-hitter against Boston from July 4th of 1983. The reader will likely derive some joy from the sliders at ca. 2:11 and 2:31 (with a replay of the latter at ca. 2:51).