Pitcher Win Value Leaderboards

Because I just can’t stay away, let’s talk about pitcher win values again. This time, let’s look at how pitchers have performed in rolling three year totals dating back to 2002, which is the first year we calculate win values for here on FanGraphs.

2002 to 2004 leaderboard

Curt Schilling leads the way with +23 wins from ’02 to ’04, propelled to the top by his ridiculous 2002 season where he was a +9.7 win pitcher. I think people forget how good Schilling was that year – 9.58 K/BB rate in 259 innings. That’s just remarkably awesome. Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay, and Jason Schmidt round out the top five.

2003 to 2005 leaderboard

Nobody cracks the +20 win plateau over these three years, with Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana leading the way at +19.5 wins apiece. Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Jason Schmidt round out the top five.

2004 to 2006 leaderboard

Johan emerges as the dominant pitcher of this era, racking up +22.6 wins and throwing 693 innings during that time frame. Nobody else is close, with Roy Oswalt checking in second at +18.1 wins. This was the age of Johan.

2005 to 2007 leaderboard

Santana loses his great ’04 and replaces it with a less great ’07, but still manages to cling to the lead. Again, though, no one cracks the +20 win mark, as Johan’s +19.5 is best in baseball. Brandon Webb emerges, though, to take the second spot at +19.1 wins. Meanwhile, John Smoltz tries to remind everyone that he’s still pitching, and checks in with a +16.5 total that’s fifth best in baseball over those three years. Those were his age 38 to 40 seasons.

2006 to 2008 leaderboard

Finally, the last three years. CC Sabathia takes the top spot at +20.3 wins, just edging out Brandon Webb (+19.7) and Roy Halladay (+19.2). Santana plummets all the way to fourth, with Dan Haren rounding out the top five.

So, who has been the best pitcher of the Win Value era? Santana seems like the best guess, since he led (or was tied for the lead) in three of the five windows we looked at, but he actually finishes second to the amazing Roy Halladay. Since 2002, Halladay has racked up +42.7 wins, three more than Santana’s +39.8. +42 wins in seven years – not only has Halladay been an excellent pitcher, he’s been consistently excellent. He’s never got the same level of acclaim as Johan, but a seven year stretch of +6 wins from a starting pitcher is amazingly impressive. Hats off to Halladay.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.


13 Responses to “Pitcher Win Value Leaderboards”

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  1. Matt B. says:

    Roy Halladay is the best pitcher in baseball….

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  2. Drew says:

    Halladay missed time with freakish injuries in that span also. He really is the best.

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  3. samg says:

    Why can’t we publish the pitcher numbers before 02?

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  4. Crane says:

    I knew that Halladay was better than Santana! Now there’s one more stat that I can use to prove it! You have no idea how happy you just made me.

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      In my eyes, the Johan/Halladay comparison is extremely interesting because of two facts:

      1) Halladay was hurt for 2 of these 7 seasons, and made, I believe 39 starts combined.

      2) Santana wasn’t a full-time starter until 2004. He made 72 appearances, 32 starts in 2002-03, and still put up +3.8 and +4.1 wins as a combo-pitcher.

      You can cancel these out and say Halladay has the 3-win advantage, but it’s not nearly as simple as a straight 1-1 comparison over 7 years.

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  5. Patrick says:

    Man, i would love to see Perdo Martinez’s values for 97-00

    FIPS/Innings Cy Young Award

    97-2.39/241 CYA-1
    98-3.40/233 CYA-2
    99-1.39/213 CYA-1
    00-2.17/217 CYA-1

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  6. tangotiger says:

    Looks like George Bush was right!

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  7. robert j. says:

    To think that Halladay has done this pitching in the AL East for his entire career is even more impressive. He’s certainly one of the best (if not the best), definitely the most reliable, and probably the most underrated pitcher in baseball. Cheers to Roy.

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  8. Samg says:

    Why can’t we publish the pitcher numbers before 02? We have the FIP’s and IP, so why not? And why not also do it for hitters, simply excluding UZR?

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  9. Samg says:

    Also, why not scale all of the dollar figures to modern-day equivalencies?

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  10. tangotiger says:

    There’s no reason to scale the dollar figures, since you have win values.

    All you have to take is take the win values and multiply it by some constant, say 4.5 or 5, and there you go.

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  11. Robert Anthony says:

    Hats off to (Roy) Halladay.

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