Poll: How Does Ervin Santana’s No Hitter Stack Up?

Congratulations to Ervin Santana for completing the 273rd no-hitter in major league history and the third no-hitter of the 2011 season!

While every no hitter is a great accomplishment and a rare feat, not all no-hitters are created equal. Tangotiger recently created four different game scores based on various criteria, for the different ways you might perceive a particular start.

  1. GS-Runs Allowed = – 7 * IP – 10 * R + 40
  2. GS-K & BB = – 3 * (SO-BB) + 40
  3. GS-FIP = -13 * HR -3 * BB + 2 * SO + 3 * IP + 33
  4. GS-Linear Weights = -8 * HR -5 * H -3 * BB + 9 * IP -2
  5. GS-Combo = 40 + 4.5 * IP + SO – H – 2 * BB – 2 * R – 5 * HR

Of the three no-hitters this season, here’s how they stack up:

Game Score Type      RA   K&BB   FIP  LWTS  Combo    BJ
Ervin Santana        93     67    77    76     87    94
Justin Verlander    103     49    65    76     83    90
Francisco Liriano   103     28    46    61     71    83

As you can see, the only area where Ervin Santana’s no-hitter doesn’t show up as the most dominant of the season is in the runs allowed category. Perhaps that is enough in your mind to discount it since it did come on a wild pitch.

Which no hitter do you believe to be the most dominant so far this season?

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David Appelman is the creator of FanGraphs.

20 Responses to “Poll: How Does Ervin Santana’s No Hitter Stack Up?”

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  1. juan pierre's mustache says:

    ok, who voted for liriano. fess up

    +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. I guess 1 un-earned run is just slightly more important in people’s minds than 6 strikeouts. If the earned run wasn’t on a wild pitch, and you didn’t vote for Santana, would you be more inclined to vote for him?

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    • prm37 says:

      I picked Verlander’s, thinking it was done against better competition than Cleveland’s hitters. Then I looked at the BJ’s lineup that day and realized I was mistaken.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Doug Lampert says:

      Statistically a no-hitter is small sample size in action. Asking about one isn’t as much about statistics as emotional impact. Emotionally, runs make it a lot less impressive. This is sufficient to reasonably downgrade the no-hitter.

      That said:
      Error on ground ball (pitcher may have contributed)
      Stolen Base (pitcher probably contributed)
      Advance on a ground ball (pitcher may have contributed)
      Wild Pitch (mostly the pitcher’s fault).

      Letting the guy get to first is mostly on the fielding, the part where he comes home is mostly on the pitcher. Get one of those strikeouts instead of a groundout, hold him on better at first, don’t throw the wild pitch. There’s at least three ways Satana could have helped himself after the error.

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    • Chris says:

      Giving up the one run (earned or otherwise) is a major factor for me, the fact that it came on a wild pitch ruined any chance of Santana beating out Verlander in my mind. No one made it into scoring position when Verlander was on the mound.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Person says:

    I’d like to see a version of this poll that includes a hypothetical 15-K perfect game by Sabathia yesterday. Given the competition he faced, I suspect that hypothetical might not win unanimously.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Person says:

    Oh, and I still like James’ original game score better than any of Tango’s alternatives…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • tangotiger says:

      Two reasons I like mine:

      1. I start at 40, not 50.

      2. I include HR and Bill doesn’t

      The rest of the differences is in the weighting of H, R, BB, SO, which, as I said, each reader can set to his own heart’s content by weighting the 4 versions of Game Score.

      You are basically saying you are preferring Bill’s version to your own.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Jordan says:

    I get that the fact that the run scored on a wild pitch makes it sort of Santana’s fault, but he wouldn’t have had a runner on if it weren’t for that error. A no-no with an error is more impressive to me – he effectively got 28 outs, while allowing no hits and 1 BB. No one devalues no-no’s because of wild pitches that don’t result in runs scored, so I don’t see why Santana’s should be devalued because his fielders let him down.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. filihok says:

    Batted Ball FIP

    Liriano: 4.59
    Verlander: 1.42
    Santana: 0.29

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. My poor Indians… 5 errors is worse to me than the no-hitter. We’ve been dominated on the offensive end so often, a no-hitter was bound to happen since luck is all that separates a no-hitter from a 1, 2, or 3 hitter. But 5 errors?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. senorpogo says:

    No hits, five errors, one passed ball.

    Has a squad (sans pitcher) ever had a worse day?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Doogolas33 says:

    Kerry Wood’s 20K game was better. :P

    In all seriousness, probably Santana. But I think it’s pretty close with Verlander.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. littlesatan says:


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    • Tony Reagins says:

      OMFG Rainbow Sherbert!? Can I trade Irwin no hitter guy for another scoop? Its a deal as long as the scoop makes 26 million

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Jeff says:

    Something that wasn’t visible in the stats: Verlander missed a perfect game by about an inch. The umpire appeared to be right in calling that 3-2 pitch a ball, but it was ridiculously close (and definitely a lot better than a pitch in a similar situation in Halladay’s perfect game that was ruled a strike). Can anyone who was watching the game describe if Santana’s walk was something like that?

    I still voted for Santana for the strikeouts, but I’m just throwing that out there.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. chongo says:

    I would take 76 pitch complete game (Maddux) over a sloppy no-hitter any day. What value are we looking for? Mastery? Dominance?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Randy says:

    There is too much luck involved in no-hitters anyway. The wild pitch was a direct action by Santana, which gave the nod to Verlander. If it was just an error by the defense, I might vote for Santana. It was an impressive start even if not a no-hitter. Also, Verlander’s no-hitter wasn’t even his own best start of the season.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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