Thursday, August 13, 2009

Getting Hit Hard in 2009

What do Trevor Cahill and Jeff Suppan have in common? They are the only two pitchers qualified for the ERA title (1 IP per team game) who have allowed opponents to slug .500 or more this season. Suppan sits at .512 while Cahill is at .505. Suppan will shortly fall off the qualified list, as he is currently injured and hasn't pitched since July 27. His fellow Brewer, Braden Looper, is poised to take his place on the list as he has allowed opponents to slug .499 this year. Jeremy Guthrie (.499), Armando Galarraga (.494), and Jamie Moyer (.491) are also nearby.

Since 1954, forty-four qualified pitchers have allowed opponents to slug .500 over a season. Twenty have cracked the .520 plateau:

Jim Deshaies1994MIN.583
Jose Lima2000HOU.578
Darrell May2004KCR.555
Bill Gullickson1994DET.552
Brian Anderson2004KCR.545
Dave Mlicki2001DET/HOU.545
Brandon Backe2008HOU.544
Jose Lima2005KCR.544
Eric Milton2005CIN.543
Terry Mulholland1994NYY.539

The abbreviated 1994 season and Jose Lima are both well-represented. Pitchers just didn't have as much time to a) drop their slugging percentage to something more respectable or b) get replaced before reaching the usual 162 innings to qualify. The other seven seasons all took place this decade, which makes sense as slugging percentages league-wide have reached new heights. Here's the .500+ opponent slugging allowed list prior to 1994:

Don Newcombe
Jack Lamabe
Bob Knepper

Yep, that's it.

A high slugging percentage allowed is fueling Jeff Suppan's run at another distinction. He likely will not reach the required 162 innings, but if the season ended today he would be only the ninth qualifying pitcher to allow an OPS of .900 or higher. The current list of eight is the highest slugging allowed list jumbled a bit:

Jim Deshaies1994MIN.965
Jose Lima2000HOU.942
Dave Mlicki2001DET/HOU.927
Brandon Backe2008HOU.920
Jose Lima2005KCR.917
Bill Gullickson
Brian Anderson
Darrell May

Suppan has allowed opponents to put up a .900 OPS this year. Cahill, if you're wondering, is second with an .856 OPS allowed.

1 comment:

Brad Templeman said...

I love Jose Lima stats, he is a gold mine for interesting data.

He finished with a 5.26 ERA and over 1500 IP (only one ever). Even if you take pitchers with a 5.25 ERA and go all the way down to 750 IP, there's still only 10 other pitchers.

Somehow, he kept coming back, and occasionally did ok, such as with the 2004 Dodgers, getting their only playoff win between 1988 and 2008, with a complete game shutout of the Cardinals.