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Articles Tagged Don Sutton 

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A radio broadcaster's persona reflects the team's roster and fan following. Or is it the other way around?

I’m driving in Georgia with my new wife, way, way down south. We’re here on family business, but we’ve taken an afternoon to indulge the notion that we are still on our honeymoon, although it officially ended weeks ago. We are passing through the rural exotica: tiny, ruined towns, no signs of life. Stunted, desiccated crops. Vultures are everywhere: in the air, in the trees, devouring carcasses on the side of the road. Rain blatters on the windshield. History has ended here.

We need a signal, some reassurance of life against this deathless decrepitude. Put on the radio, there’s a Braves game—that will more than do. Those live pauses between pitches, the ambient life piping through the speakers. Baseball on the radio is as potent as the smell of bread in the oven. What sound could possibly be better in southwest Georgia, on a road where the speed limit is 45 mph, where you can drive five, 10 miles at a stretch without seeing a single other vehicle?

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We all know wins aren't a good way to judge pitchers, but we'd miss them if they went away.

"My choice for the front-runner is Welch, but I know a lot of people say Clemens. I know what Clemens has done for Boston, but now is not the time to change the rules. The guys who won it the last three years won the most games and had good stats. If Bob Welch continues to win at this pace, and he doesn't get it, something is terribly wrong with the judging."
| A's pitcher Dave Stewart, in a 1990 Sports Illustrated story on that season's Cy Young voting

Bob Welch had just won his 20th game when his Oakland teammate was asked about the voting, and it was just Aug. 17. It was his 13th season and the first and last time that the 33-year-old Welch would win 20 games.


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The BBWAA's secretary-treasurer discusses voting and what it's like to notify players who have been elected to the Hall of Fame.

In Part II, Jack O'Connell, the secretary-treasurer of the Baseball Writers Association of America, discusses annual awards and the Hall of Fame, including who votes for the MVP and Cy Young, who gets a Hall of Fame ballot, and why Rick Ferrell is enshrined in Cooperstown. You can read Part I here.

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The notable quotables from the week that was.

HE WANTED TO WIN AT MILKSHAKES

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June 30, 2010 8:00 am

Prospectus Hit and Run: Jacktastic!

9

Jay Jaffe

How Jamie Moyer learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.

On May 6, Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts passed away. Many nice things were said upon his shuffling off this mortal coil—staff leader of the 1950 "Whiz Kids," active in the formation of the players' union, all-around stand-up guy. But the most distinctive number attached to his 19-year big-league career was his 505 home runs allowed, the all-time record. Those dingers didn't stop Roberts from racking up 286 wins with a 3.41 ERA, a 113 ERA+, and 82.0 WARP, good enough to earn him a bronze plaque in Cooperstown in relatively short order.

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May 27, 2010 4:42 pm

Transaction Action: Senior Circuit Shakeups

5

Christina Kahrl

The nature of the catching shortage, bungee-cord DL moves, TMI on Tony Abreu, and more.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Placed INF-S Tony Abreu on the 15-day DL (sprained wrist), retroactive to 5/24; recalled INF-R Ryan Roberts from Reno (Triple-A). [5/25]

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An exercise in thinking theoretically about player value.

The following is an edited transcript of an in-house discussion among the Baseball Prospectus team about a hypothetical pitcher capable of delivering a guaranteed performance.

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The glory of the Dodgers in the '60s, followed by an inglorious Padres period and putting the Angels on the map.

Part One, for those who missed it last week.

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December 16, 2005 12:00 am

The Class of 2006

0

Jay Jaffe

Jay continues his look at the new Hall of Fame ballot, this time turning his attention to the starting pitchers.

The starters would appear to have less hope these days. Spoiled by a group of contemporaries (Ryan, Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Phil Niekro) who won 300 games from the mid-'60s to the mid-'80s, when the days of the four-man rotation dominated, the writers haven't elected a non-300-winning starter since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. Since then, they've made Niekro and Sutton sweat through a combined 10 ballots to gain entry, while Ryan curiously waltzed in with an all-time record percentage of the vote. In the days of the five-man rotation and the six-inning starter, we may not see another pitcher enshrined until Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux finally hang up their spikes, the presence of other worthy hurlers on the ballot be damned.

But despite this "Just Wins, Baby" rule of thumb that the writers appear to be following, the rest of us have learned that wins ain't all that. One of the great lessons of the sabermetric revolution is the idea that a pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames (as reflected in his win and loss totals) or even individual at-bats (hits on balls in play) as he's generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it's important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not.

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December 20, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2005

0

Jay Jaffe

Along with the three hitters he named last week, Jay Jaffe sees three qualified pitchers among the 11 on the Hall of Fame ballot.

The 2004 election saw the writers tab just the third reliever for induction, as Dennis Eckersley joined Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers among the bronzed legends. While Eckersley's dominance and his usage pattern ("Just the Saves, Ma'am") contributed mightily to his election, his decade as a starter and the stats he garnered in that role mean that his ascension offers us little insight on the writers' view of what makes a Hallworthy reliever. The standards for starters may be somewhat easy to discern, if lately a bit unrealistic, but with a growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the closer role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by, sorting out the bullpen elite poses a hefty challenge to voters.

One of the great lessons of the sabermetric revolution is the idea that the pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames (as reflected in his win and loss totals) or even individual at-bats (hits on balls in play) as he's generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it's important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not.

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April 6, 2004 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: March 31-April 5, 2004

0

Christina Kahrl

The Braves' bench looks ugly. The Dodgers make some nifty deals. The Mets inexplicably hand starting jobs to Tyler Yates and Scott Erickson. The Rangers unload Einar Diaz on the Expos. These and other happenings in today's Transaction Analysis.

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January 14, 2004 12:00 am

The Class of 2004

0

Jay Jaffe

The Baseball Writers of America's standards on what constitute a Hall of Fame pitcher are in a curious spot now, both when it comes to starters and relievers. Spoiled by a group of contemporaries who won 300 games from the mid-'60s to the mid-'80s (Tom Seaver, Steve Carlton, Gaylord Perry, Don Sutton, Nolan Ryan, Phil Niekro), the writers haven't elected a non-300-winning starter since Fergie Jenkins in 1991. That Perry, Sutton and Niekro took a combined 13 ballots to reach the Hall while Ryan waltzed in on his first ballot with the all-time highest percentage of votes is even more puzzling. Apparently what impresses the BBWAA can be summarized as "Just Wins, Baby"--which is bad news for every active pitcher this side of Roger Clemens and Greg Maddux. Of the 59 enshrined pitchers with major-league experience, only two of them--Hoyt Wilhelm and Rollie Fingers--are in Cooperstown for what they accomplished as relievers. While the standards for starters are somewhat easy to discern (if lately a bit unrealistic), the growing number of quality relievers on the ballot, the continuous evolution of the relief role, and the paucity of standards to measure them by present some interesting challenges to voters. If there's an area in which performance analysis has struggled mightily against mainstream baseball thought, it's in hammering home the concept that the pitcher doesn't have as much control over the outcome of ballgames--as reflected in his Won-Loss totals--or even individual at-bats--hits on balls in play--as he's generally given credit for. Good run support and good defense can make big winners of mediocre pitchers on good teams, and .500 pitchers of good hurlers on mediocre teams. As such, it's important to examine the things over which a pitcher has control and account for those he does not. Once again, the Davenport system rides to the rescue.

[Note: The research for this piece, and much of the writing, was done prior to the Hall of Fame voting results being announced.]

INTRODUCTION

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