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One common defense you hear of a pitcher–usually one of the speaker’s favorites–whose season statistics don’t quite measure up
is something like: "Yeah, but if you take away the two starts when he got pounded and the manager left him in, his ERA is
really good!"

There’s some merit to the argument that a few starts can skew a pitcher’s cumulative line, and there have been attempts, such as
Michael Wolverton’s Support-Neutral statistics to better model the maximum impact a single game can have on a pitcher’s value.

Separate from these more sophisticated analyses lies a more fundamental problem: taking away X starts from a single pitcher,
without doing so for every pitcher, will overrate the pitcher in question by giving him a benefit the others do not have. If we
really want to go down this path of eliminating disastrous starts, we should give every starting pitcher the same benefit.

I looked at all pitchers from 2001 who had at least 100 total innings pitched in games started. I arbitrarily selected the three
worst starts as the number we would drop from season totals. Then, I compared the rankings and values from the whole season to
the trimmed season to see who was most affected. Pitchers who started for more than one team have their tenure with each team
measured separately, and are not combined.

I looked at two measures, one of which was simply Run Average (RA, which is Runs Allowed/Innings Pitched * 9). The other is a
simplified version of VORP, or Runs above Replacement Level, which I call Value for this article and define as IP/9* (6.00 –
R/IP*9). Note that RA and Value are not park-adjusted for this comparison, nor are we strictly comparing to a measured (or
modeled) replacement level, but instead using a 6.00 RA as replacement level. My intent was to identify the pitchers who are
helped/hurt the most by excluding three starts, rather than to accurately model the value of the top N-3 starts in a pitcher’s
season.

Top/Bottom 20 Pitchers by Value Lost by Trimming Three Starts:



Full Season

Worst 3 starts removed

Difference between Full and Worst 3 removed

NAME

TEAM

VALUE

RA

IP

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

VALUE

RA

IP

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

IP

R

RA of
removed

VALUE

Season
RA Change

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

Scott Schoeneweis

ANA

14.89

5.35

205.3

78

87

36.67

4.32

196

58

81

9.3

28

27.10

-21.78

1.03

20

6

Jimmy Anderson

PIT

14.56

5.37

206.3

81

88

36.11

4.35

196.7

61

84

9.6

28

26.25

-21.56

1.02

20

4

Chuck Finley

CLE

-2.22

6.17

113.7

107

108

18.11

4.51

109.7

102

91

4

23

51.75

-20.33

1.66

5

17

Matt Morris

STL

58.22

3.58

216.3

12

14

77.56

2.62

206.3

5

7

10

26

23.40

-19.33

0.96

7

7

Brian Anderson

ARI

-7.56

6.55

123.7

118

118

11.56

5.06

110.3

111

106

13.4

28

18.81

-19.11

1.49

7

12

Mike Hampton

COL

-2.67

6.12

203

108

106

16.44

5.23

192.7

104

113

10.3

26

22.72

-19.11

0.89

4

-7

Ryan Rupe

TB

-4.56

6.29

141.7

112

110

14.33

4.99

128

106

105

13.7

28

18.39

-18.89

1.30

6

5

Jamey Wright

MIL

14.78

5.32

194.7

79

86

33.56

4.32

179.3

66

83

15.4

29

16.95

-18.78

1.00

13

3

Bobby J. Jones

SD

-7.00

6.32

195

117

112

11.67

5.44

187

110

118

8

24

27.00

-18.67

0.88

7

-6

Dave Burba

CLE

-16.22

7.06

137.7

122

121

2.33

5.84

131

121

121

6.7

23

30.90

-18.56

1.22

1

0

Willis Roberts

BAL

3.22

5.72

102.3

100

100

21.22

3.89

90.3

94

56

12

26

19.50

-18.00

1.83

6

44

Kevin Tapani

CHC

19.22

4.97

168.3

68

72

36.78

3.91

158.7

57

59

9.6

24

22.50

-17.56

1.06

11

13

Kenny Rogers

TEX

-7.56

6.56

120.7

118

119

10.00

5.19

111

114

112

9.7

24

22.27

-17.56

1.37

4

7

Ryan Dempster

FLA

17.89

5.24

211.3

72

82

35.44

4.42

201.7

64

89

9.6

24

22.50

-17.56

0.82

8

-7

Shawn Chacon

COL

10.67

5.40

160

89

90

28.11

4.30

148.7

74

80

11.3

25

19.91

-17.44

1.10

15

10

Steve Trachsel

NYM

26.78

4.61

173.7

52

50

44.11

3.57

163.7

41

38

10

24

21.60

-17.33

1.04

11

12

Todd Ritchie

PIT

20.22

5.12

207.3

65

80

37.00

4.29

195

56

79

12.3

25

18.29

-16.78

0.83

9

1

Darren Oliver

TEX

-6.33

6.37

154

115

114

10.33

5.32

137

113

116

17

28

14.82

-16.67

1.05

2

-2

Julian Tavarez

CHC

12.67

5.26

154

82

83

29.22

4.22

147.3

73

76

6.7

21

28.21

-16.56

1.04

9

7

Denny Neagle

COL

6.78

5.64

170.7

98

98

23.22

4.66

156.3

89

97

14.4

26

16.25

-16.44

0.98

9

1



Rick Reed

NYM

36.78

3.54

134.7

36

13

45.22

2.70

123.3

39

9

11.4

16

12.63

-8.44

0.84

-3

4

John Burkett

ATL

63.22

3.41

219.3

8

11

71.44

2.86

204.7

11

12

14.6

18

11.10

-8.22

0.55

-3

-1

Darryl Kile

STL

68.56

3.29

227.3

6

7

76.78

2.70

209.7

6

10

17.6

20

10.23

-8.22

0.58

0

-3

Freddy Garcia

SEA

71.11

3.32

238.7

3

8

79.11

2.86

226.7

4

13

12

16

12.00

-8.00

0.46

-1

-5

Jeff Suppan

KC

25.56

4.95

218.3

56

69

33.56

4.52

203.3

66

92

15

18

10.80

-8.00

0.43

-10

-23

Randy Johnson

ARI

87.78

2.74

242.7

1

2

95.56

2.17

224.3

1

3

18.4

20

9.78

-7.78

0.58

0

-1

Tom Glavine

ATL

54.22

3.78

219.3

17

22

61.89

3.29

205.3

19

29

14

17

10.93

-7.67

0.49

-2

-7

Curt Schilling

ARI

85.11

3.02

256.7

2

3

92.78

2.52

239.7

2

6

17

19

10.06

-7.67

0.50

0

-3

Josh Towers

BAL

18.78

4.72

131.7

70

57

26.22

3.94

114.3

78

61

17.4

19

9.83

-7.44

0.78

-8

-4

Joe Mays

MIN

68.78

3.35

233.7

5

10

75.56

2.93

221.3

8

17

12.4

15

10.89

-6.78

0.42

-3

-7

David Wells

CHW

12.11

4.92

100.7

84

68

18.56

4.00

83.3

101

66

17.4

18

9.31

-6.44

0.92

-17

2

Adam Eaton

SD

16.78

4.70

116.7

73

56

23.22

3.90

99.3

89

58

17.4

18

9.31

-6.44

0.81

-16

-2

Greg Maddux

ATL

69.33

3.32

233

4

9

75.56

2.84

215.3

8

11

17.7

18

9.15

-6.22

0.48

-4

-2

Terry Adams

LA

24.89

4.36

136.3

58

40

31.00

3.68

120

70

44

16.3

17

9.39

-6.11

0.68

-12

-4

Kevin Brown

LA

35.22

3.23

114.3

38

6

41.22

2.27

99.3

46

4

15

16

9.60

-6.00

0.96

-8

2

Dave Williams

PIT

19.33

4.33

104

67

39

23.78

3.61

89.7

86

41

14.3

14

8.81

-4.44

0.71

-19

-2

Roger Clemens

NYY

52.89

3.84

220.3

18

24

57.00

3.49

204

24

33

16.3

15

8.28

-4.11

0.35

-6

-9

Brian Tollberg

SD

20.22

4.45

117.3

65

45

24.00

3.88

102

84

54

15.3

14

8.24

-3.78

0.57

-19

-9

Pedro Martinez

BOS

44.78

2.54

116.7

26

1

47.33

1.65

98

36

1

18.7

15

7.22

-2.56

0.89

-10

0

Roy Halladay

TOR

33.67

3.06

103

39

4

35.33

2.30

86

65

5

17

13

6.88

-1.67

0.76

-26

-1

Pitchers who completely bombed in three starts are helped most by this method. Scott Schoeneweis got blasted for 28 runs
in 9 1/3 innings in his worst three starts, dropping his season’s value by almost 22 runs. Overall his rank in value would go
from #78 to #58 just by dropping every pitcher’s three worst starts. Jimmy Anderson is similarly affected. There are some
good pitchers on the list, too. Matt Morris jumps into the top ten if we disregard three starts.

Pitchers who are very consistent are penalized by this method, since their worst starts aren’t too far behind their average
starts. Roy Halladay‘s worst three starts were barely below replacement level, and so he gains less than two runs by
removing them. His rank in Value drops 26 points as flakier pitchers pass him. Again there’s a mix of great pitchers (Randy
Johnson
, Curt Schilling, Greg Maddux) and mediocre pitchers (David Wells, Jeff Suppan, Dave
Williams
, Brian Tollberg) in the list. Consistency, by itself, doesn’t mean quality–you can be consistently good or
consistently bad.

Top/Bottom 20 Pitchers by RA Decline by Trimming Three Starts



Full Season

Worst 3 starts removed

Difference between Full and Worst 3 removed

NAME

TEAM

VALUE

RA

IP

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

VALUE

RA

IP

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

IP

R

RA of
removed

VALUE

Season
RA Change

Value
Rank

RA
Rank

Willis Roberts

BAL

3.22

5.72

102.3

100

100

21.22

3.89

90.3

94

56

12

26

19.50

-18.00

1.83

6

44

Chuck Finley

CLE

-2.22

6.17

113.7

107

108

18.11

4.51

109.7

102

91

4

23

51.75

-20.33

1.66

5

17

Brian Anderson

ARI

-7.56

6.55

123.7

118

118

11.56

5.06

110.3

111

106

13.4

28

18.81

-19.11

1.49

7

12

Rob Bell

TEX

-16.78

7.44

105.3

123

123

-0.44

6.05

89.3

122

122

16

27

15.19

-16.33

1.39

1

1

Dan Reichert

KC

-1.89

6.15

109.7

106

107

13.67

4.77

100

108

101

9.7

22

20.41

-15.56

1.38

-2

6

Kenny Rogers

TEX

-7.56

6.56

120.7

118

119

10.00

5.19

111

114

112

9.7

24

22.27

-17.56

1.37

4

7

Ted Lilly

NYY

-4.67

6.40

104

113

115

9.89

5.09

97.3

115

108

6.7

19

25.52

-14.56

1.32

-2

7

Ryan Rupe

TB

-4.56

6.29

141.7

112

110

14.33

4.99

128

106

105

13.7

28

18.39

-18.89

1.30

6

5

Lance Davis

CIN

10.89

5.08

106.3

87

78

24.00

3.82

99

84

50

7.3

18

22.19

-13.11

1.26

3

28

Kip Wells

CHW

-0.22

6.02

104.7

104

104

13.00

4.78

96

109

102

8.7

19

19.66

-13.22

1.24

-5

2

Albie Lopez

TB

-3.89

6.28

124.7

109

109

11.56

5.06

110.3

111

106

14.4

25

15.63

-15.44

1.22

-2

3

Dave Burba

CLE

-16.22

7.06

137.7

122

121

2.33

5.84

131

121

121

6.7

23

30.90

-18.56

1.22

1

0

Rocky Biddle

CHW

-4.22

6.33

113.7

110

113

9.89

5.14

103.3

115

111

10.4

21

18.17

-14.11

1.19

-5

2

Paul Wilson

TB

1.78

5.88

131.7

102

102

17.78

4.69

122.7

103

99

9

22

22.00

-16.00

1.18

-1

3

Steve Parris

TOR

10.44

5.11

105.7

90

79

21.44

3.94

93.7

92

62

12

19

14.25

-11.00

1.17

-2

17

Allen Levrault

MIL

-5.44

6.47

104.3

114

116

7.22

5.31

93.3

118

115

11

20

16.36

-12.67

1.17

-4

1

Jose Lima

DET

9.11

5.27

112.7

94

84

21.67

4.11

103

91

72

9.7

19

17.63

-12.56

1.16

3

12

Pedro Astacio

COL

3.00

5.81

141

101

101

19.44

4.65

129.7

100

96

11.3

24

19.12

-16.44

1.16

1

5

Shawn Chacon

COL

10.67

5.40

160

89

90

28.11

4.30

148.7

74

80

11.3

25

19.91

-17.44

1.10

15

10

Joe Kennedy

TB

15.44

4.82

117.7

76

61

26.33

3.72

104

77

46

13.7

20

13.14

-10.89

1.10

-1

15



Eric Milton

MIN

39.33

4.38

218

34

41

50.78

3.79

206.7

31

49

11.3

19

15.13

-11.44

0.59

3

-8

Darryl Kile

STL

68.56

3.29

227.3

6

7

76.78

2.70

209.7

6

10

17.6

20

10.23

-8.22

0.58

0

-3

Livan Hernandez

SF

8.11

5.68

226.7

96

99

21.44

5.10

213.7

92

110

13

22

15.23

-13.33

0.58

4

-11