Tuesday, May 6, 2014


It appears that 2014 will be another year--the seventh consecutive year, in fact--where young starting pitchers (aged 25 or younger) will be making significant contributions to team success.

We'll take a ten-year snapshot and compile it a table (seen at left) to briefly summarize this "advent of youth," a phenomenon that's at the forefront of the pendulum shift from the high offensive levels of 2005-06 and the more seriously austere run scoring that's been in place over the past five seasons.

The table shows us that 2008 was the pivotal year where our sea-change began. Note the significant uptick in both quantity and quality of young starting pitching. (The "No." column shows us how many young starters qualified for the ERA title in each of these years.)

In the years since, we see that quantity has leveled off but remains higher than in the 2005-7 time frame, and that quality has continued to improve significantly. 2013 was one of the great "renaissance years" for young starting pitching, reaching peaks of overall WPCT (.596) and run prevention (3.30 ERA).

2014 seems to be bringing us another bumper crop. While it's not a slam dunk that we'll wind up with the most young pitchers in this ten-year period who throw at least 162 IP, the current figure (29) is the highest in the period being examined.

It certainly appears that we're in an age dominated by young starters, one that's accelerated over the past 5-6 years. Consider: the aggregate ERA for these young pitchers with 162+ IP in 2005-08 was 3.99, while in 2009-2014, it is 3.54.

Young pitching is leading the way.