Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I think we need a Devo reference, or else I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today, or any other day when "the troubles" seemed so far to drown out those sorrows (following the sage advice of Mark M. and Jerry C.) we'll break out the bullwhip.

Let's ride Rany's ticket, the one that involves an E-coupon and a submarine (boy, we're really stretching the oblique-i-tude thing you know, we'll bring back William Beebe and his gol-fer-snickin' bathysphere or something...) and follow up on his paean to Brad Ziegler with--you guessed it, Yet Another List.

Ziegler, the crafty submariner who makes Mr. Jazayerli's heart skip a beat, is, in fact, the holder of an odd record.

He's currently the pitcher in baseball history (1901-2014) whose FIP (if you don't know what FIP is, you have obviously been living in a bathysphere for longer than we should probably mention...) is highest relative to his ERA.

Crudely speaking (and why not? We've already got the bullwhip into the conversation...), that means that Brad is doing the best job of exceeding his expectations with respect to effectiveness.

According to FIP, that is.

The list follows below, and contains the 53 pitchers whose lifetime FIP is at least 20% higher than their ERA.

Some interesting names here, as you might expect, including three Hall of Famers (OK, they haven't inducted Mariano yet, but you can rest assured that it is merely a formality. And yes, you're right, there are actually four HoFers here, we've omitted mentioning Babe Ruth because he's not in the Hall due to his pitching.)

This is primarily a list of relief pitchers, but it's very interesting to see Jim Palmer here. Many analysts have speculated that Palmer's career totals are better than what his peripheral stats suggested would be the case;  FIP suggests that the Oriole defense might well have been a reason for this.

All of the currently active pitchers are shown in bold type: Ziegler is joined by five other relievers, though only Craig Breslow and Tyler Clippard are anywhere near him on the list.

And thank God (or whatever divine force to which you must supplicate...) for a list that fiinally gets Buttons Briggs on it.

It's a fun list because it combines some really great players with some people you probably have been trying to get out of your mind (Alan did he get 400 lifetime IP, anyway? How did he not get forty lashes and a one-way trip in the diving bell a whole helluva lot sooner than that?? Baseball is littered with arcane mysteries...)