Baseball is the sport of statistics. There is a stat for every play. Literally. The back of baseball cards don’t even do justice for what each player really has when it comes to stats. One thing you don’t find too much of is a rating system. Until now.

Pitchers stats can get complicated. You really can’t compare pitchers to each other because of the different stats they accumulate. Someone could have 20 wins in a season with a 3.50 ERA, but someone else could have a 2.05 ERA and win maybe 12 games. Well, how do you compare the two. Can’t fault the low ERA guy for being on a team with tough run support.

I developed a rating system, somewhat like the RPI rankings in NCAA Basketball. I incorporated the stats, that to me, are the most important you would want in a pitcher every time he steps out onto the mound. 

ERA (Earned Run Average) is without a doubt, to me, the most important. Simply put: you don’t want guys to score against you. Duh.

WHIP (Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched) is clearly important also. It shows how many people they get on base.

The stat I wanted to use that you may not find elsewhere is the Slugging percentage against the hitter. I took a version of the slugging percentage you would find in a hitter then just flipped it to the pitchers. (singles + (doubles x2) + (triples x3) + (homers x4) / batters faced)

Finally, the last stat added together with the rest was a strikeout stat. Pitchers who get more strikeouts, in my opinion, are more affective than ones who force ground outs. So, throwing in strikeouts per 9 innings was the final stat I chose. But in order to work with the other three stats, I had to make it 1/(K/9). This makes it so you would want a smaller number as a pitcher, like the other three.

So when you add all of them together than put a ranking to the pitchers, it gives you a system to order them around the league.

The reason I came up with this is because a friend who writes for the Washington Nationals for WUSA in the DC area asked me to come up with something to rank the teams pitchers. So after each pitcher finished 2 starts I put this all together. Here were the results:

1. Stephan Strasburg (1.78)

2. Ross Detwiler (2.45)

3. Jordan Zimmerman (2.54)

4. Edwin Jackson (3.53)

5. Gio Gonzalez (4.89)

This honestly proves more that the Nationals rotation is probably the best in the league thus far more than anything, so I wanted to get more of a sample size. I then grabbed the top three from each league in the Cy Young in 2011 and some pitchers that had a bad year in the same season. Here were the results.

Clayton Kershaw (NL Cy Young) – 3.59

Justin Verlander (AL Cy Young) – 3.65

Roy Halladay – 3.77

Cliff Lee – 3.80

Jared Weaver – 3.80

James Shields – 4.23

Ricky Nolasco – 6.57

Jeff Francis – 6.84

AJ Burnett – 7.00

Derek Lowe – 7.03

Brad Penny – 7.49

Throughout this year I will be posting the top 10 in each league weekly, starting next week. Keep checking to see if it correlates with how the pitcher is doing with the enormous amount of stats he comes up with.

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