With news of my favorite pitcher Pedro Martinez on his way to retirement I decided to take a look (again) at his career stats on Fangraphs. When looking at the leader boards for pitcher WAR for a single season I noticed Pedro's top seasons were all surrounded by seasons where other pitchers had significantly more innings pitched than Pedro. That got me to wondering about fWAR/9 IP. (I had also recently been thinking about fWAR/PA but haven't gotten around to looking at that yet.)What I did was export all qualified pitchers (I did starters and relievers separately) split season and career spreadsheets from Fangraphs to excel. Unfortunately fWAR for pitchers only dates back to 1980 so this isn't an all encompassing study. Then I did this little calculation WAR/(IP/9) and sorted it by largest to smallest. Granted this isn't a perfect stat by any means but just something I was curious about. I also did this very quickly so any suggestions/advice is welcome. Here's some things that I found:
- Pedro has the best single season WAR/9 for both SP and RP and the best career WAR/9 for SP (#2,3, or 4 overall (depending on your cutoff but more on that later)).
- Pedro has the #1, #2, #5, #7 and #18 spots on the single season list for SP. Pedro had a WAR/9 of .51 in 1999, the best ever. Second best for a SP is Pedro's 2000 at .42. Pedro's 2005 with the Mets ranks 146th best for a SP.
- The only other SPs in the top 10 for single season were Randy Johnson (#3 for 1995, #4 for 2001, #9 for 2004), Roger Clemens (#6 for 1997), Zack Greinke (#8 for 2009), and Doc Gooden (WAR/9 of .36, #10 for 1984)
- In the top 10 WAR/9 for single season RPs, there were no repeats and no Mariano Rivera.
- Gagne holds the #1 spot for 2003 with a WAR/9 of .49. Billy Wagner holds #2 spot for 1999 with a .44. Mariano doesn't show up until #11 for his 2008 with a WAR/9 of .40. Hoffman makes his first appearance at #21 for 1998 with a .37.
- Pedro has the best career WAR/9 for SP with .28. The top 3 career WAR/9 for RP are .3068, .3067, and .2970. #1 is John Smoltz (reliever IP only), Jonathan Papelbon, and Mariano Rivera. Smoltz ranks #12 for SP IP only with .21. So depending on where you want to put your IP cutoff Pedro could be only #2 behind Mariano for best all time or he could be #4.
- Pedro's 1999 really was insane. Compiling over a half win per nine innings is godly.
- While I haven't done this for players prior to 1980, I would guess that Pedro would hold onto his claim for the top 2 single seasons marks and might drop a spot or two in career rankings especially considering how much value older pitchers gain from the sheer # of innings they used to pitch.
- Pedro is awesome. So was Randy Johnson.