*All stats as of Saturday, June 27
Met fans have been looking forward to an explosion of pitching the last few years, and in general that patience has been rewarded this year. The Mets' (mostly) young staff ranks fifth in baseball with 10.0 fWAR and a 3.44 FIP, and while their strikeout rate doesn't match the historic pace of the Cleveland Indians, the Mets' pitchers are doing something very special in their own right.
Here are the top ten pitching staffs by walk rate since the mound was lowered before the 1969 season:
The Mets' pitching staff as a whole has the tenth-best walk rate since 1969. That's pretty cool, and is a testament to the strong depth that has kept the pitching strong despite a growing list of injuries (Bobby Parnell, Vic Black, Josh Edgin, Jerry Blevins, Jenrry Mejia, Erik Goeddel, Rafael Montero, Buddy Carlyle, Zack Wheeler). But then you'll notice the hated Nationals have better walk rates, both in 2014 and so far in 2015. That puts a damper on our observation.
Further, these stats are not adjusted for league averages at the time. Here's a summary of the data for league-adjusted walk rates:
|Lowest||5.7% (2005 Twins)||69.5 (2005 Twins)|
|2015 Mets Rank||10||58|
The 2015 Mets rank only 58th, still in the top five percent, but hardly something one would call historic. Stopping here would leave us a bit disappointed. But what happens if the Mets' starters are isolated?
The 2015 Mets' starting pitchers are one of only two teams to ever post a walk rate below five percent. Things remain impressive once we adjust for league:
Mets starters slip to sixth on the list, but are within spitting distance of second place—a couple solid starts puts them right back in the second spot behind the 2005 Twins, a vastly different kind of team. The 2005 Twins' rotation, consisting of peak Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse, Joe Mays, and some smatterings of Scott Baker and Francisco Liriano, actually had a below-average strikeout rate, and Santana was the only mainstay with a FIP under four. While the Twins' rotation was the best of all time at limiting walks, it didn't have anywhere near the strikeout upside the Mets' current rotation offers.
The pitching explosion Met fans have been dreaming about for several seasons is finally here. They've thrown some of the best innings in baseball while achieving the lowest walk rate among starters, and project to deliver more of the same. Sit back and enjoy.