18 July, 2008

VORP Pitching Greats

Very few pitchers have had seasons that result in a VORP approaching a hundred. There are some exceptional seasons that we would expect to see among the greatest pitching seasons ever, and a few that come as a bit of a surprise. Below are the top 15 pitching seasons, according to VORP, since 1959.

Rank---------Player--------------- Year-------VORP
1 -------------Pedro Martinez------2000------- 116.7
2 -------------Roger Clemens-------1997------- 116.3
3 -------------Pedro Martinez------1999------- 102.3
4 -------------Sandy Koufax--------1966-------- 99.5
5 -------------Dwight Gooden-------1985-------- 99.3
6 -------------Randy Johnson-------1999-------- 99.3
7 -------------Jim Palmer-----------1975-------- 98.8
8 -------------Pat Hentgen----------1996-------- 98.2
9 -------------Steve Carlton---------1972-------- 97.3
10 ------------Ron Guidry-----------1978-------- 94.6
11 ------------Greg Maddux---------1995-------- 94.2
12 ------------Dean Chance----------1964-------- 92.8
13 ------------Roger Clemens--------1987-------- 92.8
14 ------------Randy Johnson--------2001------- 92.8
15 ------------Johan Santana---------2004------- 89.5
(All stats from www.baseballprospectus.com)

One other season worthy of note is Greg Maddux's 1994 strike-shortened season. Through 25 games started Maddux posted an astounding 84.7 VORP. Over 35 games this VORP would interpolate to 118.58, perhaps the greatest pitching season ever.
Something worth discussing is the fact that so many of the top seasons correspond to the "steroids era." This should not come as a surprise. A pitcher who is completely dominant during a hitter's era is more valuable because of the rarity of his performance.

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