Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fun with Baseball Reference's Play Index

I was playing around with Baseball Reference's Play Index a moment ago, and decided to see how Jack Morris fared as compared to his peers during the seasons that spanned his 18 year career (1977-1994).  Keep in mind that certain pitchers (Jim Palmer, Greg Maddux, etc.) were active for part of that time period, so these numbers don't reflect their entire careers.  It will only reflect Morris's entire career, and those lucky enough have fit their career within this sample size.  Here's how he ranked (minimum of 1000 innings pitched):
  • Wins Above Replacement - Finished 16th with 39.3 WAR.  While he finished behind Hall of Fame quality pitchers like Greg Maddux, Nolan Ryan, Roger Clemens, Bert Blyleven, and Phil Neikro; he also finished behind decidedly non-Hall of Fame pitchers like Rick Reuschel, Bob Welch, Mark Langston, and Frank Viola.
  • ERA+ - Finished tied for 67th with an ERA+ of 105.  He finished behind such legends as Bob Tewksbury, Scott Erickson, Greg Swindell, Greg Harris, and many other non-Hall of Fame pitchers. 
  • ERA - Finished tied for 103rd with an ERA of 3.90.  For all of those people who claim that Morris pitched to the score, this study by Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus (and many others that are similar) disproves that notion.  He wasn't pitching to the score, he just wasn't very good at preventing runs.  
  • FIP - Finished 138th with an FIP of 3.94.  For those who thought Morris may've suffered from an unlucky ERA, his FIP disproves that idea.  In reality, Morris had tremendous luck, which typically came in the form of unbelievable run support.
  • K/BB - Finished 81st with a K/BB ratio of 1.79.   There are three things that a pitcher has the most control over:  strikeouts, walks, and inducing ground balls.  Morris wasn't good with any of them.  His K/BB rate was worse than Ed Whitson, Kevin Gregg, Mike Witt, Tom Browning, and Terry Mulholland.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I still don't see him as a Hall of Fame pitcher.  He's just not that good. 

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