Congratulations, Jake Arrieta, and thank you! Thank you for being credited with nine victories – a number that has baseball analysts talking about your victory total and asking the all-important question: What do you make of a guy with a 4.50 ERA who has as many victories as any of the top pitchers in the game? Answer: WINS for pitchers is one of the dumbest stats in baseball and it’s born out in the Arrieta case.
His ERA is nearly a full run higher than rotation mate Jeremy Guthrie who going into Tuesday’s game had just two victories. Why? Guthrie gets very little run support while Arrieta gets some of the best run support in the league this season. Arrieta is among the league-leader in wins despite having an ERA above the league average! Analysis: crediting a pitcher for a WIN (a team stat assigned to an individual) is more of a reflection of circumstance and not an accurate reflection of a pitcher’s performance. Yet, intelligent baseball people continue to sound less than intelligent when they speak of a pitcher’s win-loss record and delve into attempts of meaningful analysis of a stat that is more circumstantial than it is meaningful.
As former Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson said on MASN when asked of Arrieta’s win total: “He’s been lucky.”
Thank you, Jake Arrieta, for helping me on my crusade to abolish references to this silly stat.