The Free Press, Mankato, MN


September 30, 2012

Thoma column: There's real value in being an average pitcher


Or the most average starter could be rookie Lucas Harrell of the Houston Astros, with his 3.88 ERA and much lower price tag (about $2,500 an inning).

The median ERA starter — half of the qualifiers are higher, half are lower — is Josh Johnson of Miami, with his 3.81 ERA.

Looking at medians among the qualifiers in other key evaluation stats:

  • Jon Niese of the Mets is the median in strikeouts per nine innings (7.33; average for all starters is 7.1)
  • Gio Gonzalez of Washington is the median in strikeout/walk ratio (2.72 K/BB; starter average is 2.50)
  • Phil Hughes of the Yankees is the median in innings pitched (186.2; qualifier average is 188).

A rotation of Diamond and the medians — Johnson, Niese, Gonzalez and Hughes — would be very good indeed. But it’s not easy, or cheap, to find a rotation of reliably average pitchers.


Edward Thoma (344-6377; maintains his Baseball Outsider blog at Follow him on Twitter @bboutsider.

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