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Two-Grand-Slam Games Since 2006 Josh Tomlin And The Longest Streaks Without 2+ Walks
Carlos Silva was released (again) today, this time by the Yankees. In his honor, a list of all the pitchers to qualify for an ERA title while allowing more home runs than walks.
Silva’s 2005 and 2006 seasons are legendary (to me, at least). In 2005, he walked only 9 men all year (think about that) but gave up 25 homers. In 2006, he walked only 32 (still excellent) but allowed 38 homers, which led the league. These seasons are two of only 15 full seasons all-time in which a pitcher has qualified for the ERA title while giving up more homers than walks. Two pitchers from this season are on pace to join them.
In the table below, a bold home run total indicates that it led the league. I’ve included each pitchers’ ERA+ to give you a sense of how well they pitched overall. Above 100 is good, below 100 is bad, and each point represents one percent above or below average.
As you’d expect from any such good/bad list, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. Nobody epitomizes that better than Silva, who was great in 2005 (130 ERA+) but terrible in 2006 (75 ERA+).
It says something about the eras involved that only two players in baseball history had more homers than walks allowed in the first 100+ years of baseball history, Robin Roberts in 1956 and Gary Nolan in 1976. Then, suddenly, there was a huge spurt of such seasons, with 7 players combining to post 13 such seasons between 1998 and 2006. There have been no such seasons since (though as you can see, Josh Tomlin and Bronson Arroyo are on pace so far this year).
Only 10 different pitchers have had a more-homer-than-walk season, since 5 guys did it twice–Silva, David Wells, Rick Reed, Brad Radke, and Jon Lieber. All of these guys were control artists who were very hittable when not at their best. There were a lot of those during the 90′s and 00′s for whatever reason. None of them ever did it a third time, presumably because it’s hard to give up lots of home runs and stay in a major league rotation, no matter how few guys you walk.
I’ll have more on Josh Tomlin, who’s having a very interesting season, in a later post.
This blog is devoted to the invention and use of unusual baseball statistics. These Junk Stats are designed to reveal the not-so-meaningful quirks that make baseball so fascinating.
JunkStats is written by Jacob Peterson, who also writes for the Braves blog Talking ChopBeyond the Boxscore
For more about the site or the author, read the About page
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