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Still too early to worry about faltering aces

Apr 13, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Toronto Blue Jays' starting pitcher Dickey throws against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of their MLB American League baseball game in Toronto Reuters

The ERA leaderboard, organized greatest to least, is a bit of a shocker. At the top you’ll find both of the defending Cy Young award winners (David Price and R.A. Dickey), as well as Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, and Stephen Strasburg, among others. You’ll hear this a lot but it bears repeating: it’s still very early, so you can’t really trust the stats yet.

I went back to starters’ first  three starts in 2012 and found some surprising ERA outliers as well, then I researched how they fared over the rest of the season. A small selection of elite hurlers:

(ERA-3 = ERA through three starts; ERA-RoS = rest-of-season ERA)

Player ERA-3 ERA-RoS
Adam Wainwright 9.88 3.50
Max Scherzer 7.98 3.38
Josh Johnson 5.94 3.61
R.A. Dickey 5.71 2.50
CC Sabathia 5.59 3.14
Zack Greinke 5.09 3.33
David Price 4.20 2.43

This exercise can be repeated for any group of players. Just to name a few on the hitting side: Matt Holliday had a .602 OPS after the first two weeks last year, but bounced back and posted a .908 OPS the rest of the way. Jay Bruce went from .679 in the first two weeks to .859 the rest of the way. Giancarlo Stanton went from .642 in the first two weeks to 1.010 through the end of the season.

  1. cur68 - Apr 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Thanks Bill. I needed that reminder. I was getting ready to panic there. Maybe today’s the day, eh? Perhaps, we’ll see RA Dickey return to form as That Guy. Can’t wait.

    • proudlycanadian - Apr 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM

      Today was the day.

      • cur68 - Apr 13, 2013 at 10:48 PM

        Yes. Yes it was. Hat tip to Bill for the for the Mojo.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:07 PM

      The POS comment was not intended as a personal attack. It probably came out rougher than I intended. The Tigress is sorry.

      • cur68 - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Relax. I don’t get offended easily at stuff on an internet forum. Besides, its not like you go out of your way it irritate people. Pretty much anything you say seems to be with humour meant. I got a pretty good idea who I’m dealing with. That’s why I wear a monocle, see? Allows me to see the humour. It’s like my only super power.

      • historiophiliac - Apr 15, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Oh, don’t undersell that gas-hole of yourn.

  2. hittfamily - Apr 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Evan Longoria has 0 extra base hits through 10 games. He is not alone in St Pete. Ryan Roberts has 0. Molina has 0. Fuld Has 0. Kelly Johnson has 1. Lobaton has 1. SeanRod has 1. Joyce has 1. Only Loney (2), Zobrist (4) and Jennings (5) have more than 1 extra base hit. 4 home runs through 10 games. 31 RBIs through 10 games. Pitiful for a team hoping to make the post season.

    The Rays need to call up Wil Myers ASAP! They can’t afford to lose anymore games 2-1.

  3. paperlions - Apr 13, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    It’s almost like….small sample size is a thing….or something. Do people know about this?

    • chacochicken - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:16 PM

      I am fascinated by your approach to statistics and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      • paperlions - Apr 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM

        My approach is called “comprehensive feigned innocence”, I think you’ll find it fascinating. With this approach, you will repeatedly find the exact same insights novel and interesting. Even things you learned the previous day will fascinate you anew.

  4. proudlycanadian - Apr 13, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Dickey won his first game of the season tonight, defeating Shields.

    • historiophiliac - Apr 13, 2013 at 11:55 PM

      Congrats. I can’t wait to hear dirtyharry’s take on it!

      • proudlycanadian - Apr 14, 2013 at 6:37 AM

        Harry appears to have a mental illness. When I see a notification that he has replied to one of my posts, I ignore it.

  5. sfm073 - Apr 14, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    If was Toronto fans I’d be worried about dickey. A guy has by far is best season ever in his mid 30’s. his contract is going to doom them long term, but you have to be worried since he’s considered your ace.

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