Section 518

Where we endeavor to stay positive about the 2011 Mets…

Flushing Frivolity – 1/5/10

Posted by JD on January 5, 2010

I came across an unexpected stat while researching yesterday’s Frivolity: Elmer Dessens had an 124 ERA+ in 2009. ERA+ measures a player’s ERA against the league average and adjusts for a player’s home park (a 100 ERA+ represents league average). That means Dessens allowed 24% fewer earned runs than the average pitcher, which is somewhat jarring to me personally (having actually seen him pitch, and all).

To put that in perspective, I created a report on Baseball Reference ranking all the pitchers who threw at least 32 innings (Dessens’ total) by ERA+. Dessens ranked 117 out of 419 pitchers who qualified. I did not see that coming at all. Some of the pitchers below Dessens (with ERA+/rank) were Mark Buehrle (121/132), Carlos Zambrano (119/138), Joel Piniero (118/140), and John Lackey (118/141)*. These guys are bona-fide starters. Heck, Buehrle even pitched a perfect game last season.

*I threw these two guys into the discussion because I find it funny that they’re similar, yet Piniero will make about half what Lackey will. Using some of their rate stats, (particularly BB/9 and SO/BB rates) I could make an argument that Piniero is better than Lackey. I could, but I won’t. Because I really don’t care.

No, I’m not seriously comparing Dessens to these guys. Even I know that one stat does not paint an accurate portrait, especially when there’s such a disparity in innings pitched and game situations (Dessens only appeared in three games in which the Mets had a lead, and those leads were all of four or more runs). Dessens wasn’t better last year than Buehrle, Zambrano, Piniero, Lackey or a lot of others. But, he was a little better than the fans’ perception of him (mine included), and I thought that was worth sharing.

And kindly feel free to shove this post in my face this season as soon as Dessens gets lit up like a Christmas Tree. He posted one better than average statistic and I went ahead and wrote a whole post about it: I’m blatantly asking to be mocked here.

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One Response to “Flushing Frivolity – 1/5/10”

  1. Paul said

    I never understood why Elmer Dessens inspired any sort of feeling from Mets fans. He was just sort of there to mop up when things were really out of hand.

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