Best pitching the game has ever seen

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016 at 10:23:49 AM UTC-5, Michael Sacks wrote:
> > Perhaps the Feldman and Clevenger for Arrieta and Strop is karma paying us
> > back for Brock for Broglio.
>
> Over the short term (~24 starts between last year and this year),

>  there’s a case to be made he’s the best pitcher period baseball has
> ever seen.  His last 20-something starts stacks up with Gibson’s best
> streak during his ’68 season, and other dominant parts of seasons.

Oh boy.  Making this statement is like saying Tiger Woods was the
best golf has ever seen between the last 5 holes of the 2nd round
to the first 13 holes of the 3rd round.

That said, let’s have some fun with this.  I can’t do 24 starts
periods because event data only goes back to mid 60s and before
that even daily box scores get sketchy so let’s just do seasonal
compares.  Let’s assume extrapolating 24 games is like 2/3 of
season even though you shouldn’t extrapolate.

Bob Gibson had a very low ERA in 1968 of 1.12 over 300 innings
pitched which is phenomenal but the league average for runs
scored that year was very low. ERA does not take into
account league averages.  Here are my model’s top single year pitching
performances post 1900.

1 20.6 Cy_Young_BOS 1901
2 16.8 Walter_Johnson_MIN 1912
3 16.1 Pete_Alexander_PHI 1915
4 15.5 Carl_Hubbell_SFN 1936
5 15.3 Lefty_Grove_OAK 1930
6 15.2 Walter_Johnson_MIN 1913
7 15.2 Dolf_Luque_CIN 1923
8 15.1 Pedro_Martinez_BOS 2000
9 15.0 Jack_Taylor_CHN 1902
10 14.9 Kevin_Brown_MIA 1996

So it’s Cy Young, his recent award namesake, Arrieta must beat.

Looking back at 2015 dailies, 24 starts ago started on 6/22/2015 for
Arietta.  He went into that game with a +1.0 WAA.  He ended the
season at +11.5 so the difference is +10.5 between 6/22 and the end
of 2015 season.  He’s at +2.3 this year so together he’s at
+12.8 WAA for his last 24 starts.

If we extrapolate 24 starts that +12.8 becomes +19.2
for a full season.  That still doesn’t get him over Cy Young
but it’s damned close.  I must repeat; extrapolating
like this is inappropriate since Cy Young actually played
a full season and extrapolating simply says what if for
1/3 of Arrieta’s.

It’s possible Pedro Martinez, Kevin Brown, Greg Maddux, Clemens,
Gooden, Johnson, etc. who played in the modern era might have had
24 game stretches like Arrieta’s as well.

And as always.  Don’t mean to jinx Arrieta.  Knock on Kerry Wood.