WHY DO WE STILL CALCULATE PITCHER “WINS”?

Baseball statistics are great…. when they analyze the player’s actual ability. What if there was a statistic that penalized a player’s good performance for having bad teammates and rewarded a player’s bad performance for having good teammates? Would that be a good statistic to measure a player’s value? Should a player’s value be judged by the performance of his teammates?

It’s no secret that the wins and losses statistics for pitchers have largely been discredited by the sabermetrics community as well as modern baseball (for the most part). Anyone who uses wins and losses to rate a pitcher is usually not taken seriously these days, and why should they? It’s the same as saying that Mike Trout is worse than Lorenzo Cain because Cain won a World Series and Trout didn’t.

A starting pitcher can give up 1 run in 7 innings and be credited with a loss because his team didn’t score any runs. Another starting pitcher can give up 5 runs in 6 innings but be credited with a win because his team scored 6 runs. It makes no sense. How can a pitcher be credited with a “win” that he needs his teammates for in the first place? Unless he himself scores, he can’t win without his teammates and his hitting performance isn’t even considered for the statistic in the first place.

Despite the fact that no serious baseball analyst considers pitcher wins and losses as meaningful statistics, Major League Baseball still uses pitcher wins while deciding which pitchers win Cy Young awards every year. Wins are also used to decide which starting pitchers get inducted into the Hall of Fame. Even standard fantasy baseball leagues use the wins statistic. Is it really that hard to move on from it? Why is it so hard for the mainstream to catch up?

WAR is an example of a statistic that has revolutionized the game, with many people believing that it should decide who wins major awards more so than the traditional statistics. Pitcher wins and losses are the exact opposite and shouldn’t be taken into the consideration at all.

It’s time for pitcher wins and losses to be retired as calculated and meaningful statistics.

Do you agree or disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @NeilfromNYC and in the comments.

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