The MLB Pitching Leaders in Wins: What to Make of Them?


Monday July 9th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky: With more than half of the season over, we’ve seen a lot of surprises when it comes to pitching. Some have pitched unbelievably well and are rewarded for it, some haven’t pitched as well and have been lucky, and some aren’t so lucky. Although it might be wrong to spotlight pitchers on the night of a hitting showcase, here’s a list of pitchers (some lucky and some not) who are atop the majors in wins.

Eight Wins:  To name a few: Ubaldo Jimenez, Clay Buchholz, Ricky Romero, Jason Vargas. I would think it’s safe to say these guys are getting really, really lucky. Taking a look at these ERAs, Jimenez has a 4.50, Buchholz has a 5.53, Romero has a 5.22, and Vargas has a 4.07. Not to mention, Buchholz has only two losses. Looking purely at wins and losses, he’s a legitimate Cy Young candidate. Obviously wins don’t tell the whole story. Luck plays a huge part in each of these win-loss records. The Indians average 4.52 runs per game, so that explains why Ubaldo wins. The Red Sox and Blue Jays never have a problem producing runs either. But the Mariners? Although he’s been lucky, Vargas has also had seven losses, so for almost every time the Mariners have scored for him, they’ve also failed to score for him.

Nine Wins:  C.J. Wilson, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Cain—among others. With a 2.43 ERA, Wilson deserves all the wins he has. The Angels provide a strong offense that produces enough runs to give CJ his wins. Strasburg, too, has a 2.82 ERA to explain his high number of wins. The Nationals weren’t a early season team to put up big numbers in the offensive department in the early part of the season, but Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper have helped to carry the team. In his career with the Giants, Matt Cain has never gotten the run support he deserves. This year he has finally gotten it and it has shown. Cain earned the starting spot in the All Star Game and will definitely be a Cy Young candidate.

Ten Wins:  Highlighted: Jered Weaver, Ivan Nova, Cole Hamels, Yu Darvish, Madison Bumgarner. Although he missed a few starts with an injury, Weaver has been spectacular with a 10-1 record and a 1.96 ERA. Look for Weaver to put up a big second-half performance and possibly even reach 20 wins. Nova has used the Yankees offense to his advantage as he has a higher 3.92 ERA and has only lost three times. Hamels has pitched well this year having a stretch of five wins in a row in May and a decent 3.20 ERA, Hamels is no surprise with ten wins. Yu Darvish has been excellent as predicted, with some control issues but he seems to have gotten them in check. Look for Darvish to be strong down the stretch. Madison Bumgarner has also been great this year with more wins than teammate Matt Cain and 115.2 innings pitched in 17 games.

Eleven Wins:  David Price, Matt Harrison, Lance Lynn. Two of these three aren’t exactly who one would expect to have eleven wins at the All Star Break. Lynn (St. Louis) and Harrison (Texas) have been pleasant surprises for their respective teams as they have been the recipients of run support. Having been the first overall pick in the 2007 draft, it’s no surprise that Price has accumulated all these wins.

Twelve Wins:  Gio Gonzalez and R.A. Dickey. Even though some of the pitchers on the overall list got lucky with the runs their offense produced, these two pitchers earned every win they got. Both in the National League, there’s no doubt these pitchers will be competing for a Cy Young. Even though the Mets are four and a half games back from the Nationals in first place, we could possibly see a Dickey/Gonzalez matchup in the playoffs. Dickey has been the surprise of the year and drew some criticism for National League manager Tony La Russa after he did not pick him to start the All Star Game. Regardless, look for both of these All Stars to carry their teams down the stretch (with Gonzalez and the Nationals more likely to make it). I think there’s a high probability that at least one of these two could end up winning 20 games.

Not listed:  Cliff Lee (one win), Tim Lincecum (three wins). Lee has been unlucky this year with a 3.98 ERA. Yes, the ERA isn’t what we’re used to seeing with a former Cy Young, but it’s not as bad as Lincecum’s (6.42) who has a record of 3-10.

As you can see, wins aren’t the best way to judge a pitcher’s success.

***Today’s feature was prepared by Bernie Olshansky, MLB reports Intern & Facebook Administrator.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky)***


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About bernieolshansky

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve experienced some exciting times with the local baseball teams—the Giants winning the World Series being the most memorable highlight. Some of my favorite players include Felix Hernandez, Tim Lincecum, and Cliff Lee among others. I played baseball up through my freshman year of high school and transitioned into being a full time fan. I regularly attend major and minor league games when I have free time. I enjoy working at a baseball store. I’m in my senior year of high school and hope to major in Journalism or Sports Administration in college. Follow Bernie on Twitter (@BernieOlshansky).

Posted on July 9, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles, Players: Fantasy Baseball Articles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. What up with this skinny kid from the CWS? Sailing, uh Saleboat? Sale, that’s it. AL Central still being trashed? Pity!

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