Sunday, February 19, 2012

Newhouser Saved the Tigers Lots of Runs in 1945-1946

In an earlier post, the ERA+ statistic was used to rank the top seasons for starters in the history of the Tigers.  We saw that right-hander Ed Siever's 197 ERA+ in 1902 was the highest ever for a Tigers starter.  However, he only pitched 188 innings that year and many other pitchers with high ERA+ marks had much heavier workloads.  In another recent post, it was shown that the Pitching Runs (PitchR) metric can be used to give a pitcher credit for quality and quantity of innings.  Using that metric gives us a different perspective of the best pitching seasons ever.

Table 1 below lists the top 15 single seasons for Tigers pitchers by Pitching Runs.  The first thing you might notice is that Sieiver falls out of the top 15.  In fact, his 1902 season drops all the way to 26th according to Pitching Runs.  The new leader is the great Hal Newhouser with 58 Pitching Runs in 1945.  Prince Hal's 53 Pitching Runs in 1946 ranks number two.  Given that major league rosters were depleted by World War II, his 1946 season is probably more impressive.

Table 1 - Tigers All-Time Single-Season Pitching Runs Leaders

Player
Year
IP
ERA
ERA+
PtchR
Hal Newhouser
1945
313
1.81
195
58
Hal Newhouser
1946
292
1.94
190
53
Dizzy Trout
1944
352
2.12
167
52
Justin Verlander
2011
251
2.40
170
47
Bobo Newsom
1940
264
2.83
168
46
Hal Newhouser
1944
312
2.22
159
43
Virgil Trucks
1949
275
2.81
148
43
Tommy Bridges
1936
294
3.60
137
42
Bobo Newsom
1939
246
3.37
146
42
Dizzy Trout
1946
276
2.34
157
39
Justin Thompson
1997
223
3.02
152
38
Denny McLain
1968
336
1.96
154
38
Art Houtteman
1950
274
3.54
132
38
Denny McLain
1969
325
2.80
135
38
Hal Newhouser
1948
272
3.01
145
37
Data source: Baseball-Reference.com

Newhouser's 1944 and 1948 seasons also make the cut giving him four of the top 15 seasons. Others appearing more than once on the list are Dizzy Trout in 1944 and 1946, Bobo Newsom in 1939 and 1940 and Denny McLain in 1968 and 1969.

Justin Verlander's 47 Pitching Runs in 2011 ranks fourth all-time.  If you want to exclude the World War II seasons, then it would rank as the second best season ever.

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