Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
So… does it matter?
For some teams, injuries and ineffectiveness cause a revolving door on the pitching staff, specifically which pitchers will start games. But does it matter if a team has to keep shuffling their starting rotation?
First, let’s look at the Brewers. This year the Crew has already used 10 starters (Gallardo, Peralta, Lohse, Estrada, Burgos, Figaro, Gorzelanny, Hand, Fiers and Hellweg). In looking at past history, the most starters the Brewers have used in a season is 13. That has happened six times (1975, 1984, 1989, 1991, 2001 and 2002). Go back to the 1969 season when the franchise was known as the Seattle Pilots and you will see that team started 17 different pitchers that season.
(Note: For those of you that are interested, those 17 starters is nowhere near the most used by a team in a season. The most starters used by a team in a season is 24 by the Philadelphia A’s in 1915. The only other team to use 20 or more starting pitchers in a season were the 1969 New York Mets who used 20.)
Back to the Brewers. Of the 44 seasons prior to 2013, the Brewers pitching staff used 10 or more starters in a season 27 times. The team ended up winning more than half their games that season only six times. Conversely, in the 17 seasons where the Brewers used less than 10 starting pitchers, the team won more than 50% of their games in 10 of those seasons.
Here’s one more stat on the Brewers: Of the four times the Brewers have made the playoffs, they used less than 10 starting pitchers in each of those seasons (six in 1981; nine in 1982; eight in 2008; and six in 2011).
This year there have been 255 different starting pitchers used in the majors. Baltimore and Toronto lead the majors with each team using 13 different starters so far this season.
But what’s interesting is that there are three teams that have used only six starters this year: Atlanta, Detroit and Oakland. Guess what? Each of those three is leading its division! In fact, the six division leaders at the All-Star break have used an average of 7.2 starters. The other 24 teams have used an average of 8.8 starters.
Does it matter how many starters you use in a season? The numbers seem to indicate that it does. Consistency and good health in the starting rotation is important.
“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is $2.99