On Twitter this morning, a figure was being bandied about concerning how first year batters were faring this season. If this number is remembered correctly, first year batters were batting .172 this season. If memory is also correct, this figure was said to be the lowest in years. This Fan thought it would be fun to reverse the statistics quoted and see how first year pitchers were doing. The overall answer is: Very Good.
First year pitchers (and this doesn't include rookies such as Brandon Beachy who pitched a little last year) have pitched 326.2 innings thus far and have an ERA of 3.50. That's pretty darn solid as a group. Collectively, they are giving up 7.59 hits per inning and are striking out 7.52 batters per nine innings pitched. As you can probably figure, the walks are quite high at 4.25 walks per nine innings, but overall this young group of pitchers is doing quite well and have accumulated a total of 5.3 WAR.
Some of the standouts thus far include Michael Pineda, of course, whose pitching has increased the frenzy of speculation concerning the trade fate of Felix Hernandez. Also included is the Orioles' standout, Zach Britton, who has already accumulated 1.4 WAR and is near the top of MLB in several categories.
Other standouts include relief pitchers, Aaron Crow of the Kansas City Royals, Pedro Beato of the Mets and Al Alburquerque of the Detroit Tigers. Crow has already compiled a WAR of 1.0 in relief! Other first year relievers of note include Joshua Collmenter of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cody Eppley of the Texas Rangers, Joe Paterson of the Diamondbacks and Eduardo Sanchez of the St. Louis Cardinals. Sanchez has been thrust in there as a closer for the Cardinals and it's been adventurous for the youngster, but he has three saves thus far.
A couple of more first year pitchers holding there own are Lance Pendleton of the Yankees, Nathan Adcock of the Royals and Louis Coleman, also of the Royals.
As offense continues to plummet the last couple of years, young hitters struggle and young pitchers seem to have the upper hand. Now that Mr. Hosmer is heading to the Royals' line up, we'll have to see if those offensive numbers get a boost.
As usual, baseball-reference.com and its wonderful Play Index really came in handy for this little search and Microsoft Excel adventure.