Bob on wins versus expected wins

I’m sure I’ve done this before, or something very much like it. One can make a pretty good estimate of how many decisions a pitcher should have had by dividing IPs by 8.9. Here are the 24 300-game winners with their Actual Decisions and their Expected Decisions, in order of the variance:
+31 696 665 Walter Johnson
+31 544 513 Early Wynn
+23 561 538 Christy Mathewson
+19 582 563 Greg Maddux
+19 608 589 Warren Spahn
+15 520 505 Eddie Plank
+12 508 496 Tom Glavine
+11 616 605 Nolan Ryan
+04 469 465 Randy Johnson
000 675 675 Pud Galvin
000 567 567 Tim Keefe
000 569 569 Kid Nichols
000 827 827 Cy Young
-02 581 583 Pete Alexander
-02 441 443 Lefty Grove
-04 506 510 John Clarkson
-06 503 509 Hoss Radbourn
-12 579 601 Gaylord Perry
-13 573 586 Steve Carlton
-14 538 552 Roger Clemens
-14 580 594 Don Sutton
-15 592 607 Phil Niekro
-21 516 537 Tom Seaver
-23 517 540 Mickey Welch
Honestly, I don’t see any clear pattern. It’s not good/bad teams. At the extremes, we have Seaver and Johnson who mostly played for bad teams and Wynn and Welch who mostly played for good teams. When one sees a pattern, it quickly disappears with further investigation. When I saw both Maddux and Glavine being positives, I went “a-ha”, but Smoltz was -22 (that’s mostly a function of getting very few decisions as a reliever, tho he was barely in the negative as a starter). I’d say it’s marginal information….

…..Until you tie it into Expected Wins And Expected Losses. One can make a reasonable guess as to how many wins and losses a pitcher should have by taking their ERA+ and using the Pythagorean formula and multiplying by Expected Decisions. I’d surmise almost everyone would guess the unluckiest pitcher, Walter Johnson. He should have gone 454-211 instead of 417-279. That’s a whopping 52.5 games over his actual record. I’ll list the 24 in order of their missing their actual record
+52.5 417-279 454-211 Walter Johnson
+31.0 511-316 542-285 Cy Young
+20.5 318-274 346-261 Phil Niekro
+19.5 314-265 347-254 Gaylord Perry
+18.5 324-292 337-268 Nolan Ryan
+16.0 361-208 377-192 Kid Nichols
+12.5 355-227 358-205 Greg Maddux
+10.5 311-205 332-205 Tom Seaver
+10.0 354-184 371-181 Roger Clemens
+06.0 342-225 348-219 Tim Keefe
+03.0 373-208 377-206 Pete Alexander
-03.0 300-141 304-139 Lefty Grove
-01.0 303-166 300-165 Randy Johnson
-01.5 329-244 334-252 Steve Carlton
-04.0 328-178 326-184 John Clarkson
-05.0 365-310 360-315 Pud Galvin
-08.5 363-245 345-244 Warren Spahn
-10.0 305-203 289-207 Tom Glavine
-10.5 300-244 274-239 Early Wynn
-11.0 324-256 320-274 Don Sutton
-14.0 309-194 298-211 Hoss Radbourn
-14.5 373-188 347-191 Christy Mathewson
-15.5 307-210 303-237 Mickey Welch
-16.5 326-194 302-203 Eddie Plank
It seems like the unluckiest are the ones we’d expect, tho I don’t think many would have Cy Young come to mind as unlucky.

Again, I don’t see any clear pattern. Maddux won about as many as he should have, but lost 20 too many games; Clemens is missing about 20 wins, but the losses are just about right. Mickey Welch has the right number of wins, but should have had 20 more losses; Wynn has about the right number of losses, but 20 extra wins. I wouldn’t say it’s valuable information, just interesting information.

I’m going to add two more names, Bobby Mathews and Bert Blyleven. I don’t have ERA+s for 1869 and 1870 for Mathews, and I’m including Blyleven because he’s the only other pitcher who “should” have won 300 by this particular formula.
+27.5 287-250 325-233 Blyleven
-14.0 297-248 289-268 Mathews (As best as I can tell Mathews went 7-20 in ’69 and ’70.)

Blyleven missed his Expected Wins by 38 for “most” in history, as Walter Johnson “only” missed his by 37. Perry is at 33 and Young is at 31. Both Wynn and Mathewson over-shot their expectations by 26 wins. That’s not the largest variance. I don’t know what the most is, but Mussina had 29 “extra” wins and Pettitte had an other-worldly +41.

I figured the Innings Per Decision for the 21 HOF pitchers who pitched into the ’60s. They averaged 9.01 Inning/Decision. I figured the Innings Per Decision for the 22 pitchers with the highest pitching WAR not in or not likely to get in any time soon; their IP/D was 8.83. I also looked at the 6 leading candidates for the Hall on this winter’s ballot; their IP/D was 8.95.

Honestly, I see no rhyme or reason as to who has and who doesn’t have a high or low IP/D. MarisFan thinks there might be some significance and/or reason why one pitcher might have a 9.40 IP/D while another has a 8.50 IP/D. I’ve looked at finesse versus power, good offenses versus poor offenses, hitters’ park versus pitchers’ park. I find no pattern. From these 49 pitchers, can you pick out who had the 4 highest and 4 lowest IP/D from these 8 names: Kevin Appier, Mike Mussina, Roy Oswalt, Jim Palmer, Tom Seaver, Johan Santana, John Smoltz and Early Wynn? It’s a rhetorical question; you don’t need to answer via Reader Posts.

In the next post I’ll list all 49 pitchers’ IP/D.

The 49 pitchers and their IP/D:
9.44 J Smoltz
9.40 J Palmer
9.33 J Santana
9.27 T Seaver
9.26 B Blyleven
9.26 W Ford
9.25 D Stieb
9.24 G Perry
9.22 J Bunning
9.22 S Koufax
9.17 K Brown
9.15 D Drysdale
9.14 R Clemens
9.14 B Gibson
9.13 D Martinez
9.13 P Niekro
9.11 S Carlton
9.11 J Marichal
9.11 D Sutton
9.08 T John
9.06 D Cone
9.03 B Saberhagen
9.01 C Schilling
8.91 J Koosman
8.86 P Martinez
8.84 O Hershiser
8.84 J Hunter
8.83 R Roberts
8.82 F Jenkins
8.82 R Johnson
8.81 K Rogers
8.80 F Tanana
8.79 M Langston
8.76 R Reuschel
8.74 N Ryan
8.70 B Pierce
8.69 L Tiant
8.68 D Wells
8.65 L Jackson
8.62 W Spahn
8.61 G Maddux
8.57 C Finley
8.55 J Key
8.52 J Moyer
8.48 K Appier
8.47 R Oswalt
8.42 M Mussina
8.39 E Wynn

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