That isn't exactly what Jeff Sullivan is getting at, but it does come across that way. However, the bottom line is that he is not convinced Josh Johnson should be considered for elite status.
For his entire Major League career, Josh Johnson has called Sun Life Stadium home. And Sun Life Stadium happens to have the highest strikeout park factor in baseball. Everybody should be familiar with the concept of park factors. It's easy to understand why Coors Field inflates home runs. It's easy to understand why Fenway Park inflates doubles. It isn't so easy to understand why Sun Life Stadium inflates strikeouts, but the evidence is there that it does, and that it does to a significant degree.
OMG, give me a break. That study doesn't differentiate between home team strikeouts and road team strikeouts. In 2008 when it was performed, the Marlins lineup consisted of Dan Uggla, Mike Jacobs, Jorge Cantu and Jeremy Hermida who all contributed tons of strikeouts in the 81 games they played there that season and not to mention all of the previous seasons.
Also it isn't surprising that a pitcher will perform better on his home mound.
MLB Overall (2010 season)
Home: 19% strikeouts
Road: 18% strikeouts
Josh Johnson (career)
Home: 25% strikeouts
Road: 19% strikeouts
At home, Johnson has long been incredibly difficult to hit. On the road, his strikeout rate dips close to the league average.
And why wouldn't he rack up big numbers in the park he is most familiar with? Should he be penalized because others haven't learned to take advantaged of their home parks?
Another thing: when did strikeout rates become a litmus test for being an elite pitcher?
Jeff continues on in the article and brings up career FIP at home and on the road, never taking into account that JJ's career numbers start when he was 21 years-old or the fact he is now 27 and healthy. Weighing every year the same is a fallacy.
He concludes with the following.
Josh Johnson is most definitely an underrated young pitcher. I don't think there's any questioning the notion that his playing in Florida has been an obstacle to his getting the attention his results would warrant. But elite? I'm not yet convinced. The ability's all there, but I'll need to see him show it in more than one ballpark.
Hey, Jeff. The Marlins are coming to Safeco this season and if everything works out just right, you may see it live.
Final Note: I like Jeff, we have exchange emails in the past and he does good work. So I think I can get away with this, if not, I will be writing my final post tomorrow.