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Meaningless Win - Loss Records

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Last night's outing by Brian Moehler was evidence enough that win-loss records are effectively meaningless for a pitcher. Big Moe once again pitched a great game (he even knocked in two runs), but didn't get a decision. Despite earning a 2.59 ERA and striking out nearly three men for each one that he walks, Moehler has only "earned" a record of 2-3 this season. That's a shame, because he's pitched well enough to have at least six wins at this point in the season.

To help illustrate how meaningless win - loss records are, let's play a little game. First, I'll list some pitchers (including all of the Marlins regular starters - sorry, Frank Castillo) and their 2005 win - loss records. Then, I'll list some stats for those same pitchers, in random order. The stats will be Win Shares (courtesy of The Hardball Times), VoRP (courtesy of BP), and ERA (which you should be able to find with your eyes closed).

Here are the pitchers:
1. Josh Beckett (7-3)
2. Al Leiter (2-6)
3. A.J. Burnett (3-4)
4. Dontrelle Willis (9-2)
5. Brian Moehler (2-3)
6. Roger Clemens (4-3)
7. Jeff Francis (5-2)
8. Jose Contreras (3-2)

Here are their stats (Win Shares, VoRP, ERA):
A. 3, 4.7, 5.03
B. 8, 22.6, 2.58
C. 6, 14.5, 3.13
D. 4, 16.1, 3.03
E. 4, 18.2, 2.59
F. 12, 35.3, 1.67
G. -1, -5.4, 6.45
H. 10, 31.4, 1.85

Now try to match them up (click "Read More" to see the correct match ups).

Here they are all matched up:

1. Josh Beckett (7-3) - (B) 8, 22.6, 2.58
2. Al Leiter (2-6) - (G) -1, -5.4, 6.45
3. A.J. Burnett (3-4) - (D) 4, 16.1, 3.03
4. Dontrelle Willis (9-2) - (H) 10, 31.4, 1.85
5. Brian Moehler (2-3) - (E) 4, 18.2, 2.59
6. Roger Clemens (4-3) - (F) 12, 35.3, 1.67
7. Jeff Francis (5-2) - (A) 3, 4.7, 5.03
8. Jose Contreras (3-2) - (C) 6, 14.5, 3.13

Now it's easier to see why you might prefer a 2-3 pitcher (like Moehler) over a 5-2 pitcher (like Francis). VoRP and Win Shares even help to clear up the fuzziness of Francis accumulating some of his stats (i.e. ERA) in Denver's thin air.

One last fun Moehler stat: Big Moe is 29th in the Majors in VoRP. That may not be too impressive until you consider that there are thirty teams in the majors. Based on his current ranking, Moehler would be leading many clubs pitching staffs in VoRP; the Marlins 5th starter could arguably be the ace of many staffs. That's pretty impressive for a guy who was pretty much out of the game and didn't have a role with the Marlins until a freak injury occurred late in spring training.