So I was in a great discussion on Twitter tonight with a few other Cardinals fans and the conversation turned to the starting pitching. I wanted to take a look at just how good our starters are as one person claimed the Cardinals starters are not individually elite, but just elite as a grouping.
Here is my method. I combined ERA, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA and divided by 4. The reason behind this is because ERA is what actually happened (at least according to whomever is calling hits/errors. FIP is what should happen based on league average defense. xFIP is what should have happened based on league average defense and league average HR allowed. Lastly, SIERA is what should have happened based on how batters hit balls off of the pitcher.
It's pretty all encompassing and more predictive than a small sample size of ERA - which is great by itself in a larger sample.
In any case, there are 160 major league starters with at least 40 innings pitched - that's the lowest amount of innings pitched that got me at least 5 starters for each team. Out of those 160 starters, where do the Cardinals' pitchers rank in my Run Average stat that I created?
Jaime Garcia - 2.58 (5th in baseball)
Carlos Martinez - 3.02 (17th in baseball)
Lance Lynn - 3.04 (19th in baseball)
Michael Wacha - 3.41 (40th in baseball)
John Lackey - 3.59 (47th in baseball)
So, let's put this another way. How ELITE is this Cardinals' rotation?
Based on this statistic:
Jaime Garcia would be the #1 pitcher on 26 teams and the #2 pitcher on 4 teams;
Carlos Martinez would be the #1 pitcher on 19 teams, the #2 pitcher on 8 teams, and #3 pitcher on 3 teams;
Lance Lynn would be the #1 pitcher on 18 teams, the #2 pitcher on 7 teams, and #3 pitcher on 5 teams;
Michael Wacha would be the #1 pitcher on 7 teams, the #2 pitcher on 22 teams, and the #5 pitcher on 1 team.
John Lackey would be the #1 pitcher on 7 teams, the #2 pitcher on 19 teams, the #3 pitcher on 1 teams, and the #5 pitcher on 3 teams.
So, basically, the Cardinals have 5 starters who would be the #1 for at least 7 teams in the league. The Cardinals have 5 starters that would be the #2 starter or better for at least 26 teams in the league. AND, the Cardinals have at least 5 starters who would be the #3 starter or better for at least 27 teams in the league.
How's that for "elite"?