In part three of my statistical follow-up series, I cover a stat I came up with last year and followed closely throughout the year. A stopper is a starting pitcher of a game where there team has lost the previous three or more games. A stopper has the possibility of reversing any losing streak and simply “stopping” the bleeding. Who was the 2015 MLB Stopper of the Year?
Below are the 2015 stopper stats. A few items to point out before the individual player results: The St. Louis Cardinals had the least stopper attempts of all teams with only six, but that is what you get with a 100 win season. The Philadelphia Phillies led the league with 42 attempts. The Cardinals also led with a 1.86 ERA in team stopper stats, also logically correct since better stopper stats means less attempts. The Braves had the worst ERA with a 6.16 ERA. League-wide pitchers won 46.04% of their stopper stats, so it was more likely for a team to lose their next game if they were on a three-plus game losing streak.
*W/L numbers are team results; the starter didn’t necessarily earn the stat. Pitchers had to at least have three attempts to qualify*
|De La Rosa, R.||3.46||4||2|
|De La Rosa, J.||4.53||3||5|
- What is eye-popping right off the bat is much more than last year, the best stopper stats belonged to well-known team aces.
- Archer, Arrieta, Kershaw, deGrom and Greinke, all Cy Young hopefuls towards the end of the season, had the five lowest stopper ERAs in the league.
- Jake Arrieta wins Stopper of the Year (maybe that’s what propelled him to the NL Cy Young) with a perfect 4-0 record in stopper appearances and a 0.29 ERA. He also pitched 31 innings, nearly averaging eight innings for a team who presumably was desperately wishing to avoid using their bullpen. Chris Archer is the hard-luck loser as he did not allow a run in any of his three stopper appearances but somehow the Tampa Bay Rays lost all three of those games. Jake deGrom has to be mentioned as well with a perfect 4-0 record but “only” a 0.70 ERA.
- There are a lot of excellent candidates for worst Stopper of the Year but my vote goes to Jerome Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies. Williams went 0 for 4 with a 9.77 ERA. He only managed to pitch 15 2/3 innings in the four starts, less than a four inning average per start.
- Worst stats for an ace? Might be Madison Bumgarner who only won 1 of 4 tries and had a 4.18 ERA in his appearances. Cole Hamels – last year’s Stopper of the Year – took a hit and went 2-5 with a 4.02 ERA. Six of the seven happened with the Phillies, but his one with the Rangers – 6 innings pitched, 6 earned runs.
- Some other surprise numbers? Justin Verlander with a nice bounceback year – 3-1 with a 1.52 ERA. Jeff Samardzija saw his most success in stopper opportunities – 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA.