Of the 346 National League pitchers whose stats are listed on MLB.com, 143 possess ERAs at or above 5.00. That is, 42 percent of NL pitchers would allow, on average, five or more earned runs in a nine inning game.
During Sunday’s radio broadcast, the Pirate announcers were talking about how many pitchers with ERAs of 5.00 were employed by each Major League Baseball team. When asked for a guess, Greg Brown offered up “at least a couple.” After looking at the current active rosters of the Bucs and Astros, he upped that estimate to three.
I went through the MLB.com stats of each National League team to tally up ERAs. While I didn’t focus solely on active rosters—I included anyone who’s made an appearance on the mound in 2007—I think the results are somewhat astonishing.
In decreasing order, the NL squads and the number of 5.00 ERA pitchers they’ve used this season:
17 – Philadelphia
15 – Cincinnati
12 – Florida, Pittsburgh
10 – Los Angeles
9 – Colorado, Houston, St. Louis
8 – Atlanta, Washington
7 – Arizona, New York
6 – Chicago
5 – Milwaukee, San Diego
4 – San Francisco
In case you were wondering, Salomon Torres (5.09), Shane Youman (5.59), Zach Duke (5.79), John Wasdin (5.95), Tony Armas (6.93), Marty McLeary (8.22), Jonah Bayliss (8.36), Dan Kolb (9.00), Masumi Kuwata (9.43), John Van Benschoten (9.76), Josh Sharpless (12.46) and Brian Rogers (13.50) make up the Pirates’ contingent of less-than-stellar pitchers.
Armas is currently ranked 280th in the National League in ERA. Of the 66 pitchers behind him, 27 have made at least one start.
When Randy says: “Nobody is kidding themselves thinking that Tony Armas will be part of this club next year. So, I have to wonder, why is he starting?”, he certainly has a point. Armas is most definitely a useless piece, an innings eater making about $3 million more than he should.
And it’s not just Randy who’s wondering what the Pirates are doing wasting starts on a lost cause. It’s a relatively hot topic: Why aren’t Shane Youman, John Van Benschoten or Bryan Bullington getting the nod? However grim their outlooks may be, at least they have a chance at a future in Pittsburgh.
But, National League teams have started 27 pitchers worse—at least statistically—than Armas is. And of the Pirates’ rotation alternatives, would you consider Youman’s 5.59 or Van Benschoten’s 9.76 to be more substantially more fun to watch than Armas and his 6.93 ERA? It’s not as if he’s blocking world beaters.
Rather than throwing three younger guys to the wolves, let Armas take the lumps and cast him away this off-season.
And, on a related note, appreciate Matt Morris just a little bit more.