Pitching fWAR in the twenty-tens decade

Bobby Down in the comments at www.truebluela.com posted the top fWAR for players in this decade.   With his permission lets take a look at the pitchers.

Below are the top 20 pitchers sorted by fWAR showing any top ten finishes in fWAR for that season.


Clayton Kershaw had the best fWAR in 2016 even though he only pitched 149 innings. Maybe this has been researched already, but I have to think that Clayton leading the pitchers in fWAR without pitching at least 150 innings is probably a first in baseball history for any full season.

Few things that stand out:

Fighting for 2nd place:

Justin Verlander, David Price, and Max Scherzer will all be fighting for second place. Less than two fWAR separate the three pitchers. Verlander had a nice bounceback season in 2016 and might be able to hold off Scherzer and Price. Price will need his own bounceback in 2017 to stay in contention. Scherzer is at his peak, can he hold it for a few more years? If I was to bet I’d bet on Max Scherzer holding the second spot by the end of the decade.

Consistently good never great:

Jordan Zimmerman, Cole Hamels,  and Steven Strasburg have managed to be three of the top twenty even though none of them have a top ten finish this decade. I doubt Zimmerman nor Hamels have one in their future but I do think Strasburg does.

Very impressive work by Hamels to have accumulated almost 29 fWAR in seven seasons without ever being in the top ten.

Quintana just makes the list but has only been pitching since 2012 (five seasons) giving him an average fWAR of almost 4 which is what Hamels has been doing.  With Quintana sill in his prime, he should just keep moving up this list. The same can’t be said for Jordan Zimmerman who will probably fall off next year.

I would add Bumgarner to this list. He has two 10th place finishes but has totaled almost 28 fWAR in that time. Might as well add Johnny Cueto to this group.

Retired – Only Cliff Lee has retired from this group. With three seasons to go, I don’t think Cliff Lee will be in the top 20 when the decade is over. I’d have to see how many pitchers have already put up between 15 – 18 fWAR and are in their prime.

Greybeard – CC has been pitching forever and hasn’t touched a top ten since 2011. He won’t touch one in 2017 either and I wonder if he’ll be in the top twenty when the decade is over.

Headed the wrong way – King Felix isn’t far behind Max Scherzer but while Max was winning the NL CYA, King Felix was putting up a 4.63 FIP and generally looking nothing like the stud who dominated AL pitching along with Verlander from 2009 – 2014.  Zach Grienke may get straightened out in 2017 but is also very possible that he’s headed downhill just one year removed from his brilliant 2016 campaign.  Wainwright looks like the most done of these three.

Surprising Names – I was surprised to see Gio Gonzalez and Anibal Sanchez. Really surprised to see Gio. So surprised I have nothing to say.

Rising stars – Chris Sale and Corey Kluber

1 Comment


    1. Pitching fWAR last ten years | Dodgers, Yesterday and Today

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