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February 5 2007

Last week, in celebrating the signing of Brett Myers to a long-term deal, I suggested that Myers was arguably the second-best pitcher in the NL East last season behind John Smoltz.  Here's a look at the numbers for six of the guys that have to highlight any discussion about the best pitchers in the NL East in 2006:

 

Player IP W-L ERA H BB SO Ratio
J Smoltz 232.0 16-9 3.49 221 55 211 1.19
T Glavine 198.0 15-7 3.82 202 62 131 1.33
B Myers 198.0 12-7 3.91 194 63 189 1.30
D Willis 223.1 12-12 3.87 234 83 160 1.42
J Johnson 157.0 12-7 3.10 136 68 133 1.30
A Sanchez 114.1 10-3 2.83 90 46 72 1.19

And here are the numbers opponents' batters posted against each of the pitchers:

 

Player AVG OBP SLG OPS
Smoltz 251 298 393 692
Glavine 267 325 421 746
Myers 257 315 431 746
Willis 274 349 396 745
Johnson 236 321 368 689
Sanchez 217 300 335 635

I think there's little argument to be made that anyone but Smoltz was the NL East's best pitcher last season.  Who you think was second best might depend a lot on whether you're a Mets, Phillies or Marlins fan.

It's not hard to make a case for Myers, though.  The numbers for Glavine, Willis and Myers are all very similar.  So similar that the OPS allowed for Glavine and Myers is the same and just one point higher than that allowed by Willis.  Glavine and Willis both got an advantage from pitching in a pitcher's park that Myers didn't have.

The slugging percentages allowed by Willis, Johnson and Sanchez are all impressive.  But again you have to wonder how much of a boost they got from Pro Player stadium.  The Marlins' batters, for example, slugged .442 (fourth-best in the NL) away from Pro Player and just .427 (12th best) at home.

On the other hand, Josh Johnson was actually better away from home than at home.  He was 6-4 with a 3.18 ERA at home and 6-3 with a 2.98 ERA away.  Opponents hit for a higher average against Myers than they did against Johnson, but Myers struck out opponents at a higher rate and walked them at a lower rate.  Myers also threw significantly more innings, which has to be a big part of the foundation of any case for Myers against Sanchez as well.

This article says that Howard asked the Phillies for a break from all the award-getting before the start of spring training.

Fabio Castro continues to dominate in winter ball, allowing just two hits in five shutout innings pitching for the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Series.

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