The combined WAR for Phillie pitchers as calculated by Baseball-Reference was 10.8 in 2012, way down from the NL-leading WARs the team posted in 2011 and 2010.
The Phillies had a long, long way to fall, though. In 2011, Baseball-Reference calculated the combined WAR for all Phillie pitchers at 35.2. That is enormously high. How high? Well, here is the list of all teams whose pitchers have posted a combined Baseball-Reference WAR of 30 or better since 1900:
|Team||Year||WAR for Pitchers|
Not a long list and the ’11 Phillies are at the top.
Looking back to the previous post, the Phillies led the NL in combined WAR for pitchers in 2010 (21.2) and again in 2011 (35.2). 2010 and 2011 are the only two years of the last ten in which the Phillie pitchers have been over 14.8.
The average for the team for the eight of the last ten years that were not 2010 or 2011 is about 8.8. The average for 2010 and 2011 was 28.2.
The point here is that the pitchers for the Phillies aren’t going to post a WAR of 35.2 again any time soon. Or ever. So the Phils are going to need to figure out another way to win (and hopefully one that involves Freddy Galvis never, ever being allowed near third base).
In 2011, Halladay posted a WAR of 8.5 and Cliff Lee put up an 8.3. By comparison, in 2012, there were four pitchers across both leagues with a WAR better than 5.8 — Verlander (7.6), Price (6.4), Harrison (6.2) and Kershaw (6.2).
So having two guys in your rotation at 8.3 or better is a big deal.
Here is the list of pitchers across both leagues who have posted a Baseball-Reference WAR of 8.3 or higher over the last ten years:
So that’s six seasons for pitchers with a WAR of 8.3 or better over the last ten years, three of which are Halladay or Lee (Halladay did it in 2010 and again in 2011). To compare, Cole Hamels is a great pitcher and has posted a WAR for a season once that was over 5.3 (6.2 in 2011). Roy Oswalt has finished in the top six in Cy Young voting six times, but has had a WAR for the season above 5.6 just twice (6.7 in 2002 and 6.4 in 2007).
So, again, the model for success going forward might have to a lot to do with good pitching, but it can’t rely on the pitching being as good as it was in 2011, because that is never going to happen again.
Looking for potential good news, there’s always the possibility that WAR, or at least WAR as calculated by Baseball-Reference, doesn’t matter at all. Sadly, I’m afraid it does, although it does seem worthwhile to point out enormous differences between the combined WAR for pitchers in 2011 as calculated by Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs. While Baseball-Reference’s calculation of WAR suggests the 2011 Phillies had one of the most dominant pitching staffs in the history of baseball, FanGraph’s calculation of WAR suggests they weren’t even the best pitching staff in 2011. FanGraphs has them second across both leagues at 27.1 and the White Sox first at 27.3.
David Herndon is now a Blue Jay after being claimed by Toronto.
Tyson Brummett was also claimed off of waivers by the Blue Jays last week, then designated for assignment so Toronto could make room for Herndon on their 40-man roster.
Michael Martinez has been removed from the 40-man roster and sent to Triple-A.
The 40-man roster is at 36 with three players (Stutes, Contreras and Schneider) on the 60-day DL.