As we’ve watched the 2011 season collapse around the Giants during these last two weeks, (or more to the point, as the Giants regress to their true performance level) a friend of mine mentioned that he thought that Tim Lincecum would have a better career record if he’d been pitching for the Yankees the last four years. I agreed, but said that I thought Matt Cain has really been the guy who’s lost a lot of career traction. Here’s a quick and dirty look at both pitchers possible career outcomes if they’d been in pinstripes instead of taking the mound for the worst offense in baseball for most of their careers.
The Yankees have averaged 5.44 runs per game over the last five seasons
147 starts 975 innings 348 runs allowed 3.22 runs allowed per 9 innings 67-36 record
Timmy got a decision in 70% of his starts, behind a more powerful offense, I’ll bump him up to 75%. The Pythagorean method of establishing winning percentage suggests that Lincecum’s career record could be something like 80-30 had he pitched behind the best offense in baseball instead of the worst. That’s a big improvement, one that would have Timmy looking at an even more impressive start to his career.
The Yankees averaged 5.48 runs per game since Matt made the bigs.
195 starts 1260 innings 502 runs allowed 3.58 runs allowed per 9 innings 66-71 record
Matt also got a decision in 70% of his starts, I’ll make the same adjustment for him, which shows that his record using this method would be something like 105-42, a massive difference.
This is a just quick and dirty attempt. I didn’t do anything more than use averages. Nevertheless, both of these pitchers would be looking at having among the best records of any active pitchers at this stage of their careers, so maybe a more detailed, game by game approach would make their lines look a bit more realistic. Be that as it may, it is revealing to see just how damaging the Giants anemic offense has been to these pitchers long-term career results. Cain would certainly be
looked at as a young pitcher who might have a shot at 300 wins. With just 66 wins at this stage of his career, his chances of even getting to 200 seem remote.
Although, they did win a World Series title, many pitchers would love to be able to say that.
UPDATE: The Giants have averaged 4.1 runs per game since Matt Cain joined the team.