Mar 9, 2012

Stat Anomaly: 20 Losses, 1957 Robin Roberts

Sometimes great pitchers have a year that they don't want to remember.   Sometimes it means that it was an off year where the pitches don't go where they think they're going.  Sometimes it means that sore arm syndrome has struck you down.  Or sometimes it means that the best years are gone, and there will only be glimpses for the rest of your career.  

It is debatable what had happened to Roberts in 1957.  He was coming off 7 straight seasons of 297 or more innings per season, with the last five years leading the NL in complete games.  His hit rate and home run rate increased to career highs in 1956, and he had a full record of 19-18.   It was his first non-dominant full season of his career.  Let's see what happened in 1957.

On the aggregate, 1957 may have been the worst season of his career to that point.  He finished with a 10-22 record with a 4.07 ERA (93 ERA+) and led the league in earned runs allowed and home runs allowed, even though he pitched an 8 year low of 249 innings (note: he also led the league in these categories the previous two seasons).  His K/BB ratio also dropped below 3.0 for the first time since 1951 (though it was still 2.98 and 2nd in the league, his control must have been incredible).  On the positive side, he finished 2nd in the league in WHIP, 2nd in BB/9, 5th in innings, and 8th in K.  He just may have been more....hittable.... for lack of a better word. 

His first start may have been a contributing factor to the poor season in the modern view of pitching usage....check out this line....12 IP, 12 H, 7 R, 4 BB, 8 K, 190 that's how you conserve your ace through the duration of the season.   He also had another 12 inning start in May.

I count only 4 hard luck losses to his ledger....when he didn't have it, he really allowed a lot of runs (4 or more). In wins and no decisions, he had approximately 2.00 ERA and in losses, he had a 5.61 ERA. 

It looked like the years of 300+ innings had begun to caught up with him at the age of 30, but it wasn't even close to the end for the ace of the first half of the '50s.

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