H-Town Sports

Houston Sports Blog - Real sports cities have TWO Conference USA teams

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Baseball Prospectus on the Astros' Big Three

I subscribed to Baseball Prospectus for the previous two years, but I did not renew my subscription this year. At a certain point, much of the in-depth sabermetric analysis is just too intricate for my enjoyment, but there are a few regular columns on there that are nearly worth the price of subscription by themselves, one of which is Dayn Perry's Can of Corn. The August 3 Can of Corn discusses the historical greatness of 2005's version of Clemens-Oswalt-Pettitte. Some interesting tidbits from Perry's column:

As you might expect, the Astros are succeeding this season by keeping runs off the board; they rank second in the league in fewest runs allowed. More specifically, Houston's being ferried along to the post-season by an exceptional front of the rotation. Here's the cumulative line of Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte this season:

446.1 IP 7.0 k/9 2.02 BB/9 0.50 HR/9 7.5 H/9 3.47 K/BB 2.46 R/G

The rest of the Houston staff? On the season they've worked 491.2 innings with a 5.73 R/G. As you can see from that latter figure, a tremendous amount of the team's value is concentrated in the troika of Clemens, Oswalt and Pettitte.

That 3/5 of Houston's starting rotation have put up Cy Young-caliber numbers through the first 100 games is not just amazing, it is unprecedented. Perry goes on to use the BP quotient "Runs Prevented", which on a park-neutral/league-neutral basis calculates the extra number of runs that an average pitcher would have allowed in the same number of innings pitched. Clemens, Oswalt and Pettitte are on pace to post a season total RP of 166.9, which would make them the #1 such trio in baseball history -- even more incredible when you consider that the rest of the top 10 consist of trios who pitched between 1901 and 1937. In a second table of post-WWII pitching trios, the gap between C-O-P and the second-best trio is staggering, nearly 20% differential. All 3 starters are in the top 10 in MLB in Runs Prevented on an individual basis (Clemens #1, Oswalt #3 and Pettitte #10).

I guess Drayton and Timmy P. believe that this historical excellence will not just continue, but will be enough to single-handedly win in the postseason. Anything less than a World Series ring for these 3 studs would be insulting to what they are currently accomplishing.


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