Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Sheff Can't Smell Own Cookin'

Sheff needs a Koufax
"When I face top pitchers, I'm at my best."

Gary Sheffield is trying to say that his stats so far have been poor because he's facing too many bad pitchers. If he were facing better competition, he'd be hitting the ball better, or so he claims. But is he right?

I've played around a bit on ESPN's batter v. pitcher stats for the Sheff and I think Gary's wrong.

I took the stats for all pitchers availbable on ESPN's BvP database for Gary and ranked each pitcher as either "great" or "not-great." It's a very subjective ranking, but I noted these 32 pitchers as "great" (over the course of Gary's career, sorted by Gary AB's):

Curt Schilling
Greg Maddux
Tom Glavine
John Smoltz
Javier Vazquez
Randy Johnson
Al Leiter
Jason Schmidt
Hideo Nomo
Pedro Martinez
Matt Morris
Trevor Hoffman
Kevin Brown
Roger Clemens
Josh Beckett
Tim Hudson
Bartolo Colon
Jason Isringhausen
Barry Zito
Mark Mulder
Robb Nen
David Wells
Wade Miller
Billy Wagner
Keith Foulke
Eric Gagne
Troy Percival
Kerry Wood
Mike Mussina
Roy Oswalt
Mark Prior
Mariano Rivera

Not Great214465110571243813902400.3040.4110.5330.943

I think it's fairly clear (and not that surprising) that Gary hits better against weaker competition, despite his protestations otherwise.

(There's a more scientific way to choose "great" pitchers, but I've avoided doing that work. If someone else would like to address that, please feel free.)

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