Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best Pitching Season of the 1920s

Dazzy Vance 1924 (10.3 bWAR)

Coming off back-to-back 18 win seasons, Vance enjoyed the best year of his Hall of Fame career at the age of 33. He won the major league pitching Triple Crown by topping both leagues with 28 wins, 262 strikeouts and a 2.16 ERA, which worked out to be an ML-best 174 ERA+. He completed 30 of his 34 starts, amassed over 300 innings pitched and still maintained the sport's best WHIP, hit rate, strikeout rate and K/BB ratio.

On August 23rd, Vance set the then-NL-record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game by fanning 15 Chicago Cubs in his complete game victory. A month later, he again made history at Chicago's expense by fanning three Cubbies on nine pitches, becoming the fifth National League pitcher/seventh major leaguer to toss an "immaculate inning."

Though his Brooklyn Robins were unable to unseat John McGraw's New York Giants in the National League standings, Vance beat out Rogers Hornsby for league MVP honors. I can't say I agree with that one considering Hornsby batted .424--still the modern record--and was worth 12 (!) wins above replacement. Rajah was most likely penalized because his St. Louis Cardinals finished two dozen games below .500, though without him they probably would have been three dozen games under .500. Interestingly, Walter Johnson took home the AL trophy. The only other time both MVP awards went to non position players? 1968, the Year of the Pitcher, when Denny McLain and Bob Gibson won.

Some more notes from Vance's terrific campaign:

  • Opponents batted just .213/.269/.279 off Vance that year
  • His average GameScore was a 69
  • Brooklyn went 29-6 (.829) when Vance pitched, 63-56 (.529) when he didn't 
  • Of Vance's ML-best 30 complete games, just three were shutouts
  • Went beyond nine innings on five occassions. On May 17th in St. Louis, he lasted 13 innings to earn the complete game W
  • Surrendered multiple home runs in a game just once all year
  •  His 262 strikeouts were more than any two pitchers combined and nearly twice as many as runner-up Burleigh Grimes. He also compiled more than two times the bWAR of any NL hurler
  • By himself, Vance accounted for almost eight percent of the Senior Circuit's strikeouts
  • Had eight games in which he whiffed ten or more batters
  • Won 14 games at home and 14 on the road
  • Earned run breakdown
        0 runs--7 starts 
        1 run--7 starts
        2 runs--6 starts
        3 runs--7 starts
        4 runs--3 starts
        5+ runs--4 starts

Best Offensive Season of the 1920s--Babe Ruth (1921)

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