Jed HoyerApropos of yesterday’s diatribe on the inanity of the pitcher W/L stat, and apropos of recent Jeff Samardzija trade rumors tied to his awesomeness irrespective of that stupid stat, Chicago Cubs GM Jed Hoyer offered some thoughts on the stat yesterday when asked about it in the context of Samardzija being winless.

In short, he laid waste to the idea that anyone inside baseball gives a rat-hoot-crap about pitcher “wins” and “losses” as an evaluative tool, and he even dropped my favorite name in the discussion, Felix Hernandez.

“Hopefully, [Samardzija] realizes you don’t need wins in this day and age to be considered a top-of-the-rotation pitcher,” Hoyer told the media, including Cubs.com. “The wins stat is a dangerous thing …. We’ve gotten past that when it comes to how we compensate pitchers. We’ve gotten past that in Cy Young voting with a guy like Felix Hernandez winning the Cy Young. Certainly, I don’t think there’s anyone in baseball who looks at Jeff Samardzija and thinks he’s not having a great year despite not having any wins.”

Jed Hoyer is a smart man.

So, if no one in baseball cares when it comes to player evaluation or compensation, and if it’s a horribly useless and misleading stat to begin with, let’s all continue to do our part to let it fade into the history of the game.

One final thought before I let this subject go for a (little) while:

When a starting pitcher throws a great game and gets no run support (entirely out of his control) and, thus, doesn’t get a win or gets a loss, people say it’s too bad that the offense didn’t support him. Yet, when an offensive player blows up and has a great game, and the starting pitcher totally gives that lead away, people don’t say it’s too bad that the pitcher didn’t support that offensive player. They just grouse about the bad pitching performance, and note that the offensive player had a great game.

Why can’t that just be what people do when a starter throws seven strong, regardless of what the offense does? It’s certainly what I do. I know it’s a team game, but the pitcher’s performance and the offense’s performance really have nothing to do with each other. Let’s stop talking about them like they do.

  • http://www.w2wn.net Cerambam

    I’ve been explaining this to my friends for far too long. I’m glad you wrote two pieces on the issue, I’ve been using them as ammo.

    • bwin

      It’s more dangerous to have a pitcher who can’t win because the team can’t get him any runs.

      • Chad

        What? I don’t even know what that means.

        • Drew7

          Umm…duh – we need pitchers that can magically turn a shitty offense into a good one.

  • Jon

    Felix Hernandez is the exception to the rule unfortunately. Wins still play a huge role in the cy young vote.

    • Chad

      Agreed, but generally those elite guys are going to get the wins (Verlander, Scherzer, Darvish, Clemens) because their other stats are just that good. This discussion has more to do with that second tier, top pitchers but not elite level guys that need some help every once in a while to add up the wins. I don’t think any of us believe that Samardzija is in the CY Young discussions.
      You could look at Kershaw last year as an example of this as well. An amazing year that end with only 16 wins (1.83 ERA over 236 innings) or 2012 when he was 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA in 227 innings.
      It is still the reliever stuff that just makes the pitcher W/L a joke to me.

      • Jon

        I don’t think Dickey had any business winning it in 2012. There were a handful of pitchers that had better numbers. But Dickey had 20 wins.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

          I suspect the novelty factor of being able to vote for a knuckleballer for Cy Young played into that a little as well.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            As well as just the overall story in general

      • ClevelandCubsFan

        “I don’t think any of us believe that Samardzija is in the CY Young discussions.” There’s a lot of noise in the stats for everyone involved, but if the season ended today, anyone with an ERA lower than 2 would be in that discussion.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    And let’s hope RR never, ever, ever lets a starting pitcher hit in the bottom of the eighth of a tie game in apparent hopes of getting that pitcher a win. I’d rather he pinch hit a better hitter in hopes of increasing the chances of getting the team a win.

    • Smitty

      I think you forgot the “again” after those ever’s.

      Couldn’t agree more.

      • David

        Ditto. RR should’ve gotten fined, yelled at, suspended and punched. Just dumb.

    • JB88

      The more I see Renteria manage, the more I expect to see a new manager in 2016 or so, once the team is ready to compete. It is pretty clear that Renteria’s managerial style is pretty old school (and doesn’t really comport with the FO’s emphasis on statistical analysis), but he’s here to be warm and cuddly and shepherd in the young’uns to the point that they are confident and productive ML’ers.

    • half_full_beer_mug

      Seeing as how a few of our pitchers are better than some of our position players with a bat there might not be a better option.

  • itzscott

    Maybe more than anything Hoyer was sending a message to while also taking his manager to task for keeping Samardzija in there to get a win. Timing seems about right.

  • Darth Ivy

    Silly question, but it’s escaping my mind-

    How are the Cy Youngsters determined? Im embarrassed that I can’t think of it right now

    • Darth Ivy

      Uh, *Cy Youngs*

      Stupid phone

      • college_of_coaches

        Darth, let’s not discuss what you did to all of those Cy Younglings.

        To answer your question, they are voted by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

      • WGNstatic

        LOL Cy Youngsters… I like it.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      The same lovely folks who vote for the Hall of Fame, the BBWAA

    • Paddy26

      Genius Little League team name– the Cy Youngsters.

  • ABK

    It’s so ridiculous that wins are a stat important to anyone. I was watching the ESPN broadcast of Sunday’s game and Lance Lynn was pitching. They were talking about how Lance Lynn is a decidedly mediocre pitcher, but his wins since 2012 are only second to Adam Wainwright. The broadcasters seemed baffled until a stat flashed across the screen, noting that Lance Lynn received the 3rd most run support in all of MLB during that time. Like, come on people!

  • cjdubbya

    I remember when I took in a game in DC back in 2010, one of the relievers had 10 wins in early June. Ended up on the All-Star team, I think.

    *checks BBREF*

    Tyler Clippard. 91 IP over 78 games, 11-8 record.

    Guess he made it to the ASG in 2011, but still, a middle reliever with 10 wins a month before the All-Star break. Here’s Exhibit A on why pitcher wins are silly. Nats won 69 games that year.

    • Brocktoon

      Clippard had 8 wins at the all star break that season and didn’t make the all star game

  • V23

    Bad managing is dangerous to pitchers arms.

    Dusty Renteria will show us.

    • Jon

      Outside of this outlier instance with Shark, is there any other evidence of Renteria abusing arms?

      • willis

        He’s actually had a somewhat quick hook this year. Shark is his horse and he will ride that arm a little more than the rest, but I can’t remember another game where I thought “damn, why is he letting him continue like this. Pitch count is high.”

      • V23

        Rondon. Russell.

        • Drew7

          Russell? He’s barely pitched at all…

  • 5412


    Wins don’t matter as an evaluation tool; however they darn sure do to HOF voters.


    • Funn Dave

      Perhaps today they do. However, if the W/L stat is phased out (as increasingly seems to be the case), HOF voters will not care about it once current players reach eligibility.

  • Funn Dave

    The win-loss pitching stat is stupid and misleading. Platooning is the most effective strategy for a lineup like that of the Cubs, and there is no evidence that it stunts or will stunt anyone’s development.

    The above statements are facts. Please don’t try to argue with them. Whatever example or counterpoint you may have to offer has been used and disproven many times over.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    What a crock of shit. Last time I looked teams that won the most games went to the playoffs and competed to be world champions. I think Samardzija is an extreme case that contradicts the norm. When you pitch like Shark has and still haven’t gotten a win it’s more than bad luck. It just a crappy offensive team on it’s way to another high draft pick in 2015. I want to hear Shark say that wins don’t mean anything. When you only have three major league starter caiiber guys in your lineup day in and day out you are going to lose a lot of games. It seems this is by design. I’m beggining to wonder if this is going to be the model up untill 2019.

    • CubFan Paul


    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      “When you pitch like Shark has and still haven’t gotten a win it’s more than bad luck. It just a crappy offensive team on it’s way to another high draft pick in 2015″

      Thank you for supporting the idea that pitcher wins/losses are not a good individual evaluation tool.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Team wins are the most important stat. Absolutely no one disputes this.

      Pitching wins are not a useful stat. That is the topic of this article.

      You can have bad pitchers pitch badly and get wins because the team is very good, and you can have great pitchers pitch awesomely and not get wins because the team is terrible. These are examples why pitching wins are a bad stat. They do not tell us anything about the pitcher.

    • Funn Dave

      As I said above, your (disparate and tenuous) points on the subject have been shown to be irrelevant many times before. You’re a smart dude–save the debate for a subject that has room for it.

      • Drew7

        See, this is where the internet sucks – it lets guys just wriggle away from a conversation after their unjustified rants have been rebuffed. Imagine if this were a face-to-face convo:

        Person A: Horseshit! You’re wrong because of [blank]

        Person’s B, C, & D: No, actually he isn’t, because of this, this, and this.

        Person A: *Derp* uhh… I’m gonna go grind my axe over here then!

        • another JP

          It’s better this way Drew- otherwise we’d be pounding the living crap out of each other.

    • JCubs79

      I’m not even sure you realize that you’re providing points that support the idea that wins and losses are a useless statistic.

  • VittersStartingLF

    They should just have stats for quality starts (6 innings +, 3 ER or less), exceptional starts (7 innings +, 2 or less runs) and CG Shutouts.

  • AndPrintIt

    “When a starting pitcher throws a great game and gets no run support (entirely out of his control) ”

    Entirely out of his control? Doesn’t the pitcher still get some at-bats in the NL? If the pitcher wants some run support, perhaps he should consider contributing with a hit himself every now and then. (Anyone remember Zambrano?)

    Tough to argue that W/L is a team statistic, but run support is the responsibility of only 8 hitters instead of the complete lineup.

    • Chad

      Are you serious cotton? My sarcasm meter is not working at the moment, but part of me think s you are serious.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      So what can a pitcher do in the AL, cheer extra loud on the bench??

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Zambrano was still a terrible god-awful hitter.

    • Funn Dave

      Geez. Now you’re really reaching.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Run support is the responsibility of the batters. Pitchers might try to hit, but they’ll never be batters. (It’s the difference between a soldier and a warrior.)

  • http://BN Sacko

    For us there is a definate trend of great SP with little bat support which is out of their hands while at the same time Hammel Wood and Shark have had key hits during thier starts and we still can’t win. Very disturbing and hard to watch and listen to. I think the FO should really start retaining some of these very good SP’s. So we can look more appealing to pick up some bats somewhere! Please!
    I was all for letting Shark stay in, wrong as that may be..but the pinch hitting after that was questionable forsure.

    • http://BN Sacko

      I know we won a couple of those games but I would’ve hoped the bat support would pick up otherwise.

  • willis

    Wins are stupid. All anyone has to do is look at the last three nights, especially the last two nights, to realize this. Three quality starts, not one W for the pitchers who made those starts.

    But, wins are always going to be a part of baseball and will always be the first thing we see/hear when going into a game most places we read/hear the lead up. This site (thank Jesus) is about the only place I can find that doesn’t take wins into account when looking at pitching previews/matchups.

    • SenorGato

      This is the only site you know that doesn’t take wins into account when looking at pitchers? What year is your internet?

  • Spoda17

    By Hoyer coming out public with this is ver significant. He has now publicly disagreed with his manager, and I think this is another example of a disconnect with the manager and the FO…

    Been saying it all year, I just don’t see RR as an effective strategic manger. Great guy, great huger, and really cares. Seems to be a great teacher, but as a manager, I just don’t see it.

    • http://bleachernation.com woody

      We can second guess RR all we want to, but remember that this is his rookie year as a manager and luckily we are in a position where his mistakes in the learning proccess are not going to affect where this team finishes anyway.

      • Jon

        ^ Leo Durocher himself couldn’t get more than 65-66 wins from this awful 25 man roster.

      • Spoda17

        I agree, and I have said that as well. But, he is a very seasoned baseball man, and I see more concern than comfort. You don’t have to have multiple years as a manager to know a sac bunt in the 3rd inning is not wise, or keeping your ace on the mound after 115 pitches to “get him the win” is a smart decision. I’ll even give him some slack on the lineup thing… but all in all, I am more concerned than comfortable.

        • Spoda17

          *isn’t a smart decision…

    • http://BN Sacko

      This team would make any manager look bad right now.

  • LEO L

    “the pitcher’s performance and the offense’s performance really have nothing to do with each other”

    shouldn’t the pitcher approach the batters differently if he has a big lead vs losing by 1. but I suppose in the long run it shouldn’t affect his stats?

    • DocPeterWimsey

      This relates to the idea of “pitching to the score.” Lots of people have looked at it, and it does not seem to exist. Now, there is a weak correlation between over/under performance by one starter and the same by the other starter. However, it seems to be explained by game conditions: e.g., winds blowing in or out of ballparks, cold weather, day games after night games, etc.

  • Pepitones wig

    Can anyone point out any great (or really good) things Ricky has done so far?

    I really hate to be down on a manager, but it seems like this guy needs a lot of work.

    • Jon

      The emergence and/or re-emergence of both Castro and Rizzo. Seriously what more could you want?

    • Edwin

      What great or really good things could he have done so far?

      • Pepitones wig

        Well just thinking stuff like, I really like how he handles the pen..or his lineups make the most sense given the nuclear waste he has..or he doesn’t tolerate anyone not hustling..just stuff like that.

        • Edwin

          Most of that stuff is either small potatoes, or it’s too early to really get a handle on. He’s new to the roster, so at least on some level, he’s probably still developing relationships with the players, and still figuring out who he likes in certain situations. Plus, the Cubs have a decent amount of turnover in the bullpen, so I’m sure he’s still trying to get a good idea about some of these newer arms.

      • Jon

        I really don’t feel like playing the game of running another manager out of town, at least not till we have a quality roster capable of competing. If RR is still doing weird stuff in important games, then lets circle back if he’s the right guy or not.

        • Pepitones wig

          ya, I’m more than happy to give him a chance. I was just wondering what people are hanging their hats on with him aside from Castro/Rizzo

        • SenorGato


          Changing the manger isn’t going to compensate for these shitty rosters. I like Renteria anyway.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, for me, the Castro and Rizzo (and Castillo) stuff, if attributable to Renteria and his staff, dramatically outweigh the handful of in-game beefs I have with him so far. (And he’s done other in-game stuff well – the lineups and the platooning, I approve of, and the way he allows relievers a chance to get hot and stick, regardless of who they are.)

      • Pepitones wig

        I agree on the Castro, Rizzo, but wonder if it wouldn’t have happened with someone else managing. No way to know, so we can give him credit for that.

        The lineup construction I don’t really get..I’m not a fan of platooning, but even if I were, a lineup that features 4 lefties followed by 4 righties kind of had me scratching my head.

        Rodon 3 days in a row I hope is a lesson learned. It’s only 30 games, so hopefully he settles in

      • http://BN Sacko

        I agree most of the beefs have been about players that don’t have a lot of MLB experience and none of them are really blowing anyone away on performances, so yea what can he really do until someone’s performance really exceeds another.

      • http://bleachernation.com woody

        Honestly I think that RR is going to put a lot of guys into situations that may seem questionable to see how they handle it. A good example was when he put Ramirez into that high leverage situation the other day. If Ramirez had failed we would still be hearing about it. I think for management this season is all about seeing which guys are viable going forward. I sincerely hope this is the last year that we fill out a roster with waiver wire pickups. I was reading that there were a lot of empty seats Sunday for the Cardinals game. I really have to question what is going to happen going forward. It seems like dwindling attendance is only going to exacerbate the strained financial situation. At some point the big league club has to take precedence over the farm system. We will have to wait a couple of months to see to what extent they purge the current roster and if the return is even close to being major league ready. I think we presently have rotation that is competative if left intact and extended. The thing that is wrong about this team is that there are five positions with sub-standard players. Need I mention them? Having Soler and Bryant in the corners next year would definately be an upgrade in the outfield. With Baez at third and Alcantara at second with the existing starting rotation it is possible we could contend.

      • terencemann

        I definitely think that the most important quality in a manager is his ability to lead and help players develop into the best player they can be. It’s just unfortunate that some of the better leaders in baseball are so bad at the tactical side of the game. I feel like Ron Washington is a pretty extreme example.

  • Brocktoon

    Is there a gif out there that has the guy beating the dead horse with a fish in a barrell?

    • http://BN Sacko

      Dear Brocktoon,
      That was absolutly brilliant. No shit.

  • Kycubs

    Brett I agree that pitcher wins is useless, but offense and pitching do affect each other. If the pitcher keeps it close it changes offensive strategy as far as how many runs the manager plays for. Same with the pitcher, they seem to be much more aggressive when pitching with a lead. Should it be like this? I don’t know, but it’s what happens.

  • ssckelley

    I am getting tired of this W/L issue being shoved down my through, just like the RBI stat among others. I get the people that evaluate pitchers are not looking at the W/L, as a fan I still enjoy it. I enjoy watching a pitcher pick up his 20th win of the season or reach 300 in a career, I have been fortunate to watch a number of pitchers get to 300 wins in my lifetime. Perhaps this is why I appreciate the stat more than others.

    No one ever had to tell me Nolan Ryan was not one of the greatest pitchers of all time just because he was close to .500 in a career. Don Sutton won more games over a career than Nolan Ryan, but if I could start a franchise with a young version of either pitcher I would take Ryan without thinking twice about it.

    • ssckelley

      through suppose to be throat…damn typing!

    • Brocktoon

      They both won 324 :)

      • ssckelley

        Oops, I did not even look….how embarrassing! :D

        But I am confident to say without looking that Sutton had a much better winning percentage.

        • Brocktoon

          Yep, I’m pretty sure Ryan has the worst winning % of 300 game winners.

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