This is an updated version of an older tweet, though Daren Willman popped it back out there tonight, and I couldn’t help but notice the familiar names:
When batters swung at a Luke Gregerson pitch last year they missed 43.1% of the time. 2nd highest % since 2008 pic.twitter.com/GgmYBkNKy4
— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 4, 2017
Of course, the first one I noticed is the current Cubs reliever. Carl Edwards Jr. is on the list for his nastiness in 2016, which suggests very good things for his near-term future. But you already knew that.
It’s also interesting to see old friend Carlos Marmol on there (you didn’t forget how absurdly good he was at his peak, did you?), and to see the Aroldis Chapman shows up three times, but not for 2016. (That Michael Wuertz season came the year after he was traded by the Cubs to the A’s, when he posted a 2.63 ERA over 78.2 innings with stellar peripherals thanks to going slider crazy … and then broke.)
Oh, while looking back on these relievers, I came upon a fun fact: that 2010 Marmol season was the Cubs’ best by a reliever since 2008 by WAR (2.7), and was tied with Chapman’s 2016 season as the 14th best reliever season in baseball since 2008.
Can you guess the Cubs’ second best reliever season since 2008 (18th best overall)? I bet you cannot. I definitely would have been wrong, because I would have guessed another Marmol season, or perhaps a Hector Rondon season.
The second best Cubs reliever season since 2008? It was actually Sean Marshall in 2011, who had ridiculous numbers over 75.2 innings: 2.26 ERA, 1.86 FIP, 2.50 xFIP.
I knew he was an excellent reliever with the Cubs, but I didn’t recall off-hand that Marshall had thrown enough innings that year to post such a huge WAR (2.6). Marshall also had the Cubs’ fourth best reliever season during that stretch, a 1.9 WAR mark in 2010. (Kerry Wood was third, with a 2.1 WAR in 2008. Oh, and Chapman’s partial 2016 season with the Cubs was so good it would be tied for seventh, despite lasting just 26.2 innings.)
Marshall, of course, was traded after that season by the new front office, who sent him to the Reds for a package that included Travis Wood (who also shows up on the Cubs list, with the eighth best reliever season (2015) since 2008). The Reds went on to extend Marshall on a three-year, $16.5 million deal before he’d thrown a pitch with them, and although he was very solid in 2012 (1.7 WAR), injuries effectively ended his career after that. He totaled just 1.8 WAR with the Reds, while the Cubs got 5.6 out of Wood. So … Cubs win?
The Cubs also got incredible moments out of Wood over the years, so, yeah, I think that all worked out well.
Thus ends my wormhole.