If you think for one second that the number of wins accumulated by a pitcher represents how good they are, you are a delusional fan who has been duped by the hundreds of beat writers around the country. I'm sick of reading over and over again how the Milwaukee Brewers Dave Bush deserves a job with the team because he's won 24 games for the team over the last two years. Who cares?! If anybody actually paid attention, they would find out that four of those wins were in relief, and the remaining twenty wins weren't all that impressive.
But let me ask you a question: Who were top 5 starters of 2007? Right away, you have to toss in Josh Beckett, Jake Peavy and Brandon Webb based on the seasons they had, but then after that, it's a toss-up. From Fausto Carmona to Brad Penny to John Lackey. How many other 18 or 19 game winners do you want me to throw in there? But can we really neglect the 14 or 15 game winners like Johan Santana (15), John Smoltz (14) or even Joe Blanton (14)? Are they not as good of a pitcher as say Tim Wakefield who accumulated 17 wins last year? Is Paul Byrd a better pitcher than Felix Hernandez because he had one more win?
It's just not fair to say that the number of wins accumulated by a pitcher is representative of their success as a pitcher. If anything, pitcher wins are effectively a stat that represents the entire pitching staff as well as a teams ability to tack on runs. The scenarios are endless when it comes to getting wins. Remember, you can give up 7 runs in the 5th inning, be down 8-0 when you leave and still get the win. Okay, a bit far-fetched, but how about poor defense resulting in a few unearned runs, that turn your 5 inning 5 run performance into a win? But there's still more to it. You have to consider all of the ways a guy can lose a win, like a poor bullpen or a couple of errors on the defensive side of things.
So what do you do to determine if your pitcher is any good? ERA and WHIP are usually the best bets, but I wonder what it would take to tack on a few more stats for us fanatics. How many times has a pitcher left the game on the hook for a loss, or for a win, or with a tie? All we see is W, L or ND in the box score. You can then figure out for yourself how he left the game, but at the end of the season, who led the league with the most potential wins and what is a pitcher's corrected record? That would be a lot more representative of how good a pitcher has been. Just ask 2006 Chris Capuano or 2005 Doug Davis how many wins they should have had and the pay they would have accrued if those stats actually showed up.