I’m really grateful that we’ve cultivated such a knowledgeable readership for this blog. But one of the drawbacks is that in our discussions about the usefulness of new statistics or the problems with calling up prospects too early or making fun of Hall of Fame voters, sometimes we might let the more obvious things slip by us without the proper amount of appreciation.

I write this because a couple minutes ago I was reminded that Pedro Martinez was really, really good.

It all started from a conversation with Drew Fairservice. We were talking about Alex Rodriguez and his last year in Seattle (2000) when he put up an eleven WAR season, but only managed to finish third in MVP voting. I checked the outcome of the voting, preparing myself to heap scorn on the voters. To my surprise, Jason Giambi’s offensive numbers more than held up to Rodriguez’s, as did the rest of the top four which included Carlos Delgado and Frank Thomas. In fact, if you look at the entire top ten vote getters in the American League, only two batters don’t have an OPS above 1.000.

The only pitcher in the top ten was Pedro Martinez.

While these hitters were putting up those kind of numbers in 2000, Martinez had an ERA of 1.74 in 217 innings of work, striking out 284 batters and accumulating an other worldly WHIP of 0.737.

But it’s not just 2000. At the height of offensive outbursts in baseball, Pedro Martinez strung together ten seasons of utterly amazing pitching.

That’s really, really good.

Comments (30)


  2. Gotta love the Pedro segment of the 10th Inning, too. The part where he talks about the psychological element, and staring down batters after striking em out. Something like, “Hey, if you can’t hit the fastball, then I’m sorry, you’re going to see it again, and again.”

  3. Pedro was a beast. A BEAST.

  4. and the best part about pedro – hard to accuse such a skinny dude of HGH haha! Pedro was a beast!!!

  5. I’ve always ‘known’ that Pedro was a really good pitcher, but the stat mentioned above by Drew is absolutely retarded. I’m lazy, so somebody else do the groundwork for me here… Has any other pitcher in the last 20 years posted better numbers than Pedro in 1999?

    • Randy Johnson in 2004 is one of the only seasons to come close. 290 strikeouts, 44 walks. His team was beyond awful that year. His 10 WAR were triple his teams entire contribution combined.

  6. my god, i thought his 1999 numbers looked ridiculous….then I saw the BABIP .323? WOW.

  7. Incredible. And his fastball was in the low nineties / high eighties.

  8. Also, 5 seasons with an ERA+ over 200. Maddux had 2, Walter Johnson had 4, Clemens 3. There have been only 36 such seasons ever recorded. And he did it right in the middle of the game’s most offensively skewed era.

  9. Curt Schilling in 2002: 316 K, 33 BB.

  10. I love this one stat from Pedro’s 2000 season:

    32 BB, only 1 WP, yet 14 HBP.

  11. yeah. the clips of pedro from that doc were all awesome.

  12. Pedro, at his peak, was the best pitcher ever. Fangraphs recently did a post on it looking at his FIP- numbers, and there’s really no debate.

    The man was a god.

  13. After reading and analyzing these numbers in awe, I scrolled back up to the top again and noticed the amazing picture. Hilarious! If only there could be spider monkeys riding border collies herding midgets on a baseball field…

  14. I’ve had many an argument defending Pedro’s awesomeness. There’s no doubt he was incredible. The 97-03 stretch measures up to anyone by any measure except one: durability. Clemens had a similar 6-year stretch about a decade before, and while Pedro has the better ERA in almost every year of the comp, Clemens was also an absolute horse.

  15. pedro’s 1999 was highest single season WAR for a pitcher. Roger Clemens was 2nd for his 1997 season with the Jays.

  16. Pedro has 2 of the topd 4 single season WAR numbers for pitchers. Randy Johnson was pretty dominant as well. He had 5 out of the 10 highest single season WAR’s for pitchers.

  17. Pedro’s 1999 is tied for 17th in single season WAR numbers if you include position players as well. 1871-2010

  18. @JRock…BBRef has Clemens’ ’97 at 10.5 and Pedro’s 2000 at 10.1. It also likes guys like Gooden, Walter Johnson, Carlton, Gibson, and Fergie Jenkins more.

  19. I just looked at Jays single season WAR stats. Roger Clemens had the two best seasons for the Jays. John Olerud’s 1993 was third followed by Halladay’s 2003 and Barfield’s 1986.

    Not the results that I would’ve guessed.

  20. @dougiejays. Ah, thanks. I thought it looked like Fangraphs must’ve been biased in favour of 1990s and 2000s.

  21. Thanks for stating the obvious, Dustin. I can’t wait for your thoughts on Albert Pujols.

  22. hi dustin. i really like your obvious interest in presenting advanced stats as a better way to judge players, but i don’t understand why, when trying to illustrate how good a pitcher WAS, you would include IP, runs allowed, and FIP, but not ERA ( or at least RA). ERA may be a poor predictive tool, and possibly a poor indicator of past performance, but presenting the components of it (IP and RA) but not the commonly recognised average strikes me slightly as trying too hard to be the clever clogs. if you give your readers as much credit as you claim, present all the stats together and let your readers decide which are more important. [p.s. love the work though!]

  23. @btc

    Couldn’t agree more. Not to mention that it helps the argument of the readers – gets us to see how the peripherals stack up against the traditional stats if having a discussion with a less stats-knowledgeable crowd.

  24. Or you know you could just look it up for yourself.

  25. I swear Pedro and Randy johnson had dirt on GOD because those are otherworldly stats.

  26. Yeah, he was pretty good, but I’d rather have Carl Pavano and Tony Armas Jr.


  27. That 1999 year might be the most dominating single-season pitching performance of all time. As Drew said, over 300 Ks with less than 40 walks, he had a 1.39 FIP. 1.39!!!! Mother…FUCK

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