"If the Season Ended Today" Historical Ranks

By Jason Wojciechowski on June 16, 2014 at 7:43 PM

Some A's are having good seasons and some are having bad seasons. One fun way to put into context how well or poorly they're playing is to ask "where would this season rank historically if the season ended today?" In case that last sentence isn't clear, I'll repeat myself: this is meant to be fun and to give you a sense of what the endpoints are on performance, not to make claims about how Derek Norris is an all-time great catcher or that he's going to end up with an all-time great season. Okay? Okay!

Derek Norris

Among batters with at least 180 PA in a season and at least 90 percent of their games coming at catcher, Norris ranks 14th in OPS+ at 159. Mike Piazza's 185 in 1997 is the top season. Piazza seasons also rank fourth and sixth.

If we limited the set described above to players 25 and under, Norris jumps up to third, behind Carlton Fisk and a player whose name I cannot bring myself to actually type. This one.

Brandon Moss

Among batters who played all of first base, left field, and right field in a season, and who had at least 250 PA, Moss ranks 58th in OPS+ at 152. His own 2012 season comes in at 33rd. The top five spots on the list are occupied by Babe Ruth.

You knock off two of those Ruth seasons if you limit the set to those who accomplish the feat at 30 or older. Moss jumps to 25th.

Stan Musial's 1952 season shows up on the list, and he added appearances in center field and at pitcher as well.

Eric Sogard

Among second basemen (90 percent or more of their games there) with at least 150 PA, Sogard has the 63rd worst OPS+ of all time. The "leader" is Vic Harris, 1972, at 13. Sogard currently stands at 46. For obvious reasons, many of the seasons above Sogard on the list barely meet the PA threshold. If Sogard had 300 PA, for instance, and we set the cutoff there, he'd rank 17th worst ever.

Ski Melillo shows up on this list three times somehow. He got 5,537 career plate appearances from 1926 to 1937 with an OPS+ of 64. His fielding numbers are quite good, but not good enough to justify finishing 12th in the MVP vote in 1926 with a -0.2 bWAR. That's negative.

Scott Kazmir

Among starters (90 percent of appearances were starts) with at least 80 innings, Scott Kazmir ranks 67th in ERA+, at 182. Tops is Pedro Martinez in 2000, at 291.

Sean Doolittle

Among pitchers in any role with at least 25 innings pitched, Doolittle ranks first in strikeout-to-walk ratio at 44. The next best: Julio Navarro, 1970, 26 1/3 innings, K/BB of 21. Doolittle's is over twice as good as the next contender. Nobody else is over 20. Just 19 others (aside from Doolittle and Navarro) have finished over 10, and two of those are Dennis Eckersley (18 1/3 and 18 1/4, ranking third and fourth).

There are a handful of starters on the list: David Price so far this year (107 2/3 innings, 12.1 K/BB), Johnny Podgajny, 1940 (four starts, 35 innings, 12 K/BB, pitched during the war due to vision problems, but didn't really pitch in non-war years), Bret Saberhagen, 1994 (24 starts, 177 1/3 innings, 11 K/BB, strike-shortened), Ben Sheets, 2006 (17 starts, 106 innings, 10.55 K/BB, missed much of the year with a shoulder injury), and Cliff Lee, 2010 (28 starts, 212 1/3 innings, no qualifiers needed).

Dan Otero

Otero is currently one of 163 pitchers ever with at least 25 innings, at most an ERA of 2.00, and a strikeout total at most 2.25 times the earned run total. (The point here is not allowing any runs while not striking anybody out.) This is more impressive than it sounds because Otero, if he keeps it up, will be the first pitcher to accomplish the feat since 1992, when Terry Leach threw 73 2/3 innings with 22 strikeouts and 16 earned runs and Matt Whiteside threw 28 frames with 13 and 6, respectively.

All stats from Baseball-Reference and, in particular, the Play Index.