I was at Justin Verlander’s no hitter on Saturday. As I was watching the game it got me thinking about why hitting has dropped so much. Sure it’s because steroids are out of the game but why haven’t the pitchers suffered the same amount as the hitters? For every Barry Bonds there is a Roger Clemens, for every Mark McGuire there is an Andy Pettite and so on. I decided to look at reasons other than testing to determine why hitting is down and pitching is up. This is the reason why I think hitting has dropped:
The emergence of the premier young starter
Look at all the young starting pitching in the league today: Felix Hernandez (age 25), David Price (25), Trevor Cahill (23), Jamie Garcia (24), etc. Those are just a few who have proven that they can pitch in the Majors. So many top pitching prospects are coming up and having early success: Jeremy Hellickson (4-0 last September 3-2 to start this year), Kyle Drabek (2-2, 4.81 not off to the fastest start but did 1 hit the Minnesota Twins through 7 on April 2). This does not include rookie phenom Steven Strasberg who may miss all of 2011 with Tommy John surgery. These are just a few examples but there are so many other pitchers as well, that are coming up and succeeding in the majors. Teams and GMs are realizing the value of a young starting pitcher who you can control for 6 seasons, rather than trying to sign that big free agent veteran. Look at the top 10 pitchers this year by baseball references WAR (wins above replacement player).
Trevor Cahill (OAK)
Roy Halladay (PHI)
Jered Weaver (LAA)
Josh Johnson (FLA)
Dan Haren (LAA)
Josh Becket (BOS)
Zach Britton (BAL)
James Shields (TBR)
Tim Lincecum (SFG)
Jon Jester (BOS)
Of these pitchers 7 of them are under 30, 7 of them are in there prime years (28-32). No pitcher is older than Halladay at 33 years old.
Compare this with 2001 (WAR will be higher as it is for a full season)
There are 6 pitchers under 30; only 2 pitchers are in their prime and 3 pitchers are over 33.
This proves the point that pitching is getting younger, the best pitchers in the league are no longer veterans like Johnson and Schilling; it’s now more pitchers in their prime, like Weaver and Johnson. More young starters are getting the opportunity to pitch and they are thriving, that is why I think hitting has dropped as much as it has.Comments are appreciated let me know how I’m doing, if I’m doing well let me know, if not what am I doing wrong and how can I improve.