Living in the Postseason – Pitchers with the Highest Percentage of Career IP Coming in the Postseason

The 2011 postseason was quite a ride for Rays pitcher Matt Moore. Not only did Moore pitch 7 dominant innings in game 1 of the ALDS vs. Texas, his 3 relief innings in game 4 gave him 10 postseason IP, more than he had thrown in his regular season career. Moore is the extreme, but there are plenty of active players who have pitched a significant part of their careers in the postseason.  This is particularly true for young pitchers of the Texas Rangers. Here are the pitchers who have the highest percentage of their career innings (regular + postseason) coming in the postseason. All stats were derived from information in the Lahaman Database.

Player   Postseason IP   Regular Season IP   % from PS
Matt Moore 10.00 9.33 51.7%
Lance Lynn 11.00 34.67 24.1%
Sean DePaula 5.00 34.67 12.6%
Bryan Shaw 4.00 28.33 12.4%
Fernando Salas 13.33 105.67 11.2%
Mariano Rivera 141.00 1211.33 10.4%
Neftali Feliz 18.67 162.67 10.3%
Clay Smith 4.00 39.33 9.2%
Josh Kinney 6.33 65.00 8.9%
Tyler Johnson 7.33 77.00 8.7%
Bucky Veil 7.00 75.33 8.5%
Alexi Ogando 19.00 210.67 8.3%
Derek Holland 35.33 393.67 8.2%
Hideki Okajima 21.33 246.33 8.0%
Andy Pettitte 263.00 3055.33 7.9%
John Rocker 20.67 255.33 7.5%
Colby Lewis 50.00 618.67 7.5%
Orlando Hernandez 106.00 1314.67 7.5%
Brad Lidge 45.33 594.00 7.1%

Many of these players are active and will certainly move down the list. Here are the leaders among pitchers who did not pitch in 2011.

 

Player   Postseason IP   Regular Season IP   % from PS
Sean DePaula 5.00 34.67 12.6%
Clay Smith 4.00 39.33 9.2%
Josh Kinney 6.33 65.00 8.9%
Tyler Johnson 7.33 77.00 8.7%
Bucky Veil 7.00 75.33 8.5%
Andy Pettitte 263.00 3055.33 7.9%
John Rocker 20.67 255.33 7.5%
Orlando Hernandez 106.00 1314.67 7.5%
Brandon Backe 36.67 525.33 6.5%
Mark Wohlers 38.33 553.33 6.5%
Jeff Nelson 54.33 784.67 6.5%
Don Gullett 93.00 1390.00 6.3%
Bill George 10.00 149.67 6.3%
Buck Becannon 6.00 91.00 6.2%
Gil Hatfield 5.00 77.67 6.0%
Don Bessent 13.33 211.00 5.9%
Chad Ogea 38.67 632.67 5.8%
John Smoltz 209.00 3473.00 5.7%
Kevin Gryboski 11.00 183.33 5.7%

 


Comments

Living in the Postseason – Pitchers with the Highest Percentage of Career IP Coming in the Postseason — 29 Comments

    • And amazing to see that for all the press he got, John Rocker only pitched 255 ML innings. And that he was perhaps the greatest postseason pitcher ever – 20 games, 20.2 innings, Zero ER.

      • Wow. Greatest postseason Batter, too.
        2 PA
        2 BB
        1 R

        I wished that the Braves had traded him to Montreal after his foreigners interview, and that he got the humor/humility of it all and went on to have a good career…

      • No ER in the postseason, but Rocker did blow a potential NLCS-clinching save in ’99. Entering with a 1-run lead, 2 out in the 8th and men on 2nd & 1st, he first allowed the runners to steal — on separate pitches — then served a 2-run single to Olerud.

        And he would have taken a loss in game 6 of that series, but his mates bailed him out.

        (Also, it was pretty clear that Rocker’s problems ran deeper than bigotry.)

    • Here are the same percentages based on games pitched.

      Jarrod Parker, 50.00%
      Matt Moore, 40.00%
      Lance Lynn, 35.71%
      Alexi Ogando, 19.35%
      Ned Williamson, 14.29%
      Derek Holland, 13.19%
      Philip Hughes, 11.76%
      Marc Rzepczynski, 11.11%
      Bryan Shaw, 10.81%
      Josh Kinney, 10.77%
      Neftali Feliz, 10.47%
      Fernando Salas, 10.38%
      Sean Depaula, 9.38%
      Michael Kirkman, 9.38%
      Billy Smith, 9.09%
      Al Alburquerque, 8.89%
      Mariano Rivera, 8.44%
      Harry Baldwin, 8.33%
      Buck Becannon, 8.33%
      J.A. Happ, 8.33%
      Orlando Hernandez, 7.98%
      Tyler Johnson, 7.94%
      Andy Pettitte, 7.91%
      David Price, 7.84%
      Joba Chamberlain, 7.21%
      Gil Hatfield, 7.14%
      Bucky Veil, 7.14%

  1. Bucky Veil’s seven innings came in relief of Sam Leever in the 2nd game of the first-ever World Series. Leever game up an inside-the-parker to leadoff man Patsy Dougherty (who hit another over-the-fencer later off of Veil).
    Leever was pulled after that first inning, giving up two runs.

    He had had hurt his arm late in the season in a trapshooting competition.
    Apparently Trapshooters were as big a deal as ballplayers back then:

    http://www.traphof.org/People-Stories/baseball-and-trapshooting.html

    Leever’s injury not only gave rookie Veil his seven innings and fifteen minutes, but it resulted in Deacon Phillippe throwing five complete games in the series, winning game one and then game 3 on one days rest.

    One of Leever’s nicknames was also Deacon.

    Patsy Dougherty was later traded for Bob Unglaub.

  2. The Yankee crew up there (Hernandez, Rivera, and Pettitte) were all among my guesses. Not really surprising at all, based simply on how many games those teams played in the postseason.

  3. I thought Jaret Wright might be on the list, because I remembered him getting quite a bit of postseason work. Looks like he just missed it though, as he’s at about 5.4%.

    • My first (bad) thought was Tony Saunders, former Marlin and noted Braves killer(3-1 in his brief career vs. Atlanta, also an NLCS win in ’97). Unforunately for me, that was his only postseason start and he didn’t come close to making this list.

  4. It would be interesting to have a list of players who, like Moore, came close to debuting in the postseason, racking up more innings or appearances in those games than in regular season games at any point in their careers. I’m thinking of Ken Brett in 1967 (2 or his first three appearances were in the World Series, a figure that held until he returned to the majors in ’69) and Francisco Rodriquez in 2002 (5+ innings in the RS, 18+ in the post-season, 8.2 in the WS alone). Brett seemed like such an oddity at the time, I wonder whether there were any earlier examples.

    • According to Lahman, 226 pitchers have pitched in the post-season of their debut season. None have pitched in the post-season prior to pitching in the regular season.

      Other than Brett, only Jarrod Parker (2011, Arizona) has pitched in the post-season after only one regular season game.

      This line of inquiry reminds me of the NHL and the 1971 Stanley Cup championship. Goalie Ken Dryden backstopped Montreal to an improbable victory that year after only a handful of regular season games. Dryden was named MVP of the 1971 playoffs and, the following year, won the 1972 Rookie of the Year award.

  5. My curiosity piqued, I did a variation on your theme, looking for the guys who had the fewest career regular season innings while racking up multiple career World Series starts. Les Straker started two games for the Twins in the 1987 World Series, but started only 40 games, and relieved in seven others, in his regular season MLB career. Of the two World Series games Straker started in 1987, he pitched six scoreless innings in Game 3 (but the Twins lost), then gave up four runs in three IP in Game 6 (but the Twins won). Straker had pitched nearly 1,000 innings in the minors through age 26, finally made it to The Show at 27 in 1987, then hurt his arm and was done in the majors at 28.

    Scoreless appearances in the World Series for the Twins/Senators franchise, min. 6 IP: Walter Johnson (Game 4, 1925), Earl Whitehill (Game 3, 1933), Les Straker (Game 3, 1987), Jack Morris (Game 7, 1991).

    • Nice work.
      Here’s the number of scoreless WS starts of 6+ IP for each of the original franchises:

      20, Yankees (out of 225 games)
      14, Cards (112)
      13, Giants (105)
      10, Dodgers (105)
      9, Cubs (53)
      9, Red Sox (68)
      8, Braves (53)
      5, White Sox (30)
      5, Reds (51)
      4, A’s (75)
      4, Twins/Senators (40)
      4, Orioles (39)
      3, Tigers (61)
      3, Cleveland (30)
      3, Pirates (47)
      1, Phillies (37)

      • The Mets, who have only been around since 1962, hold up pretty well against the originals on your list, with 3 such games (in 24 total World Series games played). None of the three by Seaver or Gooden. Instead they were by Gary Gentry (Game 3 1969), Jerry Koosman (Game 5, 1973), Ron Darling (Game 4, 1986).

      • Here’s the same list, expressed as a percentage of WS starts with 6+IP vs. total WS games:

        17.0%, Cubs
        16.7%, White Sox
        15.1%, Braves
        13.2%, Red Sox
        12.5%, Cards
        12.4%, Giants
        10.3%, Orioles
        10.0%, Twins/Senators
        10.0%, Cleveland
        9.8%, Reds
        9.5%, Dodgers
        8.8%, Yankees
        6.4%, Pirates
        5.3%, A’s
        4.9%, Tigers
        2.7%, Phillies

      • Teams with more than two such starts in the same WS (total games in parentheses).

        4, Giants, 1905 (5)
        3, Orioles, 1966 (4)
        3, Dodgers, 1965 (7)

        Teams with two such starts in the same WS.

        Yankees, 1921, 1956, 1958, 1960
        Cubs, 1908, 1935, 1945
        Red Sox, 1903, 2004
        Giants, 1917, 2010
        Diamondbacks, 2001
        White Sox, 1959
        Reds, 1919
        Indians, 1920
        Braves, 1957
        Cardinals, 1985

        Blue Jays are 2-0 in the WS, and have zero such starts in 12 games.

    • Players with 2+ WS starts and 75 or fewer career regular season starts (excluding active players).

      16, Joe Black, 1952 BRO – 3 starts
      34, Dick Hughes, 1967 STL – 2 starts
      46, Johnny Beazley, 1942 STL – 2 starts
      54, Buck O’Brien, 1912 BOS – 2 starts
      65, Jose Santiago, 1967 BOS – 2 starts
      68, Junior Thompson, 1939 CIN – 1 start, 1940 CIN – 1 start

        • Your 75-start cutoff just misses (by 1 start) the Cardinals’ John Stuper, who started twice vs the Brewers in the ’82 series, with the Cardinals winning both games, including a complete-game four-hitter in Game 6 that tied the series three games apiece.

          Stuper was a rookie who’d made 21 starts in the regular season as a mid-season callup, but he only pitched three more years and was released before the ’86 season.

      • Similar to Price, I was thinking of K-Rod…at the end of the 2002 season, he had 5 regular season games (5.2 innings) and 11 postseason games (18.2 innings).

      • After 2008 season, James McDonald of the Dodgers had 6 regular season IP and 5.1 post-season IP. His career ERA was 0.00 for both regular season and post-season.

      • After 2005 season, Joey Devine of the Braves had 5 regular season and 3 post-season games. His career ERA at that point was (yikes!) 12.60 in the regular season and 10.80 in the post-season.

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