Jarrod Parker rolls on

Monday in Oakland, Jarrod Parker hurled 6.2 innings of 1-run ball in beating the Red Sox for the 2nd time in as many tries.

It’s the 9th time out of 14 career games that he’s gone 6+ IP allowing 1 run or less. No other pitcher from 1918 to the present had as many starts of 6+ IP and 1 run or less through 14 career games.

Three pitchers had 8 such starts: Jered WeaverOrlando Hernandez and Dwight Gooden.

To help keep this in proper context, let’s remember:

(1) For the first several decades of the game-searchable era, pitchers rarely began their careers as pure starters. I searched 1918-1960 and found just 10 pitchers who started each of their first 14 career games, as Parker has done. In the last 20 years — which is roughly the same number of MLB games as 1918-60, considering expansion and the longer schedule — 215 pitchers have started each of their first 14 career games.

(2) Parker has gone 7 IP or less in 8 of the 9 games. In our era, it’s normal to take out a pitcher after 7 innings, even if he’s yielded 1 run or less, even if he’s winning. But 40+ years ago, that was rare; the norm was that a pitcher stays in until he’s getting hit hard, or a pinch-hitter is needed. For example, those 10 pitchers from 1918-60 who started in each of their first 14 career games averaged over 7 complete games in their first 14 starts. The 215 “pure starters” in the recent era averaged less than 0.4 CG in their first 14 starts.  Obviously, there were many games in the CG Era in which a pitcher had allowed 1 run or less through 6 or 7 innings, but stayed in the game and wound up yielding 2+ runs.

But with those caveats, it’s still quite a feat. Through 14 starts (13 this year) and 86 career innings, Parker has a 2.30 ERA, and hasn’t allowed a single unearned run. Only 2 of the 215 pure starters mentioned above had a lower ERA through 14 games: Zach Duke (1.81), and Hideo Nomo (1.90). Only 19 had an ERA below 3. A solid majority (130/215) had ERA over 4, and more than a quarter (58/215) had ERA over 5.

So, congratulations to Jarrod, and to the A’s management for snagging him in the Trevor Cahill deal. Incidentally, Cahill lost tonight, falling to 6-7 with a 3.63 ERA.


Jarrod Parker rolls on — 5 Comments

  1. The As are doing quite nicely with first-year players. Yoenis Cespedes, who got a lot of press in the first couple of weeks of the season but has been flying low since, is still clocking in at 131 OPS+, a mark surpassed in a qualifying first-year season by only 6 other players in the past 50 years.

    • 1) Yeah but his defense is so bad he has a negative WAR.

      2) Assuming I did the search correctly the six are: Pujols, Bagwell, Mitchell Page, Curt Blefary, Alvin Davis and Jimmie Hall. Correct? (Jayson Heyward had exactly 131 so doesn’t meet your criteria of “surpassing”.)

      • Correct, Ed about the search.

        Tough to know what’s so bad about his defense. His range factor is almost half a chance per 9 innings above league average. His fielding % is also above league average, due to committing exactly one error. Perhaps it’s the assists (he has only two), but it doesn’t seem like he’s the disaster his dWAR makes him out to be.

        • Yeah I don’t know either. Maybe something to do with the groundball/flyball tendencies of the A’s pitching staff???

          BTW, I get 147 qualifying age 26 seasons (Cespedes’ age) with an OPS+ above 131 since 1963. So while his season may be uncommon for a rookie, it’s not uncommon for a 26 year old.

          • Yes, but it’s still impressive what he’s been able to do against superior competition… plenty of guys like Fukudome or K. Matsui haven’t been able to make the switch from foreign competition.

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