The players in this quiz share a particular pitching accomplishment that no others have achieved since 1914. What is it?
- Don Sutton
- Gary Nolan
- Lowell Palmer
- Bert Blyleven
- Lynn McGlothen
- John Candelaria
- Al Leiter
- Bill Pulsipher
- Dontrelle Willis
- Noah Syndergaard
Congratulations to Dr. Doom! He identified that only these pitchers started each of the first 7 games of their careers before their 23rd birthdays while pitching 40 innings with 40 hits allowed and 40 strikeouts. More on the 40/40/40 group after the jump.
Noah Syndergaard is the most recent addition to this group, pitching his 7th big league game this past Monday when the Mets snapped Toronto’s 11-game win streak. Here are the career starts of our group.
|1||Gary Nolan||7||Ind. Games||7||2||1||49.2||40||13||4||11||53||1.03||CIN|
|2||Al Leiter||7||Ind. Games||7||0||0||42.2||40||22||5||21||51||1.43||NYY|
|3||Noah Syndergaard||7||Ind. Games||7||0||0||40.2||43||17||4||8||45||1.25||NYM|
|4||John Candelaria||7||Ind. Games||7||3||1||49.1||42||17||3||12||45||1.09||PIT|
|5||Don Sutton||7||Ind. Games||7||2||1||54.0||46||14||4||8||44||1.00||LAD|
|6||Dontrelle Willis||7||Ind. Games||7||0||0||42.2||44||15||3||16||43||1.41||FLA|
|7||Bert Blyleven||7||Ind. Games||7||1||0||45.1||40||12||4||10||43||1.10||MIN|
|8||Lowell Palmer||7||Ind. Games||7||1||1||45.2||53||28||4||19||42||1.58||PHI|
|9||Bill Pulsipher||7||Ind. Games||7||0||0||49.0||52||23||5||25||42||1.57||NYM|
|10||Lynn McGlothen||7||Ind. Games||7||2||1||54.1||47||16||1||10||42||1.05||BOS|
Since strikeouts have been steadily rising over the past 20 years, it is perhaps surprising that so many of the pitchers on the list are from the 1960s and 1970s. That is because those earlier pitchers tended to have longer starts than their more recent brethren and more IP (especially for pitchers this young), a trend illustrated above in that three of the four pitchers to do this since the 1980s all had fewer than 45 IP and the earlier pitchers all had more. Also, the more recent pitchers who do reach 40 IP over their first 7 starts tend to be the dominating types who are not allowing close to a hit every inning.
Career projection based on a player’s first 7 games is, of course, silly. That said, it’s perhaps encouraging for Noah Syndergaard that only two of his nine predecessors were washouts. Those two (Palmer and Pulsipher), though, like Syndergaard, both allowed more hits than IP, a ratio Syndergaard will likely need to improve for a successful career.