When it comes to deciphering the reason for Jamie Moyer’s effectiveness, we are long past the point of no return.
It doesn’t make any sense and it hasn’t for several years, but our beloved hometown lefty has been the definition of “Survivor” since 2006 – all he does is suit up every fifth day and outplay, outwit, outlast.
If you frequent Phillies Nation, you know that I am a saber-minded writer who often looks to explain performance and production using fairly new, detailed, true metrics of value. But in relation to Jamie Moyer, I don’t care about FIP, or XFIP, or Wins Above Replacement, and neither should you.
The simple fact of the matter is that WAR, FIP, and per-nine rates do well to project the future of a pitcher, but in Moyer’s case, and for the purpose of this article, we need look no further than the results – which have been staggering.
As a Phillie, Moyer is 51-35 with a 4.50 ERA…in his age 44-through-47 seasons.
This year, an awful start in Boston has skewed what has been an otherwise brilliant (even if it’s been lucky) season. Subtract the one-inning, nine-run stinker at Fenway Park, and Moyer has a 3.49 ERA.
Even including that start, Moyer’s WHIP is an absurdly low 1.05. That is FIFTH best in the National League, behind only Josh Johnson, Mat Latos, Adam Wainwright, and that Ubaldo Jimenez fella’.
Moyer has allowed fewer baserunners per nine than Roy Halladay.
If I told you that, at the end of June, Jamie Moyer would have allowed TWELVE fewer hits than innings pitched, while walking only 1.6-per-nine, would you have believed me?
Better yet, how about if I told you that he would allow two runs or fewer in 8 of his first 15 starts. Would you believe that? Or that he would have six starts of five or more strikeouts?
As Pat Gallen noted earlier this week, we are witnessing something special with Jamie Moyer. And it doesn’t matter that his FIP or XFIP are in the high 4.00′s, what matters is that a 47-year-old pitcher with no business dominating Junior and Senior Circuit teams alike is doing so time and time again.
Think about it: a stat like FIP would never favor Moyer. FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) encompasses strikeout rate, walk rate, and home-run rate, the three true outcomes a pitcher has control over.
Well, Moyer doesn’t strike many batters out and he gives up a lot of home runs, so his FIP will never be pretty. But can you argue with his mind? Or his recognition of the opposition’s weakness? Or his uncanny ability to exploit said weakness by actually MAKING his pitches? At age 47, with an 81mph fastball?
Moyer’s FIP will prevent wise fantasy baseball owners from picking him up off the waiver wire, but it won’t prevent any knowledgeable baseball fan from recognizing that this man works with what he has better than any pitcher in the game.
Look no further than Sunday’s 11-2 victory over Toronto – a game in which Moyer induced NINE flyouts against a team that gears up to hit a homer on every pitch. Jamie knows his opponent. He knows that, with few exceptions, the entire Blue Jays lineup is loading up and swinging as hard as possible.
So he pulled out his bag of tricks and tallied three infield flies and seven strikeouts.
The point of this article is not to place Jamie Moyer on a pedestal. It is not to bombard you with eye-test evaluations or downplay extremely indicative advanced stats.
It is to make sure that we all appreciate the results this man has been able to compile, whether they have been the result of genius, spot-hitting, or luck.
(Ironically, Moyer is putting Phillies management in the same predicament as in 2008, when he pitched very well, but probably was not deserving of a two-year contract.
When it comes to future negotiations, THEN we can look at the peripherals, but for now, don’t you dare let his ratios or advanced stats keep you from enjoying the performances of a once-in-a-lifetime athlete.)
I’m a saber-minded writer who recognizes that I don’t know everything. I find it foolish to form concrete opinions based solely on numbers, because no front office in baseball goes strictly by the numbers, and no rational person thinks that he or she knows everything.
I learn something new every day. And Jamie Moyer teaches us something new every start.