Moyer Greater Than Any Stat

Posted by Corey Seidman, Sun, June 27, 2010 07:48 PM | Comments: 34

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.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Phillies Buzz and iPhillySports, Corey Seidman. Corey Seidman said: Just posted to @PhilliesNation. My take on y, in case of JamieMoyer,lookin past our beloved metrics is necessary: http://tinyurl.com/2ftr5hd [...]

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    Really nice post. There is a human element to this game that transcends the numbers, as you say. Let’s just hope that whatever ineffable mojo that’s working for Jamie keeps working for the second half…

  • Posts: 0 Kate

    I’m wondering if the human element is Moyer’s soft spot for the Phillies organization and the Phillies fans.

    He grew up a Phillies fan and was probably thrilled when he joined the organization.

    He got his first World Series championship ring here, after attending the 1980 parade, and of all the speeches that perfect day in 2008, his got to me the most.

    I’m not saying I think he hasn’t given it everything in him throughout his career, but maybe he’s truly only been living out his complete major league dream while wearing the red pinstripes?

    Also to those who are laughing about him passing Roberts’ HR record, Roberts was in the majors for eighteen years, an extraordinary accomplishment. But Moyer’s been in the majors for almost twice that. I don’t think he deserves to be heckled for giving up 505 HR in all that time.

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    Exactly right on your last point, Kate. … Reminds of the heckling that met the Phillies’ record for losses in overall franchise history. What do you expect from a team that’s been around since the late-1800s?! Almost as long as Jamie has been around :)

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Very good article. I was away for a week and now catching up on the Phils… Moyer is incredible! Can’t believe he has 9 wins already.. .dayum!!

  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    If you take away the one inning against Boston Moyer has an impressive 3.53 era. Man he has been a great surprise.

  • [...] Moyer Greater T&#1211&#1072&#1495 A&#1495&#1091 Stat | Phillies Nation [...]

  • Posts: 0 kmart

    I’ll admit that for the past two years I’ve been calling for Moyer to retire… but if he’s within striking distance of 300 wins, at the end of this season, I hope the Phils re-sign him.

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    Very nice article Corey, it’s probably tough for a “stats” guy to rationalize Jamie’s season thus far, so thanks for giving him his due. As an older fan, it’s really satisfying to see him perform like this, especially coming off a serious injury and surgery. I’m proud to have Jamie on our team, and to see him in the Allstar game would be awesome.



  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Cholly gets to pick the AS pitchers.
    Why not Jamie?
    I like the idea.

  • Posts: 0 Georgie

    I agree Brooks! :-)

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Jamie has been incredible. His control has been outstanding. He has only 17 walks in the 96.1 innings he has pitched. Extrapolating these current numbers (which include a dud or 2..) He COULD wind up with over 18 wins (or more) 40 bb (or less!) and over 200 innings pitched since the ripe young age of 43 (back in 06). Probably about 150 k’s, the most since 1998 (157).
    Jamie has a decision for every game he has been in – another amazing stat.
    What do you do for an encore?

  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    NE one going to the picnic monday?
    Season ticket holders?

  • Posts: 0 Nunzio Scholeri

    Watching him today was just inspiring. Pitching out of the jam that Ryan Howard’s throwing error put him in was great, but what really struck me was how he reacted after giving up his only 2 runs on that home run. You could see the fire in the man’s eyes. He turned right around, picked up the pace of his game, and just started dominating, mowing down batter after batter. Not that he had been pitching badly before the home run (not his best stuff today, but not bad), but man, after that home run, he kicked into a whole other gear.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Jamie Moyer. Professional Badass.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H

    Jamie gets guys out because he is simply smarter than they are. Thats the only way to do it. He’s one step ahead of them in the mental capacity of the chess match between a pitcher and hitter.

  • Posts: 0 Kennedy

    Have to agree here.

    Personally I think he’s gonna keep it going to 300 wins.

    On another note, I finally got out to a game on Saturday, and let me just say, Cole Hamels needs Carlos Ruiz like Cheesesteaks need good rolls. Schneider called some truly awful pitches in that one, especially the changeup to John Buck in the second. All they had to do to get that guy out was throw inside fastballs and make him guess.

  • Posts: 0 NJ

    It’s funny how the major concerns with keeping Moyer in the rotation this year is a) he doesn’t go deep enough into games and b) he gives up too many base runners…

    The anti-Moyer faction won’t change their tune to anything more than crediting the guy for turning up and reaping the benefits of everyone else’s work… But the reality is he’s pitching as well as any non top of the rotation pitcher this year.

    I love seeing articles that give Moyer his due, it’s not favoritism this year it’s the real thing.

  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Jamie Moyer is pitching great. He’s keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate and keeping every hitter off balance. The “anti-Moyer” faction have a “once bitten, twice shy” attitide towards Jamie’s success. They choose to focus on that fact that reality will set in at some point and Jaime will go back to throwing batting practice rather than revel in his success. While, personally, I think there’s too much fuss over Jamie and a lot of sentimentality surrounding his “story”, as a Phils fan I root for him every outing, as I do all Phils pitchers, and I wanna see him do well. The last 3 weeks he has been a true maestro. I would take no greater pleasure than to be proven wrong about Jaime.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 NickFromGermantown

    Two things:

    - The Phils are indeed taken by the character stories. If you listened to Amaro, it was a component of why they gave Howard so much. It was likely partly why Myers was not brought back. I can only imagine what Lee did or said to upper management…

    - Yes, the Phillies have been around for a long time, but they were also horribly mismanaged for decades. On a relative basis, Moyer deserves more credit for that HR record than the Phils do for their 10,000+ losses.

  • Posts: 0 Tracey

    I think maybe part of the human element is that Jamie inspires all of the Phillies players to play their best. The whole team seems to play better when he’s pitching, and I think part of that is the subconscious awareness that “if Jamie Moyer can come out here at 47 years old and give 150%, then how can I do any less?” I’ve seen that dynamic in my own life: I belonged to a synagogue where attendance improved after one of the regulars was diagnosed with a horrible, fatal illness, because everybody thought, “if Steve can show up week after week when he’s dying, then how can I sleep in?”

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    I’ve said this before… I’m a Souderton graduate so Jamie Moyer is near and dear to my heart. His mom and dad still live in the house that he grew up in a couple blocks from where I work and live (until just a couple of years ago, his mom still worked at the local grocery store) and Jamie is a legend in our town. Admittedly, even the people in Souderton NEVER saw this coming… hindsight being 20/20, I guess we should have because this guy plays his best when the odds are stacked against him but this might be the story of the year in baseball. You can’t find a superlative great enough to fittingly describe what he’s doing. Cholly could pick him as an all-star… and I hope he does… but even more remarkable, the other two times in his career that Jamie has had 9 wins before the all-star break, he has won 20 games. If he wins 20 games at the age of 47, he’s going to need to start thinking about how much the movie rights are worth.

    He has been fooling hitters for 24 years… that’s unbelievable. I’ve been arguing against the metrics since he came here; the numbers rarely look pretty but the guy wins games. Sometimes you can’t explain wins. This year, he’s not only winning games but he’s backing it up with great numbers.

  • Posts: 0 Phan in the outfield

    The Original Chuck: I’ve been thinking for a while that Jamie needs to think about a movie and he should think about it whether or not he wins 20 games this yr. God knows they’ve made movies out of stories that were far less interesting than Jamie’s. Eight children, a lot of yrs in the minors sort of banging his head against a wall, then bouncing from one pro team to the next until he got where you have to think he wanted to be all along – with the Phillies – winning a WS ring, and now getting arguably better. He’s a true testament to all the cliche age sayings: age is just a number; it’s meaningless; and you’re as old as you think you are. My favorite Jamie moment was earlier this yr when Chase made an error and he was beating himself up over it b/c it could’ve been the kind of error to mess up Jamie’s hard work. Jamie stopped between pitches, turned to Chase and put up his hand like no big deal, let’s move forward. It changed the entire timber of the inning. He’s the only one I can imagine who can do that. I have such a vivid memory of that incident and I can’t remember what game it was.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    Jamie’s gutsy performance in the 2008 WS is what I’ll remember him for; perseverance and determination are the two descriptive words that come to mind.

    I remember the incredible diving play at first base that was incorrectly ruled safe and him sticking out his tongue after a near HR. A lot of pitchers don’t dive after balls like he did and a lot of pitchers would have gotten rattled after almost giving up a HR… Jamie did what he does; he pitched his way out of it. He didn’t earn a decision in that one but he certainly did everything he could to keep his team in position to win.

  • Posts: 0 Nunzio Scholeri

    Phan in the outfield, while I don’t remember the specific play you’re talking about, you highlight one of the things that makes Jamie so successful: he doesn’t let anything get to him. Cole Hamels can learn a lot from Jamie about how to handle adversity. Bad at bat? Bad inning? Hell, bad year? The Old Man doesn’t let it get him down. If anything, he uses it as fuel. He comes right back with the next batter, the next inning, or the next season, and just gets better.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Original… I agree, that game pretty much sums up Jamie Moyer’s career as a Phillie. I was there and it was amazing watching him work through the game… a solid performance but he didn’t end up getting the W…

    That dive, wow. That play is engraved in my mind.

  • Posts: 0 Johnny Goodtimes

    Keep in mind that Jamie started the season poorly, and you gotta wonder what might have happened if Happ and Blanton hadn’t of been hurt. Since May 7th, other than that one inning in Boston, in 9 starts he he has an ERA of 2.49.

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Moyer is cetainly a feel good story – a true version of the typical sports cliche movie (hard work and perserverance overcome marginal talent), and he’s a nice guy who gives back a ton. My opinion – this is his swan song. He didn’t want to retire after 2009 – who wants to finish that way? He got through the surgeries and rehab because he could see the finish line, and wanted to show the naysayers he had one more year in him, leave on his terms.

    Cheer him on this year, help him get another ring, then let him retire and enjoy his family, work his charities, but don’t even tempt him with another contract.

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I highly doubt that if Moyer can finish this season with 15+ wins, and a 4.00 ERA, that he would retire ….

    the guy clearly LOVES this game.. and with all the charity work that he does.. what better source of income is there than being a professional baseball player

  • Posts: 0 323

    Matt Garza (2-1, 3.32 ERA) vs. Jamie Moyer (0-2, 13.50 ERA)

  • Posts: 312 Corey Seidman

    Avatar of Corey Seidman

    Great stuff, 323!

  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    It’s better to burn out than fade away. He’s got the ring, probably won’t get to the next milestone – 300 wins (will need at least 2 good years, possibly 3 – if he’s not willing to make that commitment up front, I don’t think he’d do it). If the Phils get a ring this year, I think there is no chance he comes back next year. He’ll need some sort of unfinished business.

    I think he goes for the booth or front office next year, preferably with the Phils. Possibly a studio job (Bobby V and Buck Showalter are both likely to become managers – opens a spot on baseball tonight).

  • Posts: 0 Don M

    Jamie Moyer isn’t taking a booth or front office job if he feels he can still compete at the Major League level …

    Pitching is so thin, that even if the Phillies don’t … there will be some team that wants an experience pitcher on their staff

    I think fans need to think about this though .. he’s not as good as he’s been in the last three starts.. and he’s not as bad as he’s been in a few (Boston) .. he’s somewhere in between

    he’s got a big enough sample size to show us that his 4.22 Career ERA, and 1.32 WHIP are reflective of the type of pitcher he is

    He’ll help you win ballgames.. its not his job summary to be a shut-down, Complete Game, Strikeout-pitcher … its his job to go out there, give 6+ innings and keep his team in the ballgame

    Since he’s been in Philadelphia, he’s done a very good job of exactly that..

    People expect too much, which is why they criticize too often .. and right now, probably praise too much… his past few starts have been unreal !!!!!! But don’t throw him into the Cy Young discussions, and start the topics of his contract situation for his 48th year on Earth … lets let the season play out. See if Blanton, Kendrick, Happ can return to form .. see if Drew Carpenter or anyone on the farm can continue to develop, etc.

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