Wins Above Replacement (WAR) has become the ultimate quick and dirty number to judge a player’s season. As a Yankees fan, I wanted to sort WAR to and see the pitching aces of the Yankees dynasty since 1994 (when they finally got things going and were going to the post-season if not for the strike). [Please note WAR totally devalues relief pitchers due to their lower innings pitched.]
1994 (strike-shortened): Jimmy Key (4.3 WAR)
1995 (strike-shortened): Jack McDowell (4 WAR)
1996: Andy Pettitte (5.7 WAR)
1997: Andy Pettitte (7.6 WAR)
1998: David Wells (4.3 WAR)
1999: David Cone (4.6 WAR)
2000: Roger Clemens (4.7 WAR)
2001: Mike Mussina (6.5 WAR)
2002: Mike Mussina (4.1 WAR)
2003: Mike Mussina (6.2 WAR)
2004: Mariano Rivera (4.8 WAR)
2005: Randy Johnson (4.6 WAR)
2006: Chien-Ming Wang (5.4 WAR)
2007: Chien-Ming Wang (3.9 WAR)
2008: Mike Mussina (4.4 WAR)
2009: CC Sabathia (4.3 WAR)
2010: CC Sabathia (5 WAR)
2011 (so far): CC Sabathia (5.3 WAR)
Just for the record, total WAR for all of those seasons (not just the season leaders) goes to….Mariano Rivera (55.1 WAR). Andy Pettitte has 42.4 WAR for the Yankees during that span, and Mike Mussina has 30.3.
Random thoughts: Mike Mussina is underrated as a Yankees ace. The media in recent year has always labeled Andy Pettitte as the ultimate Yankees ace even though he seemed to be the #2 sidekick behind bigger names, but Mussina was the leading WARhorse on four separate seasons for the Yanks. That being said, Andy Pettitte’s 1997 WAR total is mind-boggling, and he did total the most WAR for a Yankees starter due to his long run. I also think it’s lame that Joe Torre, Michael Kay, and other people involved with the Yankees all swear that Mike Mussina was not the leader David Cone was and couldn’t replace his presence, when WAR shows otherwise. CC Sabathia is on an historical pace. Mariano Rivera’s WAR total is PROOF that he was the most valuable pitcher, even as a reliever.
I was a Mets fan in the 1980′s to the Subway Series in 2000. So let’s check out Mets aces by WAR from my years as a fan (1985-2000):
1985: Doc Gooden (11.7 WAR)
1986: Bob Ojeda (8.7 WAR)
1987: Doc Gooden (3.8 WAR)
1988: David Cone (5.8 WAR)
1989: Sid Fernandez (3.2 WAR)
1990: Frank Viola (6.3 WAR)
1991: David Cone (4.2 WAR)
1992: Sid Fernandez (5.5 WAR)
1993: Doc Gooden (3.7 WAR)
1994 (strike-shortened): Bret Saberhagen (5.2 WAR)
1995 (strike-shortened): Jason Isringhausen (2.9 WAR)
1996: John Franco (1.7 WAR)
1997: Rick Reed (4.1 WAR)
1998: Rick Reed (4.1 WAR)
1999: Armando Benitez (3.5 WAR)
2000: Al Leiter (4.7 WAR)
Total WAR for those seasons: Doc Gooden (35.8), Sid Fernandez (25.8), and Dave Cone (19.2).
Random thoughts: 1996? You’ve got to be kidding me…Never underestimate El Sid…Was Rick Reed consistent or what? 1985 and 1986 were sick!
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