My sister sent me a text message about midnight announcing that 2008 would be "great." In the spirit of optimism, I present some cheery pitching-leader notes from the The Bill James Handbook 2008:
10th in ERA, Cain, 3.65
Seventh in Opponent BA, Cain, .235
Fourth in Pitches Per Start, Cain, 104.7
Seventh in Pitchers Per Start, Zito, 102.8
Sixth in Quality Starts, Cain, 22
Sixth in Opponent SLG, Cain, .366
Sixth in Opponent OPS, .678
Eighth in HR per Nine IP, Cain, 0.63
10th in Holds-Adjusted Save %, Hennessey, 86.5
Third in Relief Opponent BA vs LHB, Sanchez, .160
Fifth in Relief Opponent BA vs RHB, Wilson, .145
Second in Fastest Average Fastball, Cain, 93.2
Second in Total Pitches 95+, Lincecum, 647
Ninth in Highest % Curveballs, Zito, 18.3
Sixth in Opponent OPS vs. Changeups, Zito, .636
Fifth in Hits Per 9 IP, Cain, 7.79
The bottom line: Matt Cain is a stud. He's durable, throws hard and is tough to hit. I'll admit I've gone a bit gaga over Lincecum, but, damn, did Cain ever have a great year!
I didn't include every mention among the league leaders, just the ones I found most interesting. I suspect Lincecum would have made more lists if he'd met the 162-inning minimum for rate stats.
Happy New Year, everybody. Spring training starts next month.