Sullivan: The best pitcher-hitting season of the DH era

From SABR member Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on February 1, 2017:

They give out Silver Slugger awards to pitchers, which is funny. Pitchers are terrible. Last year, pitchers had a wRC+ of -15. The year before, they had a wRC+ of -16. wRC+ is a statistic with a plus in the name. Jake Arrieta won the award this past season, recognition for having hit as well as Howie Kendrick and Scooter Gennett. I guess, in the world today, you don’t want to hurt feelings and leave anyone out. So pitchers are sluggers too. Okay.

To Arrieta’s credit, he was bad only relative to major-league hitters. He was tremendous relative to major-league hitting pitchers. He led the way with a 91 wRC+, and he knocked a couple of home runs. He even ran an OBP a little north of .300. The Cubs didn’t need the help, but when Arrieta was on the mound, they effectively had an AL lineup. Just another thing that went well for Chicago.

There’s just one problem. I get it — Arrieta appears to be a fine pick. I, personally, would’ve looked at wRC+, myself. But by picking Arrieta, the award selectors whiffed. I’m not sufficiently interested in the award to look up who does the voting in the first place, but we just saw the best pitcher-hitting season of the DH era, and Arrieta didn’t have it.

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Originally published: February 1, 2017. Last Updated: February 1, 2017.