If you are a baseball fan you know the importance of starting pitching, especially if a team is looking to go deep into the playoffs and potentially win a World Series. But what if I told you that what is also important about starting pitching is having a “veteran” starting staff… not having a dependence on rookie starting pitchers during a pennant drive.
Case in point: Look at the stats for starting pitchers this season (through games of August 26). Of the six teams leading their division (Baltimore, Kansas City, L.A. Angels, Washington, Milwaukee and L.A. Dodgers) these teams have had a combined total of only seven games started by rookie pitchers, an average of 1.2 per team. Of the other 24 teams, there have been 299 games started by rookie pitchers, an average of 12.5 per team.
Let’s look at it another way… Of the 15 teams that have records above .500, those teams have started rookie pitchers in 91 games, about 6.3 starts per team. Of the 15 teams that are at .500 or below, those teams had started 211 rookie hurlers, an average of 14.1 per team. Another way to state this stat is that of the 306 games started by rookie pitchers in 2014 (through August 26), 69% of them were started by teams at .500 or below; 31% were started by teams above .500.
Here’s a look at how many games have been started by rookie pitchers by each of the 30 MLB teams through games of August 26.