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Will Pettitte be the same pitcher?

3/16/2012

That is a very interesting question by colleague David Schoenfield. Andy Pettitte turns 40 this season so here are some of Schoenfield's findings of pitchers who were 40.

  • Fifteen of the 19 posted an ERA+ of league average or better. This makes sense; only good pitchers are still around at age 40 and old pitchers are going to be on a short leash if they're not any good. So if an old pitcher remains in the rotation it's because he's at least decent. I suspect this would be the case with Pettitte; he's either the same as he's always been or gets shelled over a few starts and hangs 'em up again.

  • Collectively, the 19 pitchers posted a 3.76 ERA at age 40 ... and a 3.85 ERA at 38. They actually pitched more innings at age 40 -- 3788.1 to 3540.2. Of course, none of them missed an entire season at age 39. Again, this would seem to confirm the above statement: If Pettitte remains reasonably healthy, he should be the old Andy Pettitte.

  • Eleven of the 19 had a better ERA+ at age 40 than age 38, although the margins were very close in some cases. The only pitcher with a significant drop from his age-38 ERA to age 40 was Orlando Hernandez, who posted a 3.30 ERA in 15 starts with the Yankees in 2004 but a 4.66 ERA in 29 starts with the Diamondbacks and Mets in 2006.

Here is the link to read the whole post.

QUESTION: Will Pettitte be the same as his All-Star 2010?