Let’s start off by saying this: if Bartolo Colon is pitching a meaningful game for the Mets next September, we will all sign on the dotted line for that. To get to that point, however, it will require a lot of things to go the Mets’ way. Including a performance by Colon that matches what another aging pitcher once gave them in the mid-2000s, Tom Glavine.
Tom Glavine was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week, and Mets fans weren’t exactly the loudest to rejoice. We all remember how he tortured the Mets as an Atlanta Brave, and perhaps more cruelly, how he crumbled in September 2007, his seven earned run performance against Florida on the last day of the season the most hurtful of all.
What is forgotten however, is how Tom Glavine came to the Mets as a 37-year-old pitcher, but was able to pitch five seasons of nearly 200 inning baseball, making him a big part of the success they did enjoy during that period. To put his contributions in perspective, only nine times has a Met pitcher pitched at least 180 innings at the age of 37 or older. Glavine represents five of those occurrences. A veteran pitcher, who can consume innings like that, is a rare commodity. Sandy Alderson is hopeful he found one in Bartolo Colon.
Since quality starts are often frowned upon as an effective measure of an actual quality start, there is a statistic devised by Bill James that goes a little deeper in scoring game starts. James gives added value for pitchers who pitch late into games, rewards strikeouts, and punishes walks. Game Score also accounts for hits and runs. An average Game Score is usually around 49 or 50.
Between 2003-2007, during Glavine’s tenure with the Mets, he pitched to a Game Score above 50 eighty-six times. Tom Glavine is most remembered for his terrible starts to close the 2007 season. What is forgotten is was how more than any other pitcher he provided quality starts, night-in and night-out.
|Player||# Games GSc > 50|
Can Bartolo Colon provide the same consistency to the Mets at the age of 40? Below is the number of times he pitched to a Game Score above 50 over the past three seasons (at ages 38, 39, and 40) compared to the Mets best pitchers during the same seasons 2011-2013.
|Player||# Games GSc > 50|
The point is that without Glavine’s contributions throughout the season, the Mets would have never been in the competitive position they found themselves in during the 2006 and 2007 seasons. The same will be asked upon Bartolo Colon, especially with a young pitching staff in desperate need of leadership and innings. Mets fans should hope that Colon can be as good as Glavine was here.
Note: We welcome Jeffrey to the MMO team. Congratulations on your debut post!