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Recapping the Best in April

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It is good to see Josh Johnson get elevated in the national media to the place he deserves to be. We are privileged to be able to see him pitch in a Marlins uniform. I don't think it is hyperbole to say that with his work ethic, intelligence, size and ability that he is well on his way to becoming one of the all-time greatest pitchers to ever grace the mound.

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It's hyperbole to say he's "well on his way." There have been a lot of incredible guys. He's got to put up 200+ innings more than once before he comes anywhere near anywhere near that conversation.



Having to pitch 200+ innings consistently really isn't a factor as much in the age of pitch counts.


It can be argued that he is already the best Marlins pitcher in franchise history. Stacked up against other Marlins pitchers with at least 500 innings pitched, he is the all-time career leader in:


- WAR (17.4)

- ERA (3.00)

- Win-Loss % (.686)

- WHIP (1.213)

- HR/IP (0.567)

- ERA+ (142)


In addition, among Marlins pitchers with at least 500 IP he is in the top 5 in career:


- Wins (48), 4th overall and only needs one more to tie A.J. Burnett for third on the list.

- Hits per 9 IP (7.931), 3rd overall

- BB per 9 IP (2.987), 4th overall

- Strikeouts per 9 IP (8.292), 2nd overall

- Strikeouts (644), 4th overall

- K/BB (2.776), 2nd overall


So considering he could arguably be considered the best Marlins pitcher in franchise history at the age of 27, I don't think it is too far fetched to say he is well on his way to becoming one of the game's all-time greats.

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Being arguably the best pitcher on a team with an 18-year history, whose best pitcher might have been Dontrelle WIllis, who can't make a big-league club at 29, has him well on his way?


And 45 pitchers went 200 or more innings last year. He's done it once. It's not necessary to do it many times to be a really good, or even great pitcher. But, to be one of the all-time greats? You need to be sub-3.00 for a lot of years for a lot of innings.


Going down the list of the Top WAR Pitchers of all-time on baseball reference, and how many WAR they had after their age 26 season:

Cy Young: 31

Roger Clemens: 32.3

Walter Johnson: 59.2

Tom Seaver: 36.7


And for some younger guys:

Maddux: 25.5

Pedro Martinez: 28.3

Halladay: 16.9

Rand Johnson: 1.7

Josh Johnson: 17.4


He's only ahead of two guys who were late bloomers, and he's well behind most of the others. And all of those guys were consistently incredible after age 27, sometimes well into their 40s (see Johnson, Randy).

All-time greats implies something like top 5 or 10 ever, and he's not in that conversation, any way you slice it. His ERA+ is outside the top 10 also.

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I don't think it is outlandish to expect him to post a sub 3.00 ERA for the majority of the seasons for the rest of his career. In fact at this point I would be surprised if he didn't do just that (or at least a sub 3.50 ERA). For me, one of the all-time greats means basically on his way to the Hall if he continues doing what he has been doing. That doesn't mean that he will continue to improve (though I don't think he is done yet), but he has already gotten to the point where I expect his name to be in the conversation as being one of the best if not the best pitcher in the league for the rest of this decade.

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