Major League Record Book: WAR in a Season (Pitchers)

Deep breath, everyone- we’ve reached the end of the record books…. from the Valley League, to the minor leagues, to the major leagues…. we’re at the end. Today we’ll look at Wins Above Replacement (WAR) in a season by major league pitchers, using baseball-reference‘s numbers.

2006-2018
1 Chris Devenski Woodstock ’11 2016 2.8
2 Chris Perez Staunton ’04 2010 2.5
Tyler Thornburg Winchester ’08 2016 2.5
4 Will Harris Staunton ’03 2015 2.2
5 Brandon Beachy Woodstock ’08 2012 2.1
6 David Carpenter Covington ’04 2013 2.0
7 Tyler Thornburg Winchester ’08 2013 1.9
8 Chris Devenski Woodstock ’11 2017 1.8
9 Will Harris Staunton ’03 2016 1.7
10 Brandon Beachy Woodstock ’08 2011 1.6
Chad Kuhl New Market ’12 2017 1.6
12 Chad Kuhl New Market ’12 2016 1.1

In Chris Devenski‘s rookie season for the Houston Astros, he put up 2.8 WAR by going 4-4, 2.16, with 1 save, a 0.914 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, and 8.6 K/9 in 108 1/3 innings pitched. He wasn’t an All-Star, but he finished 4th in the AL Rookie of the Year voting behind winner Michael Fulmer. According to WAR, Chris’s season is the most valuable of every major league season put up by VBL alumni since 2006! (But it doesn’t make the top 20 all-time)

All-Time
1 Mike Caldwell Charlottesville ’68 1978 8.1
2 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1987 7.4
3 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1993 6.2
4 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1985 5.1
5 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1986 4.9
6 Mike Caldwell Charlottesville ’68 1979 4.8
Greg Harris Front Royal 1993 4.8
8 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1997 4.6
9 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1994 4.4
10 Rick Honeycutt Charlottesville ’73 1983 4.3
Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1991 4.3
12 Greg Harris Front Royal 1989 4.1
Tom Browning New Market ’80-81 1990 4.1
Roberto Hernandez Front Royal 1996 4.1
15 Jimmy Key Winchester ’82 1992 3.9
16 Tom Browning New Market ’80-81 1985 3.8
17 Tom Browning New Market ’80-81 1989 3.6
Greg Hibbard Staunton 1990 3.6
Greg Harris Front Royal 1990 3.6
20 Mike Caldwell Charlottesville ’68 1974 3.3
Al Holland Charlottesville 1983 3.3
Rick Honeycutt Charlottesville ’73 1984 3.3

NOW let’s take a look at Mike Caldwell‘s incredible 1978 season for the Milwaukee Brewers. He went 22-9, 2.36, with 1 save, a 1.064 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, and 4.0 K/9 in 293 1/3 innings… with 23 complete games! 23! He also had 6 shutouts. Wow. He finished 2nd in the Cy Young voting behind Ron Guidry (Guidry deserved it), and 12th in the MVP voting behind Jim Rice (Guidry probably deserved the MVP, too). Mike’s 1978 was almost two times better by WAR than his next best season (1979- 4.8).

 

 

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