Monday, April 13, 2009
1989 Topps Major League Debut #41: Mark Gardner
PHOTO: Always nice to have the back of another guy's head in your photo, especially when you're sprouting two mini heads out from your own neck.
STAT: Check out Garnder's neutralized stats. Since Baseball-Reference.com was relaunched, let me tell you how to do that. Go to this page, which is Gardner's pitching detail page.About two-third of the way down, his stats are presented in neutralized form, meaning that park factors and run scoring have been adjusted to skew Gardner's performance had he been on an average team. It also tends to even out luck, which it appears that Gardner had a lot of.
In reality, Gardner finished 99-93 (.516) with a 4.56 ERA and an ERA+ of 88. Right away you see something wrong with that--how can a guy with an ERA so far below league-average finish with a winning record? The answer is that he got lucky. On his neutralized stats, he deserved to have an ERA of 4.81 but also a record of 78-109 (.417). Ouch.
Gardner was a very typical just-below-average starter. As mentioned above, his ERAs were just below league-average virtually every year and when healthy he was basically a good #3 or #4 starter. Had he stayed healthy and not missed significant chunks of 1993, 1994, and 1995, he might be rated higher.