Pitcher vs. Hitter – Who Is More Valuable?
By Jacob Vance aka Goldencards
For years and years many people have debated on which asset is more valuable to a Major League team. Some people argue pitchers, while many others vote hitters. So the million dollar question is, who really is more valuable to a Major League team? As you’ve heard a million times in the past decade, baseball is a pitcher’s game. This statement is very true in the fact that today’s pitching is the best it has ever been in Major League history. The number of strike-outs is through the roof, and earned run averages have dropped tremendously. How has pitching become so hard to successfully master? Is it science? Is it refined work-out programs? Is it height, new grips, or even mentality?
One could definitely argue that because of this recent stretch of outstanding pitching, that pitchers are far more valuable to a team then a hitter. After all, a starting pitcher controls the game’s outcome right? Perhaps not. We’ve all seen the blown saves, the blown relief appearances, the overall bonehead mistakes that some relief pitchers commit. Another argument on the side of hitters is that starting pitchers only contribute to a team one in every five games. Five plus innings every five games, some might say is not as valuable as an every day hitter, who not only hits but fields as well.
For instance let’s take Justin Verlander versus Miguel Cabrera. Both are potential hall of famers in my opinion. Currently, Miguel Cabrera has seventy-five games played, while Verlander has just sixteen. More in depth, Cabrera has seventy-seven runs batted in. That is just about 1 run contributed per game. If you think about all the one-run wins of the Tigers, Cabrera could be credited for winning those games. The Tigers have currently had twenty-two one-run games go in their favor. In other words, Miguel Cabrera could be credited with 22 wins. Justin Verlander currently has eight wins. Could an argument be made that Miguel Cabrera has won the Tigers fourteen more games than Verlander? In my opinion I would say yes, that is a fair argument.
Some people might just say that it is impossible for someone to compare a hitter to a pitcher. In my opinion, it is fair to say that some hitters have mastered the pitchers game and are in fact more valuable then pitchers. Another way to look at the debate is that in the past forty years, not one pitcher has won the Most Valuable Player award in the National League. On the other hand, the American League has had four pitching Most Valuable Players in the same time span. Some might argue that if everyone like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, and so many more had not taken steroids, the Most Valuable Player award might have some different names on them. The way I view the situation, is that a Cy Young winning pitcher will win somewhere around twenty games, where someone like Miguel Cabrera will most likely win his team about forty to even fifty games per season. I think today’s hitters are slowly but surely figuring out the “pitcher’s game” and in time, will make baseball into a hitter’s game once again.
Another contributing fact that hitters are more valuable than pitchers is that, I rarely hear of a hitter having “season ending Tommy John surgery” or season ending shoulder reconstruction surgery” which never fails to sideline a pitcher for at least nine months. To wrap it up, pitchers are far more injury prone than batters just because they have a lot more wear and tear on their shoulders and elbows. Also, when is the last time you heard a of a pitcher hitting a walk-off home-run? Or a game winning base hit in extra innings? I sure as hell have not. In other words, in my opinion, pitchers keep you in the game, while batters win you the game. Just answer this one question, if these two players were still alive, who would you rather have? Babe Ruth or Cy Young? Keep asking yourself that question, and you’ll be surprised by your answer. You will also have the answer the question, “Who is more valuable to a team? A pitcher or a hitter?”
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