Graphing the recent decade-leading pitchers

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My friend Ethan Stock — the same one who suggested that I make that list of pitchers who lead a given decade in wins — made a graph for us.  His comment in the email accompanying the graph is Quote of the Day material:

“Saying Jack Morris is a Hall of Fame pitcher because he occupied the top spot for six years is like saying that Nixon was a good President for the same reason.  He was clearly lesser than those who went before and came after.”

Word.  And now, the graph:

No, I don’t think this reveals any secrets of the cosmos. Wins went down just before Morris took over the decades win lead because pitcher use changed. And of course, wins are a fairly meaningless way to gauge a pitcher’s effectiveness in the first place. Like I said in the comments to the last post, this is all for fun.

Twins designate Phil Hughes for assignment

AP Photo/Ron Schwane
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Phil Hughes was officially designated for assignment by the Twins on Tuesday, the culmination of multiple injury-plagued seasons and poor performance.

Things couldn’t have started out much better for Hughes in Minnesota. The former Yankees hurler joined the Twins on a three-year, $24 million contract in December of 2013 and reeled off a 3.52 ERA over 32 starts during his first season with the club. He set the MLB record (which still stands, by the way) for single season strikeout-to-walk ratio and even received some downballot Cy Young Award consideration. The big year resulted in the two sides ripping up their previous agreement with a new five-year, $58 million deal, but it was all downhill after that.

Hughes took a step back with a 4.40 ERA in 2015 and struggled with a 5.95 ERA over 11 starts and one relief appearance in 2016 before undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. He wasn’t any better upon his return last year, putting up a 5.87 ERA in nine starts and five relief appearances. Hughes missed time with a biceps issue and required a thoracic outlet revision surgery in August. He began this year on the disabled list with an oblique injury, only to put up a 6.75 ERA over two starts and five relief appearances before the Twins decided to turn the page this week.

Hughes is still owed the remainder of his $13.2 million salary for this year and another $13.2 million next year. The deal didn’t work out as anyone would have hoped, but unfortunately this is another case of health just not cooperating.