about a week ago, the Baltimore Orioles sent 40-year old relief pitcher Steve Reed to the minors which is the type of thing that happens without notice countless times per season. on the off chance that Reed never again pitches in the major leagues, i would like to take the time to commemorate him. Reed pitched for 7 different teams, putting up 870+ innings of solid middle relief. he doesn't have any gaudy numbers, never pitched in a World Series, racked up only 48 wins and 18 saves and never led the league in anything. in one of his biggest moments in the spotlight, he allowed 8 runs in just 1 and 1/3 innings against the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1999 ALDS (there's a picture of me smiling in front of a TV showing the 23-7 final score of that game somewhere in a shoebox).
so what the hell is this all about? with little expected argument, i would like to proclaim Steve Reed to be the best pitcher in Colorado Rockies history. far from an oxymoron or a backhanded compliment, this is quite an accomplishment. the offense-augmenting effects of Colorado and Coors Field are well documented, and Reed is the only pitcher i'm aware of who consistently beat the odds there and put up numbers that would look pretty good in any park. for his career in the mountains, he had an ERA of 3.63 and a WHIP of 1.27 in 499 IP. his 466 hits allowed in those innings is superb considering and his 67 HR allowed is mitigated by the cirucmstances of his home stadium. and since Coors suppresses strikeouts, his 352 Ks is better than it looks too. he never made an All-Star team and isn't going to the Hall of Fame, but what he did in 7 seasons in Colorado is nothing short of spectacular. if he had 1 more IP, he would dominate the franchise leaderboard.
if you're still looking at those numbers and thinking "eh, he was OK", consider this: his ERA+* for his years in Colorado is 141 (with a career total that was 138 before he completely tanked this season in Baltimore). 100 would be a league average pitcher and the career leader - Pedro Martinez - sits at 167. where would 141 put him on the all time list, if he qualified? tied with Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens at number 12 all-time. his 138 career mark would put him in the 16th spot along with Tim Hudson, Cy Young and Three Finger Brown. he falls short of the 1000 career IP needed to qualify, but that's some pretty rarefied air. fans of recent Mets teams are advised to ignore the fact that John Franco is 14th all-time in ERA+, as well the fact that the Mets traded Jason Bay to the Padres for 26 innings of Reed at the trading deadline in 2002.
Reed combatted the altitude by starting low
i won't claim that Reed should be bound for Cooperstown, but he deserves some recognition for consistent success in a harsh environment. considering he went undrafted in over 80 rounds during the 1988 draft and didn't make the major leagues full-time until he was 28, the submariner had a very productive career for his position.
* ERA+ is a measure of the pitcher's ERA compared to the league ERA, adjusted for scoring environment and park factors. scores of >100 are above average.Posted by jamie at July 22, 2005 09:51 PM