Pedro Martinez Best Pitcher of All-Time by the Numbers

There have been only a handful of “god-like” pitchers through the history of the game, such as Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton, Cy Young, Walter Johnson, and Randy Johnson, but there has never been anyone like Pedro Martinez. Pedro El Grande, as they called him, was not only putting up the best numbers above and beyond, but was doing that in the AL East, at batter’s heaven in Fenway Park, during the steroid era. Martinez was facing superstars juiced up in Fenway Park, where offense fits in perfectly. So, one might have thought: was Martinez on roids? Absolutely not.

Pedro tells the story all the time of how when he was going through the system, many coaches thought he was too small (5 foot 11, 170 pounds) to pitch on the major league level. So, once he got brought up, a few coaches ran the idea by Pedro about steroids; in response Martinez went straight to the front office with the situation, determining that Pedro was totally against performance enhancing drugs. Pretty soon after that, Pedro became a superstar.

Of course it took him a couple seasons to become dominate in the show, but once he arrived in Boston, he rose to a whole new level. Before his debut with the Sox in the 1998 season, he pitched as a reliever for the Dodgers, then became a solid middle of the rotation guy for the Expos. However, in his last season with Montreal, Pedro El Grande started floating above the clouds and did not come back down for the next 9 seasons.

From 1997-2000, he won the Cy Young Award 3 out of the 4 years. Both the 1999 and 2000 seasons, are considered by many to be arguably the best two seasons put together by a starter in the history of the game. During those two campaigns he went 41-10 with an ERA of 1.90 in 430.1 innings pitched with 597 strikeouts. Yes he could fool batters very badly with his changeup or curve, but his 95-mile an hour fastball with perfect control, was the dagger in the heart. Sure it was amazing to watch a small guy throw that hard, but what was amazing, was his control. Throughout his career he only threw 62 wild pitches (3/season). While, his WHIP was a 1.054, and his BB/9 was 2.4 (only 760 total walks). From 1997-2003, he had an ERA under 3 ever season, including two of them under 2. During that stretch he averaged to go 17-5 with a 2.20 ERA in 200.8 innings with 252 K’s. His WHIP was below one 6 times during his marvelous career. The other stat that many pass by is his FIP, which was 2.91, lower than his career ERA (only a handful of pitchers in history have that similarity).

Pedro Martinez strukout 230+ batters with an extremely low ERA and WHIP, while hardly ever throwing wild during the second live-ball era in a hitter’s ball park against scouts’ odds of Pedro making it. 70%+ of his starts during his prime were of quality, in relation to the league average, which was below 50%. Pedro, may had many injuries during his career, limiting him to only 219 wins (only 100 losses by the way), but he was not human according to many who faced him during his years with the Sox. If there was one pitcher to be terrified of in history, many might choose a big guy like Randy Johnson or Walter “Big Train”, but once the ball left Pedro’s hand, surely the answer would change.


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