- Steve Wulf, ESPN The Magazine senior writer
This story appears in the April 18, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.
I HAVE BEEN WANTING to take the mound for some time now. I am willing to make a pitch on behalf of something I hold dear, but that others dismiss, deride and detest. I toe the slab for the losing cause of wins.
My opponents are the sabermetricians, that new breed of baseball execs and readers of The Magazine, who in our NEXT issue (Jan. 10) voted wins for pitchers as the most overrated stat in sports. Even my own sons roll their eyes when I come to the defense of the W, like they do when I sing the praises of Deep Purple. All of them seem smug and flush with success now that Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez (he of the 2.27 ERA, 1.057 WHIP and 13-12 record) is the American League's defending Cy Young Award winner.
Sabermetricians will tell you that when it comes to pitchers, winning isn't everything. Easy for them to say, writes Steve Wulf, editor in chief of ESPN Books.