Happ Having A Special Season
Taking the elevator from the press box to the visitor’s clubhouse last night at Citi Field, I was thinking about J.A. Happ‘s season and started wondering how good his rookie year is compared to other rookie years in Phillies history.
It turns out it is very good.
He is 10-2 with a 2.59 ERA following a 4-1 victory over the Mets. The last Phillies rookie to win 11 games? Bob Walk in 1980. The last Phillies rookie to win 12 or more games? Tom Underwood in 1975, when he won 14.
The last Phillies rookie to finish with a lower ERA than Happ’s current 2.59?
Eppa Rixey‘s 2.50 ERA in 1912.
Grover Cleveland Alexander holds the franchise record with 28 wins for a rookie. He accomplished that in 1911, when he went 28-13 with a 2.57 ERA. (Old Pete threw 367 innings his rookie season.)
“J.A. does not pitch like he’s a young pitcher,” said Brad Lidge, who pitched a perfect ninth to earn 24th save. “He pitches like he’s been under pressure his whole life. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. He’s getting guys out, especially with runners in scoring position. He’s just very hard to hit. He’s got deception. He’s got location. And his ball has got life on it. When he keeps doing what he’s been doing, we’ve got tons of confidence. Honestly, he’s pitching like he’s one of the best pitchers in the National League. I know he’s a rookie, but it is what it is. He’s pitching like one of the best guys in the National League.”
Happ’s ERA is the lowest for any rookie pitcher anywhere since Hideo Nomo in 1995, when he had a 2.54 ERA.
In the previous 50 seasons (1959-2008), just 10 rookie pitchers have had lower ERAs than Happ’s current ERA:
- Stan Bahnsen‘s 2.05 ERA in 1968
- Jerry Koosman‘s 2.08 ERA in 1968
- Jon Matlack‘s 2.32 ERA in 1972
- Gary Peters‘ 2.33 ERA in 1963
- Mark Fidrych‘s 2.33 ERA in 1976
- Fernando Valenzuela‘s 2.48 ERA in 1981
- Ken Forsch‘s 2.53 ERA in 1971
- Nomo’s 2.54 ERA in 1995
- Al Downing‘s 2.56 ERA in 1963
- Gary Nolan‘s 2.58 ERA in 1967.