On Tuesday night, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse picked up win number 15 of the season in the 4-1 victory over Houston. His 15-3 record translates into the highest winning percentage (.833) in the major leagues in 2012. Lohse brought his ERA down to 2.71, which is tied for second in the league.
Researcher Tom Orf pulled the following table. It outlines the best winning percentage seasons by MLB pitchers since 2000, by those with at least 15 victories. Lohse’s .833 mark currently ranks him in a tie for fifth during those 12 years.
At the far right, I added the pitchers’ placements in the Cy Young Award balloting following those seasons. Two of the previous five winningest hurlers won the honor, one came in second, while the other two finished fourth.
However, it should be noted that two of the top winning percentage marks occurred in the same league in the same season, with only one Cy Young Award winner possible. Cliff Lee won the 2008 AL honor with Daisuke Matsuzaka finishing fourth.
It will be very interesting to see where Lohse, an impending free agent, ends up. ESPN’s Cy Young Award Predictor currently has him a distant sixth, with R.A. Dickey of the Mets and the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez neck-and-neck in the lead.
Lohse will have a couple of more regular season starts to finalize his argument before votes are due. Post-season play is not taken into account in the award balloting by local members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Highest winning percentage seasons, MLB since 2000, minimum 15 wins
|Year||Pitcher||Tm||W-L%||W||L||G||GS||ERA||Cy Young Award rank|
|2008||Daisuke Matsuzaka||BOS||0.857||18||3||29||29||2.90||#4 (behind Lee)|