At some point after Jon Gray's 10 strikeout (in five innings!) performance on Friday, we were reminded that Gray does not yet have a major league win. (Aside: the Rockies won Gray's start.) This is easy to forget because—and I don't speak for everyone here—pitcher wins don't matter, mostly. Let's elaborate.
Pitcher wins don't matter because they don't tell us very much, if anything at all, about the player in question. They are entirely too circumstantial. We can compare pitcher wins to another statistic to see this. So let's set it next to runs batted in (RBI). Statistics are nothing more than answers to a question. The question RBI answers is, "how many baserunners scored a run as a result of the outcomes of a given player's plate appearances?" This question yields an easy to track, accumulative, metric that pertains to the player based on his actions. The degree to which this metric tells us about the batter's individual productivity is debatable, but that's a separate question.
The question that pitcher win answer is more convoluted: "Regarding the starting pitcher, did said pitcher throw at least five innings and depart with his team leading, and did the team win the game without falling behind at any point after the pitcher departed? In the event that he departed in a tie game, did his team take the lead in the subsequent half-inning and keep the lead without falling behind before re-taking the lead and ultimately winning? Regarding relief pitchers, did the pitcher enter the game and record at least one out in either a tie game, or a game in which the pitcher's team was losing, but that the pitcher's team took the lead in the following half-inning?" The question(s) rely on game situation and address a pitcher's performance relative to the team; however, pitcher wins are most frequently used as evidence regarding how well a pitcher is doing. It's a bad statistic because the way it is used does not correlate to the question it asks.
For instance, a pitcher can give up five runs in five innings, but leave the game with his team leading 6-5, and get the win. Alternatively, a pitcher can give up one run in eight innings and lose if his team doesn't score. Another: a reliever can enter a game in the top of the ninth with a runner on and two outs with his team up by one run, give up a home run that gives the opponent the lead, record the final out, and earn a win if his team wins it in the bottom of the ninth.
The most useful information the pitcher win communicates is which team won, because a "winner" and a "loser" are designated after each game. But there's already a question that leads us to that answer in a simpler fashion: which team won the game?
Still, there are a few instances when the pitcher win might matter. For instance, the title of the Denver Post article above suggests that the pitcher win matters to Jon Gray. If that is the case, and I'm not entirely convinced that it is, then it should matter to others. The reason is because it might affect his performance. And if that's the case, the Rockies coaching staff should probably try to get him to not think about it too much.
Here's another way it matters. As I began writing this, I had Sunday's game between the Twins and Nationals on. The game was tied 1-1 in the top of the top of the eighth. There was two runners on and one out. Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg was still on the mound. After pushing past 110 pitches on the day, he started to look fatigued, as Nationals' color commentator F.P. Santangelo observed. He also noted that manager Dusty Baker might leave him in so that he has a "chance for a win." In this respect, the pitcher win matters because it might have influenced in-game management. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier promptly hit a three-run home run to give the Twins a three-run lead (the Nationals came back to tie the game and eventually won in 16 innings).
References to the pitcher win aren't going to go away—certainly not before Gray gets his first and we can move on—but they probably should.
Nick Groke and Patrick Saunders debate whether or not Trevor Story will him more than 25 homers this season. Prior to the season, Purple Row's Isaac Marks offered a bold prediction for the season: Story will hit more than 25 home runs. That the question has transformed from a bold prediction to a reasonable debate says a lot about how Story has started the season.
Kevin Henry at Rox Pile has an overview of Carlos Estevez's debut on Saturday night. Most notably, Henry indicates that Weiss saved Estevez's debut for a low-leverage situation. He entered the game when the Rockies were down three runs. That's a fine strategy for a debut, but given how Estevez looked and the absence of Miguel Castro, let's hope he starts seeing high leverage situations.