Five for Friday: The Sub-1.00 ERA Club

Through three tournaments, there are five pitchers in Mid Atlantic who have thrown at least 19 innings and have an ERA under 1.00 – Jarod Bull, Ryan Doeppel, Danny Lanigan, Nick Schaefer, and Connor Young. While they all share the same minuscule earned run average, none of the five pitchers went about it in quite the same way.

[1] – Jarod Bull (Yaks)

[Video: Bull No Hits Stompers in Finals]

Among his four peers, Jarod Bull (Yaks) has the highest walk rate (23.4%) and lowest strike out rate (49.4%). This is all relative of course – striking out nearly half of the batters he faced is still really good! – but typically a high walk rate mixed with a low strikeout rate is a recipe for disaster. So how has Bull managed to allow only 4 runs in 19 innings? Despite relatively few strikeouts he is not allowing many hits (only 9 in 19 innings). His pitches – screwball, sweeping slider, and sidearm drop – aren’t necessarily plus pitches so they get put into play relatively frequently, but he mixes them well enough and two of them (the screwball and drop) have enough sink that they tend to be hit into the ground. Bull induced a fair amount of groundballs on July 15th and thanks to the human highlight reel known as Dan Potter, those grounders were often converted into outs. Bull’s ability to keep the ball on the ground has also resulted in zero homeruns allowed so far this season. Keeping the ball in the park has clearly been a major factor to his success. Bull’s ERA has also been impacted by two sparking no-hit performances covering ten total innings (4/29 vs. Barrel Bruisers and 7/15 vs. Stompers). Despite all of the base runners he has allowed (his 1.47 WHIP is the highest in this group), Bull only had one game this season where he was forced to walk a tightrope. In the 7/15 semi-final versus Way Too Beautiful, the tall right-hander worked around six hits and three walks to limit W2B to a single run.

[2] –Nick Schaefer (Stompers)

[Video: Nick Schaefer versus Barrel Bruisers]

It could be argued that the Stompers’ Nick Schaefer has been underrated during his successful career because he lacks the flashy stuff and big time numbers of more prolific pitchers. Despite modest numbers, all Nick has done time and time again in his career is get guys out and win big games. Such is the case this season. Nick’s 2017 numbers don’t compare all that well to most of the others on this list. His WHIP, walk rate, and strikeout rate are all second worst among this group of pitchers. His batting average against is the worst. Yet he’s also put up the 3rd best ERA in the group. Before allowing a 3-run tournament winning homerun to Doug Wise on July 15th Nick had allowed only one run in 24 innings of work (good for a microscopic 0.167 ERA!). He’s gotten it done the way he always has – by knowing how to pick his spots and through the ability to work himself out of tight jams. The bigger the situation is, the tougher Nick usually is and that’s certainly been the case this season.

[3] Ryan Doeppel (Barrel Bruisers)

[Video: Doeppel Strikes Out 14 Stompers]

One pitcher on this list without any control problems is the Barrel Bruisers’ ace, Ryan Doeppel. The former collegiate centerfielder has walked only 10 of the 92 batters he faced (11% walk rate). In a sport that is often plagued by an abundance of free passes, Doeppel’s command is extraordinary. Doeppel is stingy in general at allowing base runners. His batting average against (.134) and WHIP (0.90) are second lowest among these five pitchers. Doeppel’s downfall – if a pitcher with a .51 ERA actually has a downfall – is the long ball. All three of Doeppel’s earned runs this season came courtesy of the homerun – a solo shot by Schaefer on 4/29 and a two run homerun by Hall of Famer Billy Owens on 7/15. Doeppel’s 2-3 record is incredibly deceiving – if not downright unlucky – as those two homeruns and a total base loss to My Name is ERL in June are all that separate him from holding a spotless record.

[4] Danny Lanigan (Golden Sanders)

[Video: Lanigan Deals During Championship Game]

There is one pitcher, however, who has felt the painful wrath of the long ball even more so than Doeppel. Danny Lanigan (Golden Sanders) has either the best or second best batting average against, WHIP, strikeout rate, and walk rate among the five pitchers discussed in this article. However, he also allowed three homeruns in 21 innings of work during his one Mid Atlantic tournament of 2017 (one each to Jerry Hill, Tim Cooke, and Connor Young). There is no clear explanation for why Lanigan was a little bit homerun prone back in June, although at least two of the three homers came when Lanigan went away from his trademark riser in favor of a drop pitch. Without those homeruns, Lanigan would far and away have the best pitching numbers of anyone in the Mid Atlantic this season but unfortunately for him, they all count just the same.

[5] – Connor Young (My Name is ERL)

[Video: Young Shuts Out the Golden Sanders to Win the Tournament Title]

At first glance, there appears to be nothing quirky or unusual about the way Connor Young has dominated the competition thus far. His 70% strikeout rate is outstanding. The fact that he recorded all but three of his 74 outs via strikeout back on June 10th is just absurd. Connor’s 14% walk rate and 1.14 WHIP are very strong numbers as well. He simply hasn’t allowed many base runners and has managed to take defense out of the equation more often than not on his way to a Mid Atlantic leading 0.49 ERA. Yet, there is one minor oddity buried in Connor’s numbers. Opposing hitters have a .161 batting average against the young righty. Three of the pitchers in this article have better BAA’s than Connor and W2B’s Ben Stant (12 innings pitched) also has a lower BAA. Connor allowed the ball to be put into play only 16 times but an almost unbelievable 14 of those went for hits. That means that Connor is sporting a .875 BABIP on the season! Conventional wisdom says that his BABIP will have to come down and if it does over these final two tournaments, he might be even more dominant than he was back in June (as hard as that might be to believe).