When you are asked to name the top pitchers in the Majors, who would you name? Johan, Jake Peavy, Josh Beckett, C.C. Sabathia etc. It would be hard to find someone who would name Chien-Ming Wang in their top 5 or 7 pitchers. A Yankee fan, maybe, but then some Yankee fans don't trust him because of his post season performances.
If we dig a little deeper, you will find that from Opening day to the last regular season game, over the last two to three years, few, dare I say any, are better then Wang.
Since 2006, no pitcher has won more games then Wang. Think about that, all the guys I named above and Wang has won the most. You may say that's a credit to his offense. To that I would say that the other 4 arms on the Yankees rotation obviously have not fared as well and they have the same offense. In addition, the Yankees Bull Pen has not exactly been reliable in the last few years. Anyway, are you saying the other pitchers mentioned above don't have an offense backing them? Take a look at the Cleveland and Boston batting order. Those are some heavy bats!
In these two seasons that Wang has been the winningest pitcher, he has had back to back 19 win seasons. If you think about that, that's amazing. Guys get a ton of credit for winning 20 games in one year, but how about winning 19 two years in a row? Oh, and how could I forget, he missed the first three weeks of 2007 with an injury, which is roughly 4 starts. I think its safe to say he would get his 20 win season had he been healthy at the start of the season.
Wang's career numbers since coming up in 2005 (as of April 8, 2008) are, 48-18 with a 3.69 ERA. I think that ERA, which is in the AL EAST, shows that its not all run support that attributed to those wins.
So why do we not think of Wang as that top tier guy? Well first off he doesn't do it with power stuff like say Johan does. He doesn't woo people with a 98mph fastball. People love home runs, and people love strike outs. That's what we pay attention to. Well Wang doesn't over power batters, he just gets them out.
Wang also does not have that charismatic personality. Wang kind of goes under the radar because he is not loud and does not pump his fists. He walks off the mound with his head down and just does his job.
The final thing is probably because Yankee fans themselves don't trust him. Well why should they? His post season numbers are 0-4 with an ERA of 7.58. That number includes his 19.06ERA in the 2007 post season against the heavy bats of Cleveland.
But this is his post season stuff, for now. This does not mean he is an unreliable regular season 19 game winning pitcher. Alex Rodriguez is still considered the best player in baseball even if his post season numbers aren't always there! Why can't Wang be the best pitcher in baseball for the same reason?
Hell, even Johans numbers drop in the post season. He is 1-4 with a 3.97ERA vs his 3.20 career regular season ERA. Both are young and have time to improve their post season stuff. In the meantime, their regular season stuff is still great.
When I say this last statement, lets drop our "fantasy baseball" world tiers and think about the real world baseball stats for a minute.
When we judge the best pitchers in baseball, the facts say Wang is a top tier pitcher in the majors.