Over the last couple of years, MLB fans and experts are starting to realize that a pitcher's win/loss record doesn't tell you the whole story regarding just how good or bad a pitcher is, and whether a pitcher has a good or a bad win/loss record is almost out of his control due to a another stat called "run support."
A pitcher can throw eight innings of one-hit ball, and if that one hit was a leadoff home run in the first inning and his team doesn't have any offense, he can take the loss.
A pitcher can throw five innings and give up 10 runs and walk five batters, but because his team has a potent offense and scores 11 runs before he leaves the game in the sixth inning, he can get the win.
In order to get the "win," all a pitcher has to do is pitch a minimum of five innings (for a starting pitcher) and simply have his team in the lead when he is removed the game. It doesn't matter how many hits, walks or runs the pitcher allows, all that is needed is his team to be in the lead, that's it.
However, a pitcher can throw the game of his life, but if the opposing pitcher is throwing the game of his life as well or he is on a team with little to no offensive power, he can take the "loss."
I decided to look at the "key" pitching stats and decide which pitchers are actually pitching much better than their win/loss records would indicate. What are "key" pitching stats?
The "key" pitching stats are those which are almost 100 percent in the pitcher's control. Yes, some of them still rely on the defense behind him and other factors, but they are the stats which show you just how good a pitcher actually is. These stats are ERA, ERA+, WHIP and K/BB ratio.
These stats show how many baserunners the pitcher allows (WHIP), how many of those baserunners the pitcher allows to score (ERA), how his ERA compares to other pitchers in the league with a slight adjustment for the ballpark they pitch in (ERA+) and how much control the pitcher has (K/BB ratio).
While these "key" stats aren't all the stats that tell you just how good a pitcher is, if the pitcher is good in these stats, chances are the rest of his stats will be good as well.
The following are pitchers who have a win/loss record of at or below .500 but who are actually pitching really well, and if they were on a different team, would probably be in the Cy Young award discussion.
All stats are as of the morning of August 5th and are from Baseball Reference.