There's no arguing that over the last few years, a pitching-dominant trend has emerged in Major League Baseball.
Last year's seven no-hitters (the most in a season since 1884) and this year's slew of 20-game winners and two-decade valley of 4.28 runs per game are clear indicators that the Steroid Era is gone, with a neo-Deadball Era ushering in.
But with such a quick transition from a generation of heavy hitting to one of stellar pitching, how do we standardize standout pitching seasons or attempt to compare them? Surely Justin Verlander's 2011 is the apple to 1999 Pedro Martinez's orange, right?
Right. However, there's a nifty statistic called Wins Above Replacement, WAR, that measures how much impact a particular player has on his team against the average player at his position for that season. This sabermetric attempts to fill in some of the discrepancies between how hitters and pitchers impact a game, among others.
I will use WAR and the conventional pitching stats to put some of 2011's dazzling pitching masterpieces in perspective.