C.J. Wilson at 500 Innings as an Angel

Let's pause and reflect on what he has alrady accomplished... - Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Sample Size is Satisfactory - we can now look at C.J. Wilson's accomplishments as an Angel through the lens of history.

C.J. Wilson's start on Sunday was a great performance - He pitched over seven innings of three hit ball, struck out six and only allowed one earned run. Sunday's start pushed C.J. over 500 Innings Pitched in an Angels uniform - the 39th Angels pitcher to do so. 500 IP is the threshold that Baseball-Reference.com uses as its sample size to statistically rank players on a franchise's leader board.

If a pitcher has one appearance and strikes out three batters in one inning pitched, it is futile to list him as the leader in K/IP. After 500 IP, though, it is fair to rank an arm among hurlers who may have pitched more for the club. 444 men have taken the mound for the Angels (including position players Chili Davis, Donnie Hill and Rene Gonzalez) and only 39 of them have a good enough sample size of IP to consider their numbers in the company of long-term arms.

C.J. Wilson is now on the list. So where does he rank in the franchise?

With 501.1 IP as an Angel C.J. has the third best Wining Percentage in club history at .627, just behind the .628 W% of Joe Saunders and within striking distance of the .652 W% of Jered Weaver. Of course, this is a testament to a winning team playing behind him as only four of the top ten pitchers played for the team before it post-1999 transformation to a championship caliber club. This stat is based on how well the offense performs behind a pitcher, so really, being in a good era of the club will help a pitcher. While Wilson has not been on the best clubs in Halo history, the olden days saw some terrible stretches and pitchers were punished.

But here is a ranking that might surprise you: As an Angel, C.J. has a K/9 of 7.89 - this ranks fourth in club history. Troy Percival, Nolan Ryan and Scot Shields rank ahead of him and he just ahead of Kelvim Escobar, Jered Weaver and Chuck Finley. Considering that Percival and Shields were relievers (very few of whom ever accrue 500 IP with a club), C.J. currently ranks second among the franchise's starters in K/9.

His other Top Ten Ranking might surprise you even more. C.J.'s Hits/9 IP is 8.043 as an Angel, the tenth best mark in club history. With Percival and Shields up there C.J. ranks as the eighth best Angels pitcher on allowing hits when measured by H/9.

I know what you are thinking - CJ's nickname among many fans is "The Nibbler". He walks quite a few batters as he nibbles on the fringe of the strike zone. Or so it appears. CJ's 1.313 WHIP does rank 26th among the 39 Angels pitchers with 500 IP - but it is right below Mark Langston's 1.309 and right above Mike Witt's 1.317, great company to be in all things considered.

When his walks alone are considered, CJ's 3.77 BB per 9 IP ranks 33rd all time - not that great. But it is right below Chuck Finley's 3.761 BB/9 so those walks are not the ultimate deal breaker when viewed through the perspective of history. And to underscore how we may not need to be alarmed, he strikes out 2.09 batters for every one he walks - the eleventh best mark in club history.

Some other rankings:

  • 3.55 ERA is 14th best by an Angel.
  • 37 Wins are tied for 25th most.
  • 13th fewest HR/9 IP surrendered (.736)
  • Dan Haren had 409 Ks in 509 IP as an Angel. CJ already has 440 in 501 IP.
  • Haren allowed 485 Hits here while CJ has given up only 448 of them.
  • Bert Blyleven tossed 508 IP as an Angel and allowed 221 runs. CJ has only let in 198.
  • His Adjusted ERA+ of 107 is tied with Mike Witt. Good company to keep.

In short, he is almost half way through his five year contract and has performed excellent in it. At present he is a Top 100 All Time Angel and one of the 40 best starting pitchers to ever wear the uniform. If he keeps it up he will be in rarer and rarer company.

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