Do You Believe In Magic? – Part Three

After looking at the magic provided offensively in the last two articles it is time to turn to pitching. After all, the Cubs have the second best pitching staff, behind Los Angeles, in the National League. If you look at the whole league the Cubs are ranked fourth behind Toronto, LA and Tampa Bay in that order. There have obviously been some magical pitchers this year.
Before I tell you who this article is about I want to test you first. Below are three different pitching lines.

  • Pitcher 1 – 14-5, 2.92 ERA, 163.1 IP, 149 K’s and 64 BB’s
  • Pitcher 2 – 13-5, 3.29 ERA, 164.0 IP, 111 K’s and 57 BB’s
  • Pitcher 3 – 12-7, 4.25 ERA, 161.0 IP, 148 K’s and 56 BB’s

Now if you are a Cubs fan you likely know who each pitcher is based on the stats but here is the test. Go back to mid-March. If I told you that the stats above who would you assign to each one? If you were asking me I would be guessing Pitcher 1 was Carlos Zambrano, Pitcher 2 was Ted Lilly and Pitcher 3 was Rich Hill. I would have thought Jason Marquis and Ryan Dempster wouldn’t even be in the ballpark with those three guys.

Now for those that don’t know and haven’t looked yet, Pitcher 1 is Ryan Dempster, Pitcher 2 is Carlos Zambrano and Pitcher 3 is Ted Lilly. There is still a Rich in the picture but it isn’t Hill, it is Harden.

So how many people actually thought Ryan Dempster could have that stat line this late in the season? Anyone? I can’t say I would have thought it myself although I did get him in my Fantasy Baseball keeper league. I got him at the end of the draft for the hefty sum of $1. That right there shows how much respect he had before the season started. He has been in my starting lineup since day one and will remain there for the rest of the season.

When I first started thinking about the magic of this season, Ryan Dempster was still a guy I overlooked. I don’t know why but he did. It wasn’t until Sunday when he earned his 14th win against Florida that I realized the magic of Ryan Dempster’s season. A 14-5 record with a 2.92 ERA is magical for a guy that scared most Cubs fans when he came in as a closer to finish a game.

What makes Dempster’s season even more magical is when you compare him to the big name traded to the NL in the offseason. Johan Santana was sent to the Mets and signed an extension for six years and $137.5 million. So far this year Santana has had the same number of starts, 26, as Dempster. His record is 11-7 with a 2.75 ERA. Not as many wins but a better ERA. If you look at quality starts, six innings pitched with three earned runs or less, you see Dempster with 17 and Santana with 16. Dempster even has one more strikeout than Santana. We got a $22 million result from a guy making $7.3 million this year. That is magic.

I am writing this article to honor Ryan Dempster, not only for a good season but as an apology for all the times I called him ‘Dumpster‘. He is definitely no Dumpster this year and his magical year has been a big reason for the Cubs’ success.

Quote of the Day

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley
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