Long time Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte will officially retire from baseball tomorrow. Pettitte is best known for his post season theatrics, especially when he burst onto the scene in 1996 and shut down the Atlanta Braves. After reading about Pettitte's upcoming retirement I looked over his stats and noticed he had a very good career with solid control and mediocre strike out numbers.
Watching Pettitte, there was nothing really fantastic about him, he didn't throw terribly hard and none of his breaking balls were lights out. He simply had a number of good pitchers and solid command which allowed him to continue to get hitters out. His other big attribute was his ability to go deep into games. He averaged 6.3 innings per start in his big league career and compiled 10 200 inning seasons, and he only failed to make 30+ starts 3 times.
Yet his strike out numbers were pretty pedestrian, over his career he averaged 6.63 K/9IP but posted a solid 2.83 BB/9IP and 2.34 K/BB. He also didn't throw terribly hard, since 2002 his average fastball is 88.9 MPH.
Compare those to Bronson Arroyo's numbers. Arroyo has a career average of 6.01 K/9IP, 2.73 BB/9IP, 2.2 K/BB, and like Pettitte doesn't throw terribly hard, (average fastball since 2002 88.5 MPH), yet throws a slew of pitches and is able to out think the batter.
Many people at RR and other blogs have argued the Arroyo's lack of strikeouts and stuff makes him a mediocre pitcher who is bound to breakdown and fall into Jeff Suppan territory before the end of his extension; arguing that almost all pitchers who have pedestrian stuff fall off a cliff in their early to mid 30s. Most Arroyo comps have been gloomy. Yet Pettitte proves that there are some pitchers who can make an almost Hall of Fame career, with an average fastball and strike out numbers.