One number that is starting to gain steam in baseball circles is VORP (Value Over Replacement Player), a stat invented by Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus. Without boring you with all the brain-surgery math behind the number, we will just say that it measures the contribution of a player to the number of runs scored/allowed by the team. The idea being that if you replaced Player A with a fictitious Player B what would the difference in runs be over the course of a season. The replacement player is an average fielder and a below-average hitter/pitcher.
let’s take a look at the eight worst VORP values for starting pitchers in the Major Leagues:
||Tony Armas, Jr.||Pit
||Rick Vanden Hurk||Fla
Three of the eight worst starting pitchers in baseball are Devil Rays. Combined the three pitchers have a VORP value of -31.7. In other words, the Rays could have signed three pitchers off the street before the season. Three pitchers that nobody else wanted, and the Rays would be on pace to allow approximately 30 less runs this season. Three bums from the alley would allow 32 less less runs than 60% of the Devil Rays starting rotation.
And on the positive note, James Shields currently has the 11th best VORP in baseball (+16.9).