Originally Posted by Plus Plus
The point is that there is a very finite number of pitchers who are appreciably better than Mike Leake- I think you are overlooking that fact.
The 1998 Yankees somehow managed to struggle to 114 wins with a 4.24 ERA Andy Pettite and his 1.45 WHIP. And he was their #1 that year!
Baselines are really important for context...
In 1998, the average AL starter looked like this: ERA= 4.75, FIP= 4.64, K/9=6.16, BB/9=3.27
The Yankees rotation looked like this: ERA=3.85, FIP=4.11, k/9=6.96, BB/9=2.81 making it easily the best in the AL that year.
And while Pettitte "only" posted an ERA= 4.24 and a FIP= 4.28 in 1998, it was still significantly above average for the environment of 1998 and to fair it was following 1996 where he posted an ERA= 3.87 and a FIP= 4.08 and 1997 where he posted an ERA= 2.88 and a FIP= 2.96.
So really viewing Pettitte properly invalidates comparisons between Pettitte and Leake. Sticking Leake in Pettitte's environment likely balloons Leake's ERA/FIP above 5 given Leake's career numbers relative to league average in Leake's career context.