Jul. 24, 2015
MLB Robs Rookie Fulmer of ERA Title
The cancellation of the Detroit Tigers versus Cleveland Indians came on Monday October 3rd 2016 was unfair to both Michael Fulmer and the fans of Major League Baseball. For starters, both teams did not play a full season. Second, Tigers rookie Phenom Michael Fulmer did not get a chance to meet the innings requirement to be eligible for the ERA title.
I do not care who you are, it is my firm belief, no matter if there are playoff implications on the line or not, that all teams in any major sport should have to play the entire season of games. If 28 other teams had to play 162 games, the Tigers and the Tribe should have had to play 162 games; that one game not played could completely, while highly unlikely, change the entire outlook of a post season. It’s best to leave the “what if they had played game 162” questions at the door.
More importantly, however, is the fact that rookie Michael Fulmer was not awarded the chance to throw the final three innings he would have needed to reach 162.0 innings pitched. This plateau would have allowed him to become eligible for the ERA title in the American League. Let’s take a look at Fulmer’s final stat line on the season:
As you can see, the stat line is extremely impressive for a rookie. Fulmer was scheduled to pitch the make-up game against Cleveland if playoff berths or other implications were at stake; However, MLB opted to cancel the game due to the fact that the playoffs would not be affected in any way.
So now, let’s talk hypotheticals. If Detroit was to take on Cleveland in the make-up game, rookie Michael Fulmer would have been on the mound. It is likely that the Tribe, having clinched a playoff berth and the division title before the final series against the Tigers began, would have played their B team as they had in the first two games of the series. Fulmer would only need to pitch three innings to be eligible for the ERA title. It is likely that Fulmer would have gone six full innings, bringing his innings total up to 165.0 on the season, and given up 0 or 1 earned runs. Were Fulmer to give up no ER, he would have ended the season with a 2.95 ERA or a 3.00 ERA if he surrendered 1 earned run on the night.
This being said, the current American League ERA leader is Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays with an ERA of 3.00. So when you take a look at the numbers, rookie sensation Michael Fulmer would have either been the outright ERA title holder with a 2.95 ERA or co-leader with Sanchez who had a very impressive season in his own right.
So to reiterate, all teams should play their entire season, no matter the consequences. It is only fair to the fans for the game as well as the players vying for an award. Michael Fulmer had an amazing rookie season and would have been eligible for an award if it weren’t for the League’s decision to cancel a game. Fulmer could have become the first rookie pitcher to lead either league in ERA since 1976 when Detroit’s Mark “the Bird” Fidrych took both the ERA title (2.34) and Rookie of the Year honors as well.