The Top 20 Hitting Seasons by a Pitcher in the Last 10 Years
Some pitchers can rake.
Granted, not on the raking level of a Mike Trout or a Miguel Cabrera, but they know what to do when they get the lumber in their hands. While some hit for average, others look to impact the game with a longball-or-nothing approach.
That being said, how do we decide which single seasons are the best among all hitting pitchers? Batting average? Home runs? What about runs batted in?
Or do we choose a more fine-tuned offensive metric, e.g., on-base percentage (OBP), isolated slugging (ISO) or weighted on-base average (wOBA)? Those could work, but how do we account for plate appearance differential while also measuring a player's overall value at the dish?
FanGraphs' weighted runs created plus (wRC+) is tailor-made for tackling these questions, for the simple fact that it attempts to credit a hitter for the value of each outcome (single, double, etc.) rather than treating all hits equally. Also, in addition to factoring in controlling for park effects and the current run environment, it tells us how many runs above league average a hitter would have if given the same number of plate appearances.
Utilizing that all-inclusive metric, let's break down this decade's top hurler-mashing campaigns.