Josh Beckett, No-Hitters, and OPS+

Before initially posting on Tuesday, I decided against including the opponents each pitcher faced and their relative offensive merits.  There were a couple of reasons for this, none of them particularly good ones, but here they are:  I was lazy; I was pressed for time; I’m actually not very good at what I do.

With that out of the way, with a little extra time I decided to put in some additional work and add offensive statistics for the ball clubs faced at the time of the no-hitter.  As for not being very good?  Only practice and time can hopefully take care of that.

A note on methodology.  I chose OPS+ as my measurement du jour because it is easy to get a hold of using Baseball Reference and it is adjusted for park and league effects.  That being the case, an OPS+ of 100 is exactly league average while every point above or below can be considered one percentage point.  For example, Dazzy Vance tossed a no-hitter against a Phillies team that was 8% below league average.  That being said, below is the list of opponents with OPS+, and game score once again.

Player Date Opponent OPS+ Game Score Adjusted Score
Sam Kimber 10/04/1884 Toledo Blue Stockings ? ?
Adonis Terry 07/24/1886 St. Louis Browns ? ?
Adonis Terry 05/27/1888 Louisville Colonels ? ?
Tom Lovett 06/22/1891 New York Giants 106 ?
Mal Eason 07/20/1906 St. Louis Cardinals 86 ?
Nap Rucker 09/05/1908 Boston Doves ? ?
Dazzy Vance 09/13/1925 Philadelphia Phillies 92 93 85.56
Tex Carleton 04/30/1940 Cincinnati Reds 93 89 82.77
Ed Head 04/23/1946 Boston Braves 95 85 80.75
Rex Barney 09/09/1948 NY Giants 99 89 88.11
Carl Erskine 06/19/1952 Chicago Cubs 93 87 80.91
Carl Erskine 05/12/1956 NY Giants 83 88 73.04
Sal Maglie 09/25/1956 Philadelphia Phillies 92 88 80.96
Sandy Koufax 06/30/1962 New York Mets 82 95 77.9
Sandy Koufax 05/11/1963 San Francisco Giants 110 89 97.9
Sandy Koufax 06/04/1964 Philadelphia Phillies 99 98 97.02
Sandy Koufax 09/09/1965 Chicago Cubs 86 101 86.86
Bill Singer 07/20/1970 Philadelphia Phillies 79 97 76.63
Jerry Reuss 06/27/1980 San Francisco Giants 84 89 74.76
Fernando Valenzuela 06/29/1990 St. Louis Cardinals 87 91 79.17
Kevin Gross 08/17/1992 San Francisco Giants 90 91 81.9
Ramon Martinez 07/14/1995 Florida Marlins 95 94 89.3
Hideo Nomo 09/17/1996 Colorado Rockies 99 91 90.09
Josh Beckett 05/25/2014 Philadelphia Phillies 92 90 82.8

As with game scores, not all opponents are created equal.  Interesting to note is that average, median, and mode all equaled out to 92 for OPS+.  Josh Beckett’s no-hitter on Sunday came against a Phillies team 8% below league average, which makes his opponent comparable to his fellow Dodgers.  I created an additional column named Adjusted Score, which is essentially Game Score multiplied by OPS+.  Is it a perfect measurement?  For my purposes, it allows me to differentiate betwen the various games and attempt to determine a ranking across eras.  So, Koufax may have had a no-hitter against the ’62 Mets (shocking that the Mets were only 18% below league average that year), but the adjusted score of 77.9 would rank 15th of the games that there are actual game scores.

Of course, both Koufax’s games in ’63 and ’64 rank one and two on the adjusted score list, but that 101 that led the game score?  That’s now sixth on the list.  Where does Beckett’s no-no rank on the adjusted list with a score of 82.8?  He’s eighth, and the score falls just below the adjusted score average of 83.69 and above the median of 82.33.

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