Of course, we have to repeat the old mantra, this is all compiled over a fairly small sample size. But don’t make the mistake that so many do, when dealing with SSS–discount the results rather than discarding them. I’m not telling you Colon is going to end the season striking out a batter per inning, nor do I expect him to have an ERA below 3.00. But if he’s above average for the league, the Yankees will have made a startlingly good pickup at a cost of roughly nothing.
I’ll leave you with another good datapoint. Often times, when you see a middling pitcher throw a great game, you can look to the umpire, whose strike zone can play havoc with the outcome of the game. Tom Glavine made a (likely HOF) career off of this dynamic. So it’s always worth checking to see if the pitcher deserves all the accolades he’s getting, or if he just owes the umpire dinner. And looking at the chart below, as far as I can tell, Colon got one favorable call (the called strike off the plate to the left), and a number of unfavorable calls (fringy ball calls on the top left, top right and bottom right corners). Credit where credit is due: Bartolo Colon threw a masterful game last night.