We have moved to our new permanent home at HighHeatStats.com!

All existing content will remain, but all new content is posted at our new location.

The 10 most under-appreciated players of the 1990s: #10 Jose Rijo

Posted by Andy
Just like with the 1980s countdown, here we feature a strikeout pitcher for the Reds whose career was shortened due to injury. Last time it was Mario Soto; this time it's Jose Rijo.

Rijo hasn't suffered nearly as much under-appreciation as some other players on this list. He's remembered by many as the anchor of the pitching staff of the champion 1990 Reds. He had two top-5 finishes for the NL Cy Young and made an All-Star team. He's also remembered for twice being involved in a trade for a star player--first going to Oakland when the Yankees acquired Rickey Henderson and later going to the Reds when the A's picked up Dave Parker.

But, I don't think many folks really understood just how good Rijo was during his prime, which wasn't actually all that short.

Although this is a list for the 1990s let's cheat a bit and look at Rijo's peak from 1988 to 1994. Over those 7 seasons he averaged 188 innings pitched (a little low due to some injuries) but had a really good 147 ERA+. There were 62 pitchers to throw at least 1000 innings over that period, but one 1 had a better ERA+ than Rijo:

Rk Player ERA+ IP Tm
1 Roger Clemens 151 1626.0 BOS
2 Jose Rijo 147 1315.0 CIN
3 Greg Maddux 142 1724.1 CHC-ATL
4 Kevin Appier 140 1017.0 KCR
5 Bret Saberhagen 130 1268.2 KCR-NYM
6 Dennis Martinez 127 1543.0 MON-CLE
7 David Cone 126 1570.2 NYM-TOT-KCR
8 Bill Swift 125 1029.2 SEA-SFG
9 Frank Viola 123 1450.0 MIN-TOT-NYM-BOS
10 Tom Candiotti 122 1433.0 CLE-TOT-LAD
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/15/2012.

On the list of WAR for pitchers over that same time frame (no minimum IP requirement) Rijo is 3rd:

Rk Player WAR Tm
1 Roger Clemens 45.0 BOS
2 Greg Maddux 39.9 CHC-ATL
3 Jose Rijo 33.1 CIN
4 David Cone 32.5 NYM-TOT-KCR
5 Mark Langston 32.4 SEA-TOT-CAL
6 Tom Candiotti 31.0 CLE-TOT-LAD
7 Chuck Finley 30.3 CAL
8 Frank Viola 30.2 MIN-TOT-NYM-BOS
9 Dennis Martinez 30.0 MON-CLE
10 Bret Saberhagen 29.9 KCR-NYM
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/15/2012.

Basically, Rijo's right there with two sure-fire Hall of Famers (if steroids don't keep Clemens out.)

The card is 1993 Topps Stadium Club #233. Stadium Club was an awesome concept. The cards were beautiful with full-bleed fronts and backs, photos on both sides, and for this season, a photo of the player's rookie Topps card on the back to boot. We get a nice reminder of Rijo's roots with the Yankees with a shot of his 1984 Topps Traded card.

The stats on the back are an interesting assortment. They show his splits for September and October in 1992, which are not terribly useful showing just W, L, ERA, and HR. All the way at the bottom, they show his batting against stats--pretty neat itself--AND they break out the splits of righty vs lefty! Pretty cool stuff for 1993. (Note the error--they show Rijo allowing *chuckle* 125 homers in 1992..it was actually 15.) Right above the batting against numbers are some random stats for which they show the value as well as the calculation--THAT is also pretty cool. A bit of instruction for those who wish to learn.

All in all, the Stadium Club cards were just awesome.

No comments:

Post a Comment