2014 APBA Baseball by the Numbers: Pitching grades and ratings


Clayton Kershaw tops all starters (again) with the only A&C grade

Yesterday, I posted the first in my APBA Baseball by the Numbers series where  I covered defensive ratings.  Tonight though, it’s time to go over the hurlers.  Who was the best?  Who got lucky and got cheated out of a good grade?  And of course, the general distribution of the grades and ratings.

Before I start, a quick tutorial on Master Game grades.  Instead of Grades A, B, C and D, Master Game breaks the pitchers’ grades into numbers 1-30.  They are consistent from year to year though.

Here is the conversion chart:

MG grade Basic grade
1 to 4 Grade D
5 to 9 Grade C
10 to 14 Grade B
15 to 19 Grade A
20 to 24 Grade A&C
25 to 30 Grade A&B


Ok, now the starting pitchers:

Starting Pitchers

Congrats to all of the Clayton Kershaw owners out there.  He was the only A&C pitcher this year.  Not only that, this is the second year in a row he’s topped the Majors with the best grade.  He did it last year with a MG 19 grade.

Here were the best starting pitchers by grade.

Pitcher Team St Grade
Clayton Kershaw LAD 21
Johnny Cueto CIN 18
Chris Sale CWS 17
Felix Hernandez SEA 17
Adam Wainwright STL 16
Cole Hamels PHI 16
Corey Kluber CLE 16
Doug Fister WAS 16
Jake Arrieta CHC 16
Jon Lester OAK 15


Here was the overall distribution of starting pitcher grades.

Start Grade Distribution
D 61
C 92
B 65
A 9
A&C 1
A&B 0


Highest ERA by an A starter:  Jake Arrieta, CHI, 16XY, 2.53 ERA, 156 2/3 IP

Highest ERA by a B starter:  Homer Bailey, CIN, 10Y, 3.71 ERA, 145 2/3 IP

Lowest ERA by a B starter: Michael Pineda, NY, 14YZ, 1.89 ERA, 76 1/3 IP

Highest ERA by a C starter: Franklin Morales, COL, 5W, 5.37 ERA, 142 1/3 IP

Lowest ERA by a C starter: Gavin Floyd, ATL, 9Z, 2.65 ERA, 54 1/3 IP

Can anyone explain Franklin Morales’ gift?  I had a similar situation with Manny Parra and since he was on my team, I wasn’t about to complain.

And thank you APBA, by the way for Homer Bailey!


The best of the best.  There were a couple of A&B bullpen aces in this set.  Funnily,  enough, they were both from the Royals.  Look down a little further, and you’ll see another A&C from KC too.

Pitcher Team Rel Grade
Wade Davis KC 26
Kelvin Herrera KC 25
Craig Kimbrel ATL 24
Dellin Betances NYY 24
Drew Storen WAS 24
Ken Giles PHI 24
Neil Ramirez CHC 24
Dan Jennings MIA 23
Greg Holland KC 23
Joaquin Benoit SD 23


Overall distribution of relievers.  Split grade pitchers are included here, by the way.

Relief Grade Distribution
D 58
C 64
B 71
A 49
A&C 17
A&B 2


Let’s do the same here as I did for starters.  It’s always interesting to see the anomalies (I’m trying to avoid the split grade pitchers here).

Highest ERA by an A reliever:  Jake Petricka, CHI, 15W, 2.96 ERA, 73 IP

Highest ERA by a B reliever:  Jacob Diekman, PHI, 10XYW, 3.80 ERA, 71 IP

Lowest ERA by a B reliever: Carson Smith, SEA, 10XYW, 0.00 ERA, 8 1/3 IP

Highest ERA by a C reliever: Rex Brothers, COL, 5YW, 5.59 ERA, 56 1/3 IP

Ratings Distribution

Taking a look at the pitchers ratings distribution now.  Keep in mind that the ZZ, K, and R ratings are still unknown.

Let’s start with the strikeout rating.

Strikeout Rating Distribution
X 79
Y 142
XY 73


…and now the control ratings.

Control Rating Distribution
W 106
Z 131


I thought I’d do the Master Game homerun ratings as well.

MG Homerun rating Distribution
G 109
H 32
L 72
M 27


As appropriate, the more restrictive ratings are rarer.

A few more miscellaneous stats left.  I’ve already mentioned the Royals’ impressive bullpen.  But which team had the most B or better starting pitchers?  Would you believe Oakland has six?

Pitcher Team Grade
Jon Lester OAK 15
Drew Pomeranz OAK 14
Sonny Gray OAK 13
Scott Kazmir OAK 12
Jeff Samardzija OAK 11
Jason Hammel OAK 10


Finally, here is a list of non-pitchers who took a turn on the mound in 2014 and were graded as a pitcher on their APBA card.

Player Team Relief Grade
Danny Worth CWS 2
Leury Garcia CLE 1
Chris Gimenez DET 1
Andrew Romine DET 1
Adam Dunn OAK 1
J.P. Arencibia TEX 1
Mitch Moreland TEX 1
Mike Carp TEX 1
Steve Tolleson TOR 1
John Baker CHC 1
Skip Schumaker CIN 1
Drew Butera LAD 1
Lyle Overbay MIL 1
Martin Maldonado MIL 1
Travis Snider PIT 1
Daniel Descalso STL 1


Worth gets a Grade 2 because he appeared twice and only allowed one run, I suppose.  Defensively, Drew Butera is the only one who is rated a P-2.

This series gets more and more fun.  Next up, “Hitting by the numbers”.  Again, check out last night’s article on defensive ratings too.

[photo credit]

Thomas Nelshoppen

I am an IT consultant by day and an APBA media mogul by night. My passions are baseball (specifically Illini baseball), photography and of course, APBA. I have been fortunate to be part of the basic game Illowa APBA League since 1980 as well as the BBW Boys of Summer APBA League since 2014. I am slogging through a 1966 NL replay and hope to finish before I die.


  1. Danny Worth was with Detroit last year. Chris Gimenez pitched for Texas. Adam Dunn pitched for the White Sox.

  2. Tom>> Are you sure your Starting Pitcher Numbers are right? I haven’t had a chance to look at the disk yet, but according to your old posts for the years 2011-2013 APBA graded an average of 283 starters per year. They also have been on an upward trend that saw a 3 year high last year of 292 graded starters. This years numbers suggest they graded roughly 55 fewer starter than the average the past 3 years (which I guess is possible, but would seem counter intuitive to me). As always, great work with the blog though.

    2014 – 228
    2013 – 292
    2012 – 286
    2011 – 272

  3. How accurate is the master baseball game

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