In MLB (and baseball in general), ERA is a descriptive statistic indicating the average number of runs a pitcher allows over nine innings.
However, this is not necessarily predictive: just because a pitcher has a 3.00 ERA does not mean he is good.
As with everything in life, context is important.
This (hypothetical) pitcher could have a 3.00 ERA with a 4.98 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and more walks than strikeouts in 20 innings.
It’s not good!
Many analysts and fans in general consider a pitcher’s strikeout ratio to be somewhat more predictive than ERA.
What does predictive mean in this context?
This means that if the pitcher rarely walks anyone around and hits a ton of batters, his future performance is much more likely to be good.
That said, Toronto Blue Jays ace Kevin Gausman was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2022.
And, as you can probably imagine, his strike-to-walk ratio is stellar.
“Best strikeout ratio by qualified pitchers in 2022: Kevin Gausman, 13.00; Tyler Anderson, 8:40 a.m.; Corbin Burnes, 6.70; Nathan Eovaldi, 6.63; Max fried, 6.50; Aaron Nola, 6:40,” Codify Baseball tweeted.
Best strikeout ratio by qualified pitchers in 2022:
Kevin Gausman, 1:00 p.m. 😮
Tyler Anderson, 8:40 a.m.
Corbin Burnes, 6.70
Nathan Eovaldi, 6.63
Max fried, 6.50
Aaron Nola, 6:40 a.m. https://t.co/YdxzTxtjgG
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 25, 2022
An incredibly productive season
What Gausman is doing is simply amazing.
He’s head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to dodging free passes and compiling strikeouts.
Strikeouts are wonderful for pitchers: since there is no ball in play, the risk of the batter inflicting damage or accomplishing anything is non-existent.
In 2022, in the tough AL East, Gausman has five walks to 65 (!) strikeouts.
His ERA is a rock solid 2.25 in 56 frames.
He was the perfect ace for one of baseball’s rising powers.
The Blue Jays can’t really ask for much more.