Don’t tell Yankee fans, but Carl Pavano is very quietly having an excellent year. He currently is tied for 5th in the majors in pitcher wins, owns a 3.48 ERA, and has a FIP and xFIP under 4 to compliment the earned-run average. His 5.15 K/9 rate isn’t flashy, but his ability to keep batters off base via the walk has helped him immensely: his 1.20 walks per 9 rate is ridiculous and is third in the majors behind Roy Halladay’s and Cliff Lee’s. Similarly, he excels at getting first-pitch strikes. His rate of .685 is again third in the majors, this time behind the rates of Lee and Carlos Silva.
Probably the biggest asset Pavano has given his Twins this year is durability. Durability is something I find very interesting. Depending on how you define it, a “durable” pitcher can be one who can throw a lot of pitches (remember those high pitch-count games Livan Hernandez threw?), or one that can throw a lot of innings through pitch economy. The best pitchers, ideally, would be have the ability to do both when needed. In terms of innings per start, Pavano ranks fifth in the majors behind Lee, Halladay, Felix Hernandez, and Adam Wainwright with an average of 7.09 innings, which means that on average, he works into the 8th inning. This is obviously spectacular, and puts little strain on his bullpen. As for pitches, Pavano only averages 98 (the leader, Dan Haren, averages 110), which means that his ability to get ahead on hitters and prevent the base-on-balls is really helping him provide valuable innings.
Data is from Fangraphs.