Greatest Relief Seasons: Eric Gagne 2003
This is the first part of a recurring theme over the next little while at mud.com. The first one is Eric Gagne’s amazing 2003 season.
Year Ag Tm Lg W L G GS CG SHO GF SV IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WP BFP IBB BK ERA *lgERA *ERA+ WHIP
2003 27 LAD NL 2 3 77 0 0 0 67 55 82.3 37 12 11 2 20 137 3 2 306 2 0 1.20 4.03 335 0.692
These numbers obviously won him the Cy Young, getting 91% of the vote. He was 6th in MVP voting, well back of Barry Bonds. His K/BB ratio, WHIP, Saves, Save%, ERA were all at the top of reliever’s numbers. He was an All-Star and his streak of consecutive save opportunities was a record.
His Impact on his Team
The 2003 Dodgers team was one of the best pitching teams in recent memory. They had a team ERA of 3.16, by far the best in the NL. Their ‘pen with Gagne, Paul Quantrill and Guillermo Mota all had ERA’s under 2.00. The Dodgers had a skewed proportion of close games that season and Gagne had a propotionally high amount of one-run saves, making his streak even more impressive. Dispite his dominance, his Dodgers were 85-77 that year, 2nd in the NL West 15GB the Giants and 6 games out of the Wild Card.
Gagne was a stud pitcher on a mediocre team built around pitching. His WHIP, ERA and K rate are awesome and his streak of saves is historic but his 2004 season is probably more valuable to his team. The Dodgers won the divison that year ekeing out the Giants. Gagne had a 7-3 win loss record that year and a losing record during his ’03 campaign. His performance in non-save games was more valuable but his 2003 season is stronger statisically. In all his from 2002-2004 could arguably be the strongest three seasons that a reliever has ever had. He was absolutley dominant, nearly unhittable and his consistency in the final frame meant the Dodgers could truly count on an 8 inning game. Gagne has since had arm problems and 2007 was the first time he pitched a full season, to mixed results but won a World Series with the Red Sox. He was also recently mention in the infamous Mitchell Report.