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2021 Single-game Performance of the Year: Nominations open

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More of a procession, I suspect. But, hey: let’s follow the process

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images

I admit, up front, that this category is likely to be as close as a foregone conclusion as we’ve had in the 16-year history of the ‘Pitties. But as I always say: it’s an honor simply to be nominated. So, let’s go through the three categories of performances, and see what we find.

2021 starter performances

Player Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO GSc
Player Date Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO GSc
Tyler Gilbert 2021-08-14 SDP W 7-0 9 0 0 0 3 5 89
Madison Bumgarner 2021-04-25 (2) ATL W 7-0 7 0 0 0 0 7 84
Luke Weaver 2021-04-11 CIN W 7-0 7 1 0 0 1 8 82
Zac Gallen 2021-08-21 COL L 2-5 7 3 0 0 1 9 79
Zac Gallen 2021-04-25 (1) ATL W 5-0 7 1 0 0 2 6 79

No surprises what tops the chart, though 89 is low for a no-hitter. You have to go back to 2011 to find one with a lower score: Francisco Liriano’s 83 for the Twins. For context, Tyler Gilbert’s no-hitter had the same GS as Alex Young’s eight innings of two-hit ball against the Reds on Sep 7, 2019. That was much more “dominant” with a K:BB of 12:1, compared to Gilbert’s 5:3. Elsewhere on the list, we naturally find both ends of the double-header against the Braves - not a bad result against the team which would go on to become World Series champions! Luke Weaver’s outing has been largely forgotten, and Gallen’s other entry deserves note, because it was in Coors Field. Maybe we should park-adjust Game Score!

2021 reliever performances

Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR WPA
Player Date Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR WPA
Matt Peacock 2021-04-06 COL W 10-8 11-GF(13), W 3 1 2 0 1 1 0 39.7%
Joe Mantiply 2021-09-05 SEA L 4-10 10-10 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 31.1%
Matt Peacock 2021-07-30 LAD W 6-5 10-GF(10), W 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 31.1%
Miguel Aguilar 2021-07-30 LAD W 6-5 7-7, H 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 27.3%
Stefan Crichton 2021-04-20 CIN W 5-4 9-GF, S 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 22.0%

For this category. I went by Win Probability. But, I tend to think, there’s a runaway leader here, just as much as in the starting pitching category. For Matt Peacock’s April 6th appearance was not just three frames in Coors Field, in extra innings, it was also his major-league debut. Holding the opposition to scoring just the Manfred Man, and not even that in his first inning, was particularly impressive. Joe Mantiply and Peacock’s other entry were similar: an extra-inning frame, stranding the deposited runner on second. Miguel Aguilar’s is laudable, despite being relatively early (in the 7th inning), as he inherited the tying run on third with no outs and stranded him there.

2021 hitter performances

Player Date Opp Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI BB WPA
Player Date Opp Rslt AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI BB WPA
David Peralta 2021-04-22 CIN W 14-11 6 2 5 0 1 1 10 7 0 0.581
Daulton Varsho 2021-08-22 COL W 8-4 4 2 3 1 1 1 9 4 1 0.216
Eduardo Escobar 2021-05-15 WSN W 11-4 5 3 3 0 0 2 9 7 0 0.298
Eduardo Escobar 2021-06-26 SDP W 10-1 5 1 4 1 0 1 8 5 0 0.263
Daulton Varsho 2021-09-11 SEA W 7-3 4 1 3 1 0 1 7 4 0 0.328

Here, I mostly went by total bases, but did include Varsho’s Sep 11 performance, as it’s WP was significantly higher than the other 8-base games. David Peralta’s five-hit afternoon, during a mad game in Cincinnati (3 runs scored over the first five innings; 22 the rest of the way!), leads for both bases and WP. Meanwhile, Varsho came a single short of the cycle in Coors Field - though maybe you could count the walk as filling that blank! A pair of performances from Eduardo Escobar complete the list. One was a two-homer, seven RBI game against the Nationals, and the other a four-hit game where Escobar fell a triple short of the cycle.

We need to narrow the above down to five or thereabouts, for the final poll. This will be done largely on the basis of recs in the comments, though the decision of the judging committee i.e. me, will be final in this regard. #SuckItHacks :) Tyler Gilbert’s no-hitter gets an automatic berth, so don’t bother nominating it; I’m more curious what else might qualify. Just identify the performance in the subject line, in a format that easily identifies it (player, date, opponent, or whatever). If you agree with a choice already made, give it a rec. If you don’t see your choice, post a new comment. I will delete subsequent top-level comments about the same play. I trust this will not be too confusing.