2009 Season: 9-14, 4.12 ERA, 34 starts, 203 IP, 146 K, 6.4 K/9, 4.56 BB/9, .294 BABIP, 4.84 FIP
Career: 90-97, 4.31 ERA, 6.67 K/9, 4.06 BB/9, .310 BABIP, 4.41 FIP
2009 Season: 11-7, 3.23 ERA, 34 starts, 214 IP, 160 K, 6.72 K/9, 2.44 BB/9, .257 BABIP, 3.96 FIP
Career: 101-85, 4.13 ERA, 7.42 K/9, 3.24 BB/9, .294 BABIP, 4.28 FIP
Both pitchers signed with the Milwaukee Brewers this offseason. Both pitchers are left handed.
Player A will be 35 this year. Player B will be 34.
Pitcher A landed a 1 year/$4.25 million dollar contract with a mutual option for 2011.
Pitcher B landed a 3 year/$29 million dollar contract.
Pitcher A is Doug Davis. Pitcher B is Randy Wolf.
Based on their career stats, these two pitchers are very similar. They have similar career ERAs, BABIPs, and FIPs. The biggest difference between the two guys is that Wolf strikes out more hitters and Davis walks many more hitters. In fact, before the 2009 season, Wolf and Davis had very similar careers. Both guys were thought of as solid middle of the rotation left handed starters, who could eat innings.
But all that changed in 2009. While Davis produced another solid yet unspectacular season, Wolf became the Dodgers ace and put together the best season of his career. Wolf's success was in large part because of his low BABIP (.257), which was the best in the league according to fangraphs. Whether you attribute Wolf's low BABIP to luck, Dodger Stadium, hitters making bad contact, or some combination of the three; the result was that Randy Wolf became one of the most attractive pitchers on the free agent market and the only starting pitcher other than Lackey and Chapman to land a contract that guaranteed him at least three years.
It would not surprise me in the slightest bit if Wolf and Davis put up statistically similar seasons in 2010. Wolf is the better pitcher at this point, but the difference between these two pitchers is not as big as their contracts this winter would suggest. Only time will tell if Randy Wolf's 2009 season was an aberration, but it's clear that Wolf's success in 2009 was the main difference why Wolf landed almost $30 million guaranteed while Doug Davis had to settle for only $4.25 guaranteed.