Yesterday, I analyzed the potential shift in Michael Pineda's value based on his transition from Seattle to New York. DD wanted to know if the value shift took into account last year's lower ERA/WHIP relative to prior seasons.
The year of the pitcher wasn't 2011, though; it was 2010.
A.L. 2011: 4.08 ERA, 1.325 WHIP
A.L. 2010: 4.14 ERA, 1.346 WHIP
A.L. 2009: 4.45 ERA, 1.403 WHIP
2010 was the year that the pitchers rallied to post the lowest league ERA for the American League since way back in 1992, when league wide they posted a 3.94.
Yes, this means that the average pitcher's ERA/WHIP in 2011 wasn't worth quite as much as it would have been in 2009.
Zack Greinke 2009 16 W, 229 1/3 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1.073 WHIP, 242 K, 2011$ $37, 2009$ $44
Justin Verlander 2011 24 W, 251 IP, 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 250 K, 2011$ $46, 2009$ $53
Stick Verlander into 2009's context and he's a $53 pitcher; he blows away the next best A.L. pitcher - Greinke - by a good $9. Put 2009 Greinke into last year's context and he would have been worth only $1 more than Jered Weaver...the second best pitcher in the A.L. last year.
So, yes, context is everything when it comes to figuring out pitcher earnings. Pitchers are not measured by using a generic baseline to generate a value, but rather against their peers in each individual season.