*Note: Carpenter missed most of 2007-2008 and Marcum missed all of 2009 with injuries so I did not count them as the sample size was too small and irrelevant.
So, as you can see, with the few highlighted exceptions, these players' ERAs were always lower than their predictive statistics. All except Marcum and Garza showed this consistency for at least 4 straight years.. Marcum and Garza have shown this consistency for 3 straight years and haven't had more than 3 mostly-full years yet.. so I am predicting that they continue to show this skill. The exceptions: Adam Wainwright had a tERA that was barely lower than his ERA in 2007, and Matt Cain had a tERA that was 0.2 lower than his ERA in 2007. These are just the exceptions that prove the rule. Also, looking at Wainwright... it looks like he has transformed himself from the solid, yet unspectacular pitcher he was in 2007-2008 to the dominant top 4 starter he has become the last 2 seasons. Just look at his K/9 shooting up over 2 whole points... it's no coincidence that his newly-found strikeout ability coincided with his ERA dropping from 3.70 in 2007 to 2.42 in 2010. He's no fluke.
Then you have Roy Oswalt's 2009 campaign. What happened here? Well, I'm glad you asked. This is the one true instance on here of a pitcher NOT outperforming his peripherals/projections. As I stated in the previous post, pitchers have off-years. They get unlucky. In this case, Oswalt's poor performance can be attributed to 4 key statistics. First of all, his O-Contact% (percentage of times a batter makes contact with his pitches that were thrown outside of the strike zone) was the highest of his career - 67.9% (compared to his career average of 60.1%). Next, his LOB% (percentage of batters that he left on base - who he didn't let score and therefore did not hurt his ERA) was the lowest of his career - 72.7% (compared to his career average of 76.4%). Then, his GB% (percentage of batted balls that ended up as ground balls) was the second lowest of his career - 43.3% (compared to his career average of 47.5%). Finally, as a result of the low GB%, his FB% (percentage of batted balls that ended up as fly balls) was the highest of his career at the time - 35.6% (compared to his career average of 32.1%. Last year, Oswalt's FB% was even higher, though, at 36.7%... which could be the start of a dangerous trend, especially in the Phillies' bandbox park. It's ironic that Oswalt's FB% was the highest of his career in 2010 given that he also posted the lowest ERA of his career (in a full season) last year at 2.76. Oswalt's last 2 seasons are a perfect example of how both good and bad luck can affect a quality starting pitcher. I predicted his rebound and drafted Oswalt as often as possible last season, but I certainly didn't expect the monster season he ended up with. You have likely seen Oswalt's basement and ceiling these last 2 years... his true skill lies within the previous 4 years.
It's also interesting to note that aside from Jeremy Guthrie (who is far below the others in skill), all the rest of the pitchers are now in the NL (with Garza and Marcum going there in 2011)... with the exception of Ted Lilly's 2006 - which was bad. I think Guthrie would be a great sleeper if he ever moved to the NL, but in the AL East his value will always be limited to spot starting.
Anyways, my point here is that there are pitchers with whom I would ignore the predictive stats for, and assume they will outperform what they are "supposed to do." I have no qualms taking Matt Cain as my ace, and Adam Wainwright is a bona fide top 4 starter. I'm very interested to see what Marcum and Garza do.. especially Garza, who has a lot of questions surrounding him. But that is for another day and another post.