I lack the technical skills to construct a fancy, and eye-saving table. So we'll do this the hard way:
Fluke, or Development?
ERA 2007: 3.67; Car: 4.44
ERA+ 2007: 128; Car: 101
Road ERA 2007: 3.47; Car: 4.98
WHIP 2007: 1.30; Car: 1.41
K/9 2007: 6.50; Car: 6.38
K/BB 2007: 2.52; Car: 1.72
G/F 2007: 1.36; Car: 1.03
Be advised, those career numbers include last season as well -- no time to calculate by hand otherwise, though I invite you to -- so in most cases the difference between Gil Meche '99-06 and Gil Meche '07, is even more pronounced.
So obviously, it was a career year, with Meche allowing fewer baserunners and using an upsurge in groundballs to control and limit big innings. (Meche's G/F ratio has never approached anything like what he did in 2007.) Meche's K-rate actually went down from 2006 to 2007, but was more than offset by a huge downturn in walks. In 2006 Meche walked 84 batters in 186.2 innings, in 2007, Meche walked only 62 men, while laboring through 216 innings. Thirty more innings, with 22 less BBs, nice. The improved control/approach and the increased ground-ball generation seems to suggest some legitimate strides. How large those strides are, I don't know.
More thoughts? Lets look at the clutch/leverage angle:
OPS allowed with 2-outs 2007: .702; Car: .740
OPS allowed with Men On 2007: .724; Car: .774
OPS allowed with RISP 2007: .653; Car: .684
OPS allowed with RISP/2-out 2007: .716; Car: .691
Eh, nothing too glaring. It looks like Meche was better in high-leverage situations in 2007, but he was better in all ways, so thats to be expected. Perhaps the gap is a wee bit larger than justified -- especially that OPS w/men on stat -- but, again, nothing too fluky.
Lets set the Meche ERA Over/Under for 2008 at 4.40. You going over or under?