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Friday, September 14, 2012

Harper: Voters: NL Cy Young too close to call with three weeks remaining in the MLB season

Harper takes a case - and the payoff is confusion.

After two days of polling the voters who will decide the 2012 NL Cy Young Award, I can draw two conclusions — one should give R.A. Dickey encouragement; the other could give him extra incentive for his final four starts of the season.

Most significantly, the 12 voters I spoke to — out of 32 in all — were unanimous in saying the race is too close to call with nearly three weeks to go, and too close to even have a clear-cut favorite among four primary candidates: Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Gio Gonzalez and Clayton Kershaw.

...That’s how I happen to have an NL Cy Young vote this year, and like many of the voters I polled, I’m agonizing over it because you can truly make a solid case for any of the top candidates — Dickey, Gonzalez, Cueto and Kershaw. And there is little to separate any one of them from the others.

In addition, Matt Cain and Kyle Lohse are close enough that they could make a dramatic move with outstanding finishes. Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel are having spectacular seasons as closers, meriting consideration as well.

...The reasons are obvious: Statistics such as earned-run average, innings pitched, walks and hits per inning (WHIP), and strikeout-to-walk ratio all offer a truer evaluation of a pitcher’s performance.

Not that wins are meaningless. But many of the voters said they look at wins as something of a tie-breaker if it’s too close to call. In this case, Gonzalez leads with 19 wins, to 18 for Dickey and 17 for Cueto, but the Nationals lefthander has significantly fewer innings pitched, which some voters view as a key stat.

Repoz Posted: September 14, 2012 at 05:41 AM | 74 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards

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   1. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 06:03 AM (#4235474)
May the man with the most wins win.

As things stand now I'd vote for Cueto. Not that his ERA this season is necessarily repeatable next year, but that 2.71 in a hitters' paradise is what happened this year and he gets credit for it, even if it involved a lot of luck.

If you don't buy into that philosophy, Kershaw's probably your man. But let's be real here, in a close multi-way race there's no way the writers are going to pick the guy that won last year. He's old news.

Kimbrel also looks like a legitimate candidate to me. What a year he's had. I could see him winning it when the starters split votes.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 14, 2012 at 06:31 AM (#4235478)
Cueto should win but writers love a story so I could easily see them going for Dickey. The Kimbrel thing is ridiculous. He's pitched 53 innings this year. Talk leverage all you want, there's no way he's as valuable as a 220 IP starter.
   3. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:01 AM (#4235483)
I doubt they'll go for Dickey. His being a fun story is at least cancelled out by his being disregarded because he throws knuckleballs. I think Cueto is going to win unless he sucks these last few starts while Dickey or Gonzalez is awesome. I don't think Kershaw is going to win under any circumstances except a miraculous mass sucking of the rest of the field and/or Kershaw going Orel Hershiser the rest of the season and the Dodgers finishing on fire.
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4235484)
It's kind of crazy that Cueto would be the front-runner. He's not leading in wins (Gonzalez and Dickey), he's not leading in Ks (Kershaw, Dickey, and Gonzalez), he not leading in IP (Kershaw and Dickey), and he's basically tied in ERA. Cueto's front-runnership would have to be a function of people making park adjustments.

When I look at the numbers, I think it'll be Gonzalez. Ks, Wins, top 5 ERA, winning ballclub, no obvious frontrunner.
   5. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:25 AM (#4235488)
Cueto's front-runnership would have to be a function of people making park adjustments.


That certainly is a strong argument that Cueto won't be the guy.

Voters do seem to like high innings counts, though. Maybe Dickey has a better shot than I'm giving him credit for. The article is right, of course; this race hasn't been decided yet.
   6. shoewizard Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:30 AM (#4235490)
Cueto's front-runnership would have to be a function of people making park adjustments.


You say that like it's almost a bad thing. I think it's great that voters are willing to look at park adjustments.

   7. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:35 AM (#4235492)
You say that like it's almost a bad thing.
I meant to say it like it was an implausible thing.

Of course it'd be a good thing.
   8. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:38 AM (#4235494)
The article is right, of course; this race hasn't been decided yet.
That's exactly right. I would say that there are really only three SP candidates at this point - Gonzalez, Cueto, and Dickey - but they're close enough that the next two weeks will decide things. Kershaw doesn't have the wins and voters hate to give a Cy Young to a guy who was better last year. Lohse and Cain don't have the Ks or the wins.

If the season ended today, I'd bet on Gonzalez winning. I think right now I'd vote for Dickey, though I probably should vote for Cueto.

I think it's lucky that both Chapman and Kimbrel have been so brilliant this year. Hopefully they'll split the closer vote.
   9. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 07:58 AM (#4235504)
I suspect Dickey's going to have a hard time winning against two candidates that are the aces of division-winning teams. The more I think about it the more I think MCoA is right and this is Gonzalez's award to lose.
   10. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:04 AM (#4235533)
I suspect Dickey's going to have a hard time winning against two candidates that are the aces of division-winning teams. The more I think about it the more I think MCoA is right and this is Gonzalez's award to lose.

I don't know if team success matters much for the CYA, but I'll admit to not having looked at it closely. If anything, Dickey has an advantage in that his team won't slow him down in the next few weeks to rest up for the postseason. Cueto has been shaky his last two starts. Since he's (going to finish) well beyond his previous innings high, I bet that he gets to skip a start down the stretch and doesn't throw more than six innings per from here on out.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:13 AM (#4235542)
I'm with Steve, I don't think team record has anything to do with CYA success. I just went to bb-ref and sorted the pitchers by era and after doing that, I think that Dickey has the strongest case. Leads in era, has 3 more complete games than the other contenders, has the most shutouts, second in the league in strikeouts, up there in innings pitched(currently second).

But have to agree with the article, it's too close to call.
   12. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:18 AM (#4235548)
It seems to me like the Mets are in a similar place as the Reds and Natinals when it comes to using their pitchers: they have no reason to care much if they win or lose the rest of the way. As such, if I were running the Mets I'd at least think about skipping Dickey on a road start. No sense making your best pitcher work in games that make no difference.
   13. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:22 AM (#4235552)
It seems to me like the Mets are in a similar place as the Reds and Natinals when it comes to using their pitchers: they have no reason to care much if they win or lose the rest of the way. As such, if I were running the Mets I'd at least think about skipping Dickey on a road start. No sense making your best pitcher work in games that make no difference.

I don't think people worry about overuse for 37 y.o. Knuckleballers.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4235554)
Dickey's not going to be skipping starts. If anything they'll get him extra work to give him every chance to win 20 games and the CYA.
   15. Spectral Posted: September 14, 2012 at 09:52 AM (#4235581)
As a big Nats homer, I'd love to see Gio get the award. For the story angle, I think the writers could easily enjoy writing about the guy switching teams and leading a team to their first ever playoff appearance. Additionally, he's likely a 20 game winner (round numbers!), has a remarkably low hits allowed total (writers like innings pitched, but they also like BAA I think), and just generally seems like a great guy.

That said, I'd vote for Dickey if I had a vote today. That said, there's enough starts left for someone to separate from the pack. We'll see.
   16. TDF, situational idiot Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4235597)
I suspect Dickey's going to have a hard time winning against two candidates that are the aces of division-winning teams. The more I think about it the more I think MCoA is right and this is Gonzalez's award to lose.

I don't know if team success matters much for the CYA, but I'll admit to not having looked at it closely.
I would agree that the best pitcher would normally win the award regardless of team success, but that's the rub - there is no obvious "best pitcher" in the NL this year, and team success might be the the only thing to separate candidates.

That being said, Cueto's going to have a tough time winning unless he starts pitching well again. Two weeks ago, 4 Reds had very good shots at awards - Cueto (CY), Frasier (ROY), Ludwick (Comeback Player), Chapman (Rolaids Relief); now, after slumps by all 4, I'd guess only Ludwick has a shot.
   17. JJ1986 Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4235600)
I don't know how Comeback Player is decided, but I'd have to think Strasburg deserves it.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4235604)
I don't know how Comeback Player is decided, but I'd have to think Strasburg deserves it.


I don't see someone who had 92 innings pitched in his career prior to this season, getting consideration for comeback player of the year. Dunn is probably the AL player.... the NL player is a little bit tougher, I had predicted Santana, but his numbers haven't been good, Wainwright is second in the league in complete games and shutouts, but his 95 era+ isn't that impressive.
   19. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4235612)
In the Neyer/James Cy Young Predictor formula, Gonzalez and Dickey at the moment are separated by less than half a point!
   20. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4235613)
Kershaw's pitched great (#1 in Ks and IP, #2 in ERA+), but I don't think he'll win when he's a half-dozen wins behind the league leaders (current record of 12-9).
   21. The District Attorney Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4235620)
AL Cy race is also very much up for grabs, BTW.

Cueto has been shaky his last two starts. Since he's (going to finish) well beyond his previous innings high, I bet that he gets to skip a start down the stretch and doesn't throw more than six innings per from here on out.
Shouldn't they shut him down altogether? He could get hurt!
   22. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4235624)
Maybe I'm just displaying spectacular cynicism here, but if I were Nats fan I would not want Gio Gonzalez to win the Cy Young. It would just make him more expensive later, in the event they might want to re-sign him.
   23. Walt Davis Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:32 AM (#4235644)
It would just make him more expensive later, in the event they might want to re-sign him.

He's already signed through 2016 with options for 17-18.
   24. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4235653)
Maybe I'm just displaying spectacular cynicism here, but if I were Nats fan I would not want Gio Gonzalez to win the Cy Young. It would just make him more expensive later, in the event they might want to re-sign him.

Nothing personal, but this is kind of stupid. Why would I care about something like that right now? The Nationals aren't the Pirates; they have money to spend, and they're going to have even more to spend after this season as revenues across the board start to go up, big time.
   25. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4235666)
Maybe I'm just displaying spectacular cynicism here, but if I were Nats fan I would not want Gio Gonzalez to win the Cy Young. It would just make him more expensive later, in the event they might want to re-sign him.
As Walt pointed out, the Nats already have Gio locked up until 2018 if they want -- they signed him to a long-term extension immediately after trading with the A's -- so this consideration is irrelevant.
   26. Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos Posted: September 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4235685)
The Kimbrel thing is ridiculous. He's pitched 53 innings this year. Talk leverage all you want, there's no way he's as valuable as a 220 IP starter.


That is almost certainly true.

At the same time, Kimbrel has faced 195 batters this year. And he has struck out 98 of them.

That is just so absurd--so Bugs Bunnyish--I'd like to see it recognized somehow.
   27. Spectral Posted: September 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM (#4235704)
Maybe I'm just displaying spectacular cynicism here, but if I were Nats fan I would not want Gio Gonzalez to win the Cy Young. It would just make him more expensive later, in the event they might want to re-sign him.


I understand this sentiment, but it falls down for me for at least two reasons, which Joey and Walt have already mentioned. While I suppose a 2012 Cy could theoretically increase Gio's 2019 cost, this seems unlikely to me, and more importantly, it's too far down the road for me to worry myself about. The other biggie is that I'm a fan before I'm a pragmatist - I want to see the guy I've been cheering for win the award, it's fun! Also, Cy Young awards are mounted forever, or something...

At the same time, Kimbrel has faced 195 batters this year. And he has struck out 98 of them.

That is just so absurd--so Bugs Bunnyish--I'd like to see it recognized somehow.


Kimbrel and Chapman duking it out for the Rolaids Relief Man award seems as good a way as any. Personally, I prefer Chapman. Unfortunately for awards purposes, sometimes a guy just has an amazing year at the same time that someone else is amazing.
   28. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 11:26 AM (#4235729)
Obviously I didn't bother checking Gio's contract before I used him as a generalization. I don't know what's wrong with me, I get told things like "I don't understand how you call yourself a fan" all the time, by people I know offline as well as online. I blame the Pirates for ruining my childhood and turning me into the bitter husk of a "baseball fan" I am now. (Obviously I personally bear no blame for just being kind of an idiot.)

Plus I must acknowledge that my former statement is stupid for another reason not yet mentioned: your team's guy winning a major award does good things for general fan interest in your team.
   29. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: September 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4235730)
My awards list (who I think WILL win, not necessarily who I would choose myself):

NL --

Cy Young: Gio Gonzalez (though I'd vote for Dickey)
MVP: Buster Posey (I think McCutchen deserves it more, but I think Posey will win. Nobody's going to vote for Braun after the offseason antics.)
ROY: Bryce Harper
Reliever: Craig Kimbrel
Comeback Player: Ryan Ludwick
Manager of the Year: Davey Johnson
Executive of the Year: Mike Rizzo (somewhere Ray DiPerna is gagging)

AL --

Cy Young: Justin Verlander (even though Price, Sale, and Felix all have equivalent or stronger arguments, I think Verlander gets it again on the strength of his IP alone)
MVP: Mike Trout
ROY: Mike Trout (making him the first LEGITIMATE rookie to win both ROY and MVP since Fred Lynn in '75 -- let's face it, Ichiro was a "rookie" in name only -- and for a non-playoff team no less!)***
Reliever: Honestly have no idea
Comeback Player: Adam Dunn
Manager of the Year: Buck Showalter, the biggest no-brainer of anyone on either of these lists
Executive of the Year: Billy Beane (somewhere Backlasher is gagging)

*** Actually, it occurs to me that even Trout really skirts the boundary of being a legitimate rookie; didn't the Angels artificially manipulate his plate appearances last year to make sure he fell something like two or three PA short of qualifying for a "full season" appearance? Lame.
   30. The District Attorney Posted: September 14, 2012 at 11:30 AM (#4235734)
ROY: Mike Trout (making him the first to win both since Fred Lynn in '75 -- and for a non-playoff team no less!)
Ichiro.

EDIT: Fine.
   31. Hack Wilson Posted: September 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4235812)
Comeback Player: Adam Dunn


Maybe, but Alex Rios is very close, and, to me, much more surprising.
   32. spycake Posted: September 14, 2012 at 12:34 PM (#4235823)
Ludwick? Comeback? Really? A career 113 OPS+ guy dips down to 90 for a season at Petco, then rebounds elsewhere. That's "comeback of the year"?

Although pitchers recovering from surgery don't seem to be as miraculous anymore either. I guess the NL is in a bit of a down year for real comebacks? Maybe the league can come back from that next year.
   33. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: September 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM (#4235841)
Although pitchers recovering from surgery don't seem to be as miraculous anymore either. I guess the NL is in a bit of a down year for real comebacks?
Yeah, that's really the issue with this particular award. Can't think of anyone in the NL who really leaps to claim that award the way Dunn (and Rios as well) do in the AL.
   34. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4235866)
Ludwick? Comeback? Really? A career 113 OPS+ guy dips down to 90 for a season at Petco, then rebounds elsewhere. That's "comeback of the year"?


Well, you know, OPS+ is supposed to be park-adjusted...
   35. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:13 PM (#4235869)

A.J. Burnett, Adam LaRoche and Aaron Hill can also make a very good case for Comeback Player in the NL.

   36. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:18 PM (#4235875)
Maybe, but Alex Rios is very close, and, to me, much more surprising.


According to BBRef, Rios' WAR has increased by 5.3 (-2.1 to 3.2) from 2011, while Dunn's has increased by 4.2 (-3.1 to 1.1). Rios has obviously been the more valuable player, but he wasn't as abysmally awful in 2011 as Dunn was. Rios' WAR lead also depends on you believing that Rios' defense has had a .6 WAR improvement, while Dunn's increasing defensive shortcomings cost him an additional .2 WAR over 2012. So it's close.

The shape of Dunn's season would make me want to give it to Rios. OPS by month:

Month Dunn Rios
Apr   881  807
May   976  738
June  770  950
July  788 1005
Aug   691  720 


I know that the games in May count just as much as the ones in August, but Rios' year looks more like a sustainable comeback, especially when you consider that Dunn basically has to hit like he did in April and May to be a good player. Dunn looks like a guy who made some adjustments in the offseason, and now the league has partially figured them out. Rios just looks like he's a solid ballplayer again.

(Edit: Rios of course already did this dance in 2009-2010, so in a way I wouldn't want to give him a comeback award. No reason to think he won't flop again in 2013, then be great in '14. Or something.)
   37. Joe OBrien Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:20 PM (#4235878)
If coming back from injury counts, Buster Posey is a good candidate for that too. If it's about rebounding from playing poorly then I don't know either.
   38. Jim P Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4235884)
So how many innings would Bugs Bunny have to pitch as a reliever to merit Cy Young consideration? By Tango's win expectancy base-out table, it looks like the greatest WPA added possible is an out with two outs, bottom of the ninth, up a run, bases loaded, changing the home team's WE from 0.278 to 0. Is there a list of the highest-leveraged at bats for a team in a year? Assuming Bugs would guarantee you an out, how many of those would you need in a year so that he'd lead the league in WPA?
   39. TerpNats Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4235886)
Another thing that works against Gonzalez is that he's perceived as the #2 man on the Nats' staff because of all the Strasburg hype. As good as Lew Burdette, Jerry Koosman or Don Drysdale were, did any of them with a Cy Young award? (OK, for Burdette and Drysdale, the bulk of their careers came before separate awards were given in each league.)
   40. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4235887)
I'd give Jake Peavy (0.9 to 4.8 WAR) pretty solid consideration for Comeback Player in the AL, too.
   41. Cooper Nielson Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM (#4235889)
Buster Posey has a good case for Comeback Player of the Year (do people actually care about that award?) in addition to MVP. [EDIT: Coke to Joe OBrien]

And while I wouldn't dispute that Buck Showalter is the frontrunner and very worthy for AL Manager of the Year, I wouldn't call him "the biggest no-brainer of anyone on either of these lists." The guy in Oakland's got a pretty good case too.
   42. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4235895)
Nobody is going to give the guy in Oakland an award for Manager of the Year, given that one of the tenets of Beaneianism, particularly in the movie, is that for it to work, the manager needs to just do what the front office tells him to do. In fact I don't even know who their manager is. Is it still Bob Geren?
   43. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4235901)
If coming back from injury counts, Buster Posey is a good candidate for that too. If it's about rebounding from playing poorly then I don't know either.


It's a little bit of both, but mostly it's about a "lost" season. I think only 45 games last year would qualify him for comeback player of the year.

So how many innings would Bugs Bunny have to pitch as a reliever to merit Cy Young consideration? By Tango's win expectancy base-out table, it looks like the greatest WPA added possible is an out with two outs, bottom of the ninth, up a run, bases loaded, changing the home team's WE from 0.278 to 0. Is there a list of the highest-leveraged at bats for a team in a year? Assuming Bugs would guarantee you an out, how many of those would you need in a year so that he'd lead the league in WPA?


Not sure, but leading the league in wpa has zero to do with being Cy young worthy. (That is like leading the league in xFip/fip ...useless stats which have no purpose in an awards discussion)
   44. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:38 PM (#4235906)
As good as Lew Burdette, Jerry Koosman or Don Drysdale were, did any of them with a Cy Young award?


Drysdale did. Koosman finished second in the voting in 1976 (to Randy Jones of the Padres).
   45. The District Attorney Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4235907)
Oddly enough, Rany Jazayerli has been tweeting about a similar subject today.
Taylor Teagarden is hitting .133/.204/.333. But when you factor in context, he has a WPA (Win Probability Added) of 0.646.

That means his 6 hits have helped the Orioles more than his 39 outs have hurt them. A lot more. His WPA is higher than Adam Dunn's (0.595).

If you extrapolate Teagarden's 51 PA to a full season, he'd be worth 7 wins above *average*. That would lead the majors. While batting .133.
   46. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4235922)
If you extrapolate Teagarden's 51 PA to a full season, he'd be worth 7 wins above *average*. That would lead the majors. While batting .133.


There is why you don't extrapolate miniscule numbers. There is also why you don't use WPA in MVP discussions.
   47. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 01:54 PM (#4235927)
I think those stats are far from useless--FIP has better predictive value than ERA and so forth--but I agree they're not much help in an awards discussion. Reasonable people disagree, though.
   48. Ebessan Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:07 PM (#4235946)
Talk leverage all you want, there's no way he's as valuable as a 220 IP starter.

Except that the Cy Young Award has nothing to do with "value". It has to do with who was the best pitcher, and I don't see how someone could say that a modern reliever couldn't have pitched better than a starter just because the reliever can compress everything into those innings. If you strike out half of the batters that you've faced, you deserve consideration.
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4235951)
I think those stats are far from useless--FIP has better predictive value than ERA and so forth--but I agree they're not much help in an awards discussion. Reasonable people disagree, though.


Predictive value in a vacuum, sure. Not really useful for any award discussion, agreed. Not sure if it's reasonable people that want to bring them to the discussion or if it's just stubborn people.
   50. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4235958)
Except that the Cy Young Award has nothing to do with "value". It has to do with who was the best pitcher, and I don't see how someone could say that a modern reliever couldn't have pitched better than a starter just because the reliever can compress everything into those innings. If you strike out half of the batters that you've faced, you deserve consideration.


When you only face 200 batters, that consideration should be short and final....He pitched great for about a month of a starters work load...Great rate stats, but not really the best pitcher. He's able to go balls to the walls for 4 batters, there is a reason why failed starters oftentimes make it as a good reliever, it's a massively easier job. I'll take Medlen's last 55 innings over what Kimbrel has done all season. Add in another 55 innings of relieving, and Kimbrel hasn't even been the most impressive pitcher on his own team. (Heck Beachy has a string of 49 innings with a 1.2 era this season also.)

Heck most of the contenders for the award could give you a split somewhere during the season where they posted 50 innings of 1.20 era. (don't care about the strikeouts, runs allowed is the stat that you are going for)
   51. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:23 PM (#4235965)
As good as Lew Burdette, Jerry Koosman or Don Drysdale were, did any of them with a Cy Young award?


1: Burdette was never really good enough to be a Cy candidate except one time... but he did finish 3rd once- which was that one time (and he finished 3rd, but he was barely top 10, he win 20, none of the really good pitchers that year in the NL won 20

2: Koosman had a 2nd and a 6th, he finished 2nd in 1976 because he went 21-10, 2.69, Seaver went 14-11, 2.59 in more innings and finished 8th

3: Drysdale won one,. so did Smoltz in 1996 when he went 24-8, he was NOT regarded as #1 (or even #2) on that particular staff
   52. OsunaSakata Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4235972)
A reliever is usually pitching in more high-leverage situations than a starter. I generally wouldn't favor a starter over a reliever for Cy Young. However, you could make an argument that a reliever has enough WPA to merit consideration against starters.
   53. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4235973)
If you strike out half of the batters that you've faced, you deserve consideration.

I don't think how you get the outs should matter. Awards aren't about raw ability, or projected performance, they're about actual performance.
   54. dr. scott Posted: September 14, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4235981)
The A's new manager is Bob Melvin. Geren got fired last year. Melvin is getting a lot of credit from the players and the media for getting the most out of the A's players this year, so I think he has a legit shot if the A's take the top wild card spot, and may be a shoe in if they overtake Texas and the Yanks take the east.
   55. cardsfanboy Posted: September 14, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4236013)
However, you could make an argument that a reliever has enough WPA to merit consideration against starters.


And it's about as good of an argument as Voting for MVP based upon "Rbi's on a pennant winning team"....the argument is there, it doesn't make it a good argument.
   56. Danny Posted: September 14, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4236019)
I don't think how you get the outs should matter. Awards aren't about raw ability, or projected performance, they're about actual performance.

Because the actual performance of fielders doesn't matter...
   57. Danny Posted: September 14, 2012 at 04:57 PM (#4236125)
Actually, it occurs to me that even Trout really skirts the boundary of being a legitimate rookie; didn't the Angels artificially manipulate his plate appearances last year to make sure he fell something like two or three PA short of qualifying for a "full season" appearance? Lame.

After initially saying he was ineligible, MLB reinterpreted the rules to distinguish between service time accrued and days spent on the active roster.
   58. vivaelpujols Posted: September 15, 2012 at 12:44 AM (#4236353)
A couple of reasons why you'd use FIP in awards dicussion. 1) FIP strips out defense. There's no reason that a pitcher should get credit for the quality of the defense behind him. 2) strips out bad luck. If a pitcher throws a slider down and away on an 0-2 count and the batter gets a home run, that's not the pitchers fault and I'm not gonna penalize him for getting incredibly unlucky. You don't have to ignore stuff like HR rate and BABIP, but I wouldn't get it as much weight as strikeouts and walks because batted ball outcomes are more a function of the batter than the pitcher.

The best answer is to weigh FIP and ERA in some manner. Not to ignore one or the other. Anyone who thinks you should only look at ERA is stubborn.
   59. bfan Posted: September 15, 2012 at 08:03 AM (#4236416)
Kris Medlin is charging down the backstretch.
   60. cardsfanboy Posted: September 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM (#4236446)


The best answer is to weigh FIP and ERA in some manner. Not to ignore one or the other. Anyone who thinks you should only look at ERA is stubborn.



I think anyone who considers Fip is stubborn. They need to come out with a better stat in which it's adjusted on the individual basis. ERA is results, even if it includes defense, it's ultimately actual things that happened on the field. Fip doesn't care about what happened on the field, it is just an educated guess of what should have happened in a theoretical universe.

2) strips out bad luck. If a pitcher throws a slider down and away on an 0-2 count and the batter gets a home run, that's not the pitchers fault and I'm not gonna penalize him for getting incredibly unlucky.


You do realize that homeruns allowed is about the only actual thing fip considers? If you meant to say that a pitcher throws an 0-2 pitch down and away and he hits a homerun with 2 men on base, he shouldn't be penalized for those men on base because of bad luck, then you are accurately reflecting Fip.
   61. vivaelpujols Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM (#4236478)
I would regress home run rate a bit as well because it's fluky and mostly out of the pitchers control. I don't know who decided that "results" were the only thing that mattered. Some result are a more a reflection of a pitchers dominance than others. It's asinine to simply look at ERA and ignore all of the specifics of how that pitcher got that ERA.
   62. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:39 AM (#4236502)
Reliever: Honestly have no idea

Fernando Rodney. .66 ERA and he's a closer (43 saves, but that's besides the point). He's got it locked.
   63. cardsfanboy Posted: September 15, 2012 at 11:44 AM (#4236508)
I would regress home run rate a bit as well because it's fluky and mostly out of the pitchers control.


First time I have ever heard that claim. If that is the case then it would make all the fip, xfip and dips data even more useless.

It's asinine to simply look at ERA and ignore all of the specifics of how that pitcher got that ERA.


Don't really disagree, as ERA is a function of the order of the hits, but given a choice between full retard(fip/xfip) and a less accurate measure, there is no contest. I will go with ERA/ERA+ all the time. Also a component era figured using actual performanced allowed is another method I can get behind.
   64. Howie Menckel Posted: September 15, 2012 at 01:14 PM (#4236564)
I think it's fun that Kimbrel whiffs batters at such a high rate, but the job of a closer is to maintain a lead. The extra ease with which Kimbrel gets 3 outs and gets a save compared to another closer who also gets 3 outs and gets a save is interesting, but in both cases their team gets the desired result - a victory, with a little help at the end from the last guy.

Seems like a law of diminishing returns after a while - once you're good enough to save almost all the games where you have a chance, you're pretty much good enough.

   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 15, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4236571)

Because the actual performance of fielders doesn't matter...


Because K's and BB's don't tell us anything about the performance of the fielders. It just shows us how many chances they had. Let's stop pretending pitchers can't effect the quality of contact.

If you want to adjust for defensive quality, use an actual measure of defense.
   66. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 15, 2012 at 07:00 PM (#4236768)

WPA is simply a meaningless stat. It doesn't even measure what it purports to measure.
   67. vivaelpujols Posted: September 16, 2012 at 04:37 AM (#4237082)
Ok let's forget about home runs for now. Just focus on the differences between FIP and ERA. FIP gives zero credit to the pitcher for outcomes on balls in play and the timing of events. ERA gives full credit for those outcomes. In reality you'd like to give the pitcher partial credit for those things because they are less in his control than the primary factors in FIP. So somewhere between 0 credit and full credit. That means you would go somewhere in between FIP and ERA (I don't care where that's your damn choice), but you wouldn't ignore one factor or the other. I still can't understand why you are making this an either or.
   68. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: September 16, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4237135)
You don't have to ignore stuff like HR rate and BABIP, but I wouldn't get it as much weight as strikeouts and walks because batted ball outcomes are more a function of the batter than the pitcher.


Just looking at walks and strikeouts is a mistake. Why should a pitcher get credit for a meatball thrown down the middle of the plate that Frenchy fouls back? Or a get-me-over fastball that Adam Dunn takes for strike one? Or a hanging curve that Mark Reynolds swings through? Or the enormous number of balls that Bill Hohn mistakenly calls strikes of strikes that Doug Eddings screws up and calls balls? That's giving way too much credit to the pitcher for outcomes that aren't truly dependent on him and him alone.

The only real way to determine the Cy Young winner is to rate each individual pitch for its effectiveness, regardless what the hitter did with it. A nastiness scale, if you will. Location, velocity, movement, etc. Score it, average it and the one with the highest average per pitch is your winner. No muss, no fuss. Though if you want to get crazy and apply a little leverage to the scale, thereby rewarding those pitchers who were at their nastiest when the game condition most dictated it, I'll listen to arguments.
   69. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 16, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4237151)
The only real way to determine the Cy Young winner is to rate each individual pitch for its effectiveness, regardless what the hitter did with it. A nastiness scale, if you will. Location, velocity, movement, etc. Score it, average it and the one with the highest average per pitch is your winner. No muss, no fuss. Though if you want to get crazy and apply a little leverage to the scale, thereby rewarding those pitchers who were at their nastiest when the game condition most dictated it, I'll listen to arguments.

When talking awards, no one cares about best "stuff". We care about performance. Projection is for the off-season. I really don't know why we'd stray beyond actual run prevention; adjusted for defense if you want.
   70. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: September 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4237165)
The only real way to determine the Cy Young winner is to rate each individual pitch for its effectiveness, regardless what the hitter did with it. A nastiness scale, if you will. Location, velocity, movement, etc. Score it, average it and the one with the highest average per pitch is your winner. No muss, no fuss.
But three nasty fastballs in a row aren't usually as effective as a selection of three individually less nasty pitches that change the hitter's eye line or screw with his timing. Pitches aren't independent events, and there's no good way to measure those interdependent effects, because they change based on the hitter, based on the pitcher, based on the situation, etc.

Outcomes with adjustments is the way to go, I think.
   71. vivaelpujols Posted: September 17, 2012 at 12:43 AM (#4237655)
Where did I say "just look at strikeouts and walks"? I said *weigh those things more than you would outcomes on batted balls* - go somewhere in between FIP and ERA. Is is really that hard for you to get?
   72. SoSH U at work Posted: September 17, 2012 at 01:38 AM (#4237667)
Wow, I didn't think anyone would see my post as a serious method to weigh Cy contenders.
   73.  Hey Gurl Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:12 AM (#4237673)
Why should a pitcher get credit for a meatball thrown down the middle of the plate that Frenchy fouls back?


Because the reason he fouled it back might be due to the setup pitch thrown before. I know you were just being cute, but it's not a good analogy.
   74. Jim Wisinski Posted: September 17, 2012 at 02:26 AM (#4237675)
Reliever: Honestly have no idea

Fernando Rodney. .66 ERA and he's a closer (43 saves, but that's besides the point). He's got it locked.


I don't think Rodney can be ruled out as a Cy Young contender. The main candidates have all faltered recently, it's possible that none of them will reach 20 wins, Sale likely won't reach 200 innings, etc. Meanwhile Rodney has been a shutdown closer, will probably throw 75 innings or more, and may have the narrative of passing Eckersley for lowest ERA in 50+ innings.

You can make all the usual arguments against relievers for the Cy Young but with the way the voters tend to look at it he has a real chance.

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