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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Paul: Detroit-based writer defends vote of David Price over Justin Verlander

Morosic is at it again!

But the other, Fox Sports’ Jon Paul Morosi, after long deliberation, decided to go with Price.

And for that, he caught flak on Twitter after the announcement Wednesday night.

Morosi understands that, but wants fans to know he didn’t make his decision lightly. In fact, he cast his vote only after gauging the opinions of those who know the game best, the players and coaches.

In the end, for Morosi, it came down to this: Price’s performance was a tick more impressive than Verlander’s because he did it in the American League East, where the opposing offenses are superior and the ballparks are, on a whole, hitter-friendly.

“This was a very, very tough decision,” Morosi told me Wednesday night, while making a lengthy, spirited and convincing case for his final vote. “There’s just something different about that division.”

...In that regard, Morosi conceded, “sheer numbers” tend to favor Verlander — the Detroit right-hander also was 6-1 against teams that made the postseason, by the way — but he said the writers are charged with finding “context” in a player’s season. It’s why awards aren’t just handed out based on statistical achievements. (Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young after going 13-12 in 2010.)

“At the end of the day, numbers are important,” Morosi said. But he prefers to look “big picture.”

Repoz Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:01 PM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, tigers

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:25 PM (#4303418)
Maybe the AL central featured awful lineups, but the AL East certainly did not feature spectacular lineups this year.
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:27 PM (#4303422)
Price’s performance was a tick more impressive than Verlander’s because he did it in the American League East, where the opposing offenses are superior and the ballparks are, on a whole, hitter-friendly.

Well Detroit's defense was pretty hitter friendly too. Verlander made two more starts and pitched 27 more innings. Fail.

The 'there's something magical about the AL East' stuff is just vomit worthy.
   3. SoSH U at work Posted: November 15, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4303426)
The 'there's something magical about the AL East' stuff is just vomit worthy.


True, but in this context, it's somewhat accurate. While not magical, the AL East is still superior to the offensive dregs that comprise Verlander's AL Central foes.

   4. Jorge Luis Bourjos (Walewander) Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4303455)

Is it really? According to BBRef's 2012 AL OPS+ by team, the Central (minus Detroit) was at least as tough, if not tougher, for pitchers than the AL East (minus Tampa Bay) was:

Yankees: 2nd
Orioles: 8th
Boston: 12th
Toronto: 13th

Cleveland: 5th
Minnesota: 7th
Chicago: 9th
KC: 10th

Doesn't look like much of a difference to me.

   5. SG Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4303468)
OPS+ doesn't account for strength of league or division. So in theory if the AL Central pitching stinks the offenses would have higher OPS+ relative to league than they should have on a talent basis.

I have no idea if this is actually true, but just want to caution against using straight OPS+ as a basis for comparison. It's the same reason you shouldn't compare OPS+/ERA+ between the AL and NL, unless you think the leagues are of equal strength which they haven't been for quite some time.

Then again, moving the Astros to the AL should cancel out that difference.
   6. JJ1986 Posted: November 15, 2012 at 03:30 PM (#4303470)
Now Cleveland is a huge pitcher's park too? I can't keep up.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4303562)
Pitcher ERA+/IP/Team AL Def Efficiency Rank
Verlander 160/238/13th
Price 149/211/4th

Adjust that!
   8. JL Posted: November 15, 2012 at 04:49 PM (#4303578)
OPS+ doesn't account for strength of league or division. So in theory if the AL Central pitching stinks the offenses would have higher OPS+ relative to league than they should have on a talent basis.

I have no idea if this is actually true, but just want to caution against using straight OPS+ as a basis for comparison. It's the same reason you shouldn't compare OPS+/ERA+ between the AL and NL, unless you think the leagues are of equal strength which they haven't been for quite some time.


While that might be true, it is more better than merely asserting that the AL East is better. Unfortunately, it does not look like anyone, particularly Morosi, did much of anything to confirm or deny that little tidbit.

All that said, while I would have voted Verlander in front of Price, I will lose absolutely no sleep over it. Price is very deserving.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4303613)
I'm not gonna jump on the guy. It's a close call and was gonna be a close vote. That a Detroit writer had the guts to bump "his" guy down to #2, even if not quite justified, is better than the morons who vote their local guys cuz they're the local guys.

For what it's worth, Price was 10-2 with an ERA of 2.50 against the ALE. That's basically what he did against everybody else too. Impressively, 19 of his 31 starts were against 500+ teams against whom he went 13-3 with a 2.27 ERA with a line of 211/271/313. He mainly got whacked around in interleague games (4.15 ERA), the only AL team he pitched poorly against was the Rangers. He went 4-0 with a 2.68 ERA in Sept. If you like "clutch" pitching, it's an impressive season.

Verlander went 6-2 vs. the ALC with an ERA of 2.54 (so 11-6 with an ERA around 2.70 against everybody else). He went 8-4 with a 2.66 ERA in 16 (of 33) starts against 500+ teams with a 220/280/362 line. His line was much better vs. the <500 but he had the same results in terms of W-L and ERA. In contrast to Price, he dominated in interleague -- 4-0, 39 IP, 1.62 ERA. He pitched poorly against the Royals, Angels, Ms and Rays (not a lot of starts obviously). He did go 5-1 with a 1.93 ERA in Sept.

I would have voted Verlander -- he was at least as good in more innings -- but Price's performance against 500+ teams was impressive and he had such a high percentage of starts against winning teams.



   10. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 15, 2012 at 05:23 PM (#4303623)
Anyone who watched the postseason would think the AL East had the worst offenses of any division in baseball.
   11. Ron J2 Posted: November 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM (#4303700)
#4 I looked at the OPS+ of the actual teams faced (and gave a minor penalty to games played in NL parks)

The OPS+ of Price's opposition is almost precisely 1 point higher than that of Verlander's.

This of course does not take into acount the strength of the actual lineups. For instance Price faced the Red Sox twice when they were fielding basically a AAA team and twice when they were more or less full strength. Overall probably an actual OPS+ of less than 94, but close enough.

WAR does attempt to adjust for the strength of the opposition, defensive support and actual mix of parks. They estimate an average pitcher would have an RA of 4.46 in Price's context and 4.93 in Verlander's. Much of the difference being defensive support. (which doesn't seem remotely improbable to me)

   12. Chokeland Bill Posted: November 15, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4303712)
For what it's worth, Verlander gave up several more unearned runs. Price's lead in ERA was only 0.08 but his lead in RA was 0.37.

Verlander probably still should have won.
   13. shoewizard Posted: November 15, 2012 at 07:41 PM (#4303749)
Per BP's quality of opponnents OPS, price faced lineups with .763 OPS, Verlander .758

The Yankees also had the best sOPS+ vs. Left Handed Starters in the AL, and it wasn't very close, despite getting their asses kicked by Price a few times. And the 3rd toughest lineups vs. Left Handed Starters was Boston.....Baltimore was 7th. Only Toronto was below avg among TB's AL East opponnents against left handed starters.

Vs Left Handed Starters

BP Report

There are some legs to Morosi's arguement. However Verlander did have a lower ERA- and FIP- than Price, so ballpark context favors Verlander. That part of his argument is incorrect.

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