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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

BTF Awards - 2005 AL Cy Young Award

Baseball Think Factory’s AL Cy Young Award Winner - Johan Santana

While he did not quite reach is 2004 level, Johan Santana pieced together another fine season in 2005 and was the runaway winner of the BTF AL Cy Young Award.  He finished with 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts while anchoring the outstanding Minnesota pitching staff.  After finally entering the Twins starting rotation at the 2003 All-Star Break, Santana has been the best pitcher in baseball and an absolute joy to watch.  He has an aura on the mound.  In fact, he has a finely tuned routine in which he hops on both feet slightly, puts his head down, and walks in a circle towards third base and looping around to the back of the pitcher’s mound after each strikeout without a runner on base.  Making this walk over two hundred times a season, he has begun puffing his chest out a little bit and looks more and more like a strutting peacock.  On a team that seems to play flat and lack character, Johan’s silent confidence was a welcome break from the Twins attempts to set the record for most double plays hit into in just one season. 


2nd Place – Mark Buehrle

The man who cannot spell his name correctly, shave his face, or grow a beard without looking like a member of Kevin Federline’s family has cemented his spot as the second best left-handed pitcher in the AL Central.  Buehrle has been nothing short of outstanding since first reaching the Majors and he led the junior circuit in innings for the second straight season.  Plus, he ratcheted up his already excellent control while maintaining the 2004 improvement in his strikeout rate.  There is absolutely no reason to not expect Santana and Buehrle to continue to finish 1st and 2nd for any of the next three seasons as both have proven to be very durable.


3rd Place – Mariano Rivera

Rivera, the top reliever on the ballot, put together a surprisingly excellent season for someone who the rest of the league had finally figured out way back in April.  The lesson, of course, is that any reliever can lose a couple of games and there is no need to panic when a reliever has a god-awful 6.75 ERA after just 8 innings.  Rivera picked up quite possibly the cheapest save in baseball history at the SABR game back in August as he entered with four-run lead and two outs and threw just one pitch to finish the game. 


4th Place – Bartolo Colon

Colon reached twenty wins for the second time in his career and bounced back from a mediocre 2004 by eliminating both some walks and some homeruns.  He started thirty games for the eighth consecutive season before finally breaking down in Game Five of the ALDS.  His training routine has never been noted for its effectiveness, and his most similar pitcher according to Baseball Reference is now Jack McDowell, so some Angel fans may want to begin feeling wary. 


5th Place – John Lackey

After winning Game Seven of the 2002 World Series, John Lackey struggled for a couple of seasons before breaking out this year.  He really honed his cut fastball and spiked his strikeout rate considerably.  He is a big, tall right-hander – the type of pitcher who would look good selling jeans – and he really came into his own in 2005.  Lackey cut his homeruns allowed by nine each of the past two seasons and now is extremely stingy with the long ball.  After starting with three rough starts in April, Lackey compiled a 3.07 ERA over his final thirty starts.


6th Place (Tied) – Jon Garland

After years as a mediocre pitcher who could not live up to his hype, Jon Garland finally reached the performance in 2005 that the White Sox expected to see when traded Matt Karchner.  Garland really benefited from the White Sox fantastic middle infield defense as he induced groundball after groundball with his biting sinker.  Having watched several of his starts this season, I was struck by how similar his pitching motion is to Derek Lowe’s.  Both players rely on getting on top of their fastballs to allow the natural movement to create groundballs.  In fact, I will go out on a limb here and say that Garland will have a career from this point forward very similar to Derek Lowe’s in terms of strikeouts, walks, innings and injuries. 


6th Place (Tied) – Kevin Millwood

Score one for the owners as Kevin Millwood joined the Indians for a one-year incentive laden contract despite the presence of several teams offering “5 years, and $75 million” for his services according to his agent.  Still, Millwood and the Indians both benefited as he led the league in ERA while pitching deep into games and always managing to leave with the score tied.  The Indians removed one question mark from the rotation with Millwood’s performance while Kevin rehabilitated his injury-prone image setting him up for a bigger payday this offseason.  A few more teams will likely nibble around at him, but he was at the upper bound of his ability last season.


8th Place – Roy Halladay

Doc was running away with the award early in the season prior to breaking his left tibia in a freak accident.  He is very frugal with his pitches and can go deep into games with ease.  In fact, he led the league in complete games despite missing nearly the entire second half of the season.  A healthy season from Halladay in 2006 will go a long way towards helping the Blue Jays stake a claim in the post-Theo and post-Stottlemyre (ha) AL East.

 


RK     Player       PTS Bal   1 2 3
————————————————————————————————————————
1     Santana, Johan   91   19 17 2                          
————————————————————————————————————————
2     Buehrle, Mark   35   17     9 8                        
3     Rivera, Mariano   27   9   3 3 3                        
4     Colon, Bartolo   16   8     4 4                        
5     Lackey, John     6   2     2                          
6T     Garland, Jon     2   2       2                        
6T     Millwood, Kevin   2   2       2                        
8     Halladay, Roy     1   1       1                        
Ballots Cast: 20

WillYoung Posted: November 08, 2005 at 08:42 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. WillYoung Posted: November 08, 2005 at 08:50 PM (#1723938)
For the record, I really need an editor...
   2. Boof Bonser Tree Posted: November 08, 2005 at 08:52 PM (#1723943)
Too bad the writers didn't agree. Johan is a special pitcher and I think he will end up in the upper echelon of lefty starters by the time he is done. What he did for a Twins team that had the offensive IQ of a walnut was masterful. I would put him in the top 3 of AL MVP voting (if in truth its a measure of value and not of overall excellence) as well.

Colon had a year that really reversed a trend and I congradulate him for it but he was really the 4th or 5th best pitcher in the league.
   3. Gold Star for Robothal Posted: November 08, 2005 at 08:52 PM (#1723946)
On a team that seems to play flat and lack character, Johan’s silent confidence was a welcome break from the Twins attempts to set the record for most double plays hit into in just one season.

Somewhere in Larry Lucchino's basement Peter Gammons is shedding a tear of envy.
   4. 1k5v3L Posted: November 08, 2005 at 08:56 PM (#1723955)
Geez, good thing I don't have the BTF crew as my money managers...
   5. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: November 08, 2005 at 09:00 PM (#1723967)
Hmmm... three first-place votes for Rivera.

Let me guess, one of those is McNally? ;)
   6. WillYoung Posted: November 08, 2005 at 09:05 PM (#1723981)
Hmmm... three first-place votes for Rivera.

One of those three voters is also the person who left Santana completely off his ballot.
   7. SG Posted: November 08, 2005 at 10:20 PM (#1724170)
I voted 1) Mariano 2)Santana 3) Buehrle

I freely admit bias to the greatest reliever I'll ever see, but Mariano really had a remarkable year. His overall season numbers are impressive enought (ERA+ of 323, 2 HRs in 78.1 innings, opposing batting line of .177/.235/.230), but what sticks out in my mind was his stretch from April 9 through July 28, which was the most dominating stretch of pitching I've ever seen.

IP: 41.2 innings
H: 17
ER: 2
HR: 0
BB: 8
SO: 46

Over this stretch, batters hit about .120 against him.

Santana was great in a much bigger body of work(led the league in ERA+ and Ks), but in this instance I felt Rivera's reduced role should not be held against him. Buehrle also got credit from me for a great season (143 ERA+). I don't think how well he pitched in a notorious hitters park should be discounted.
   8. Danny Posted: November 08, 2005 at 11:03 PM (#1724294)
Santana from the 6th inning on August 6th through the 6th inning on Sep. 3:

IP: 39.1 innings
H: 17
ER: 2
HR: 1
BB: 6
SO: 41

in this instance I felt Rivera's reduced role should not be held against him

Why not?
   9. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: November 08, 2005 at 11:10 PM (#1724310)
I actually have trouble supporting someone from the White Sox when it comes to these kind of awards. I just assume that I'm biased, and I can't get past that, so if I pick a White Sox player, it's bound to be a bad decision.
   10. SG Posted: November 08, 2005 at 11:40 PM (#1724381)
Santana from the 6th inning on August 6th through the 6th inning on Sep. 3:

IP: 39.1 innings
H: 17
ER: 2
HR: 1
BB: 6
SO: 41


That's a nice stretch. Almost as good as Rivera's stretch that I mentioned above.

Why not?


Because Rivera's rate stats were so good, and because the WARP1 difference between Mo and Santana of 0.1 was close enough to let me vote for one of my favorite players.
   11. Anthony Giacalone Posted: November 09, 2005 at 01:12 AM (#1724533)
I actually have trouble supporting someone from the White Sox when it comes to these kind of awards. I just assume that I'm biased, and I can't get past that, so if I pick a White Sox player, it's bound to be a bad decision.

That's funny, JRE, I often feel the same way. Or, as Groucho Marx one quipped. "I would never belong any club that would have someone like me for member."

My ballot was:

1) Santana
2) Colon
3) Millwood

As for the Colon vote: sue me, I think that the job of pitcher is to win games. And I hate voting for a reliever for the Cy Young. Besides, depending on your metric, Rivera wasn't nearly as good as KRod this year. And he only had the 15th best leverage as a reliever this year.
   12. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 01:23 AM (#1724539)
My ballot went Rivera, Santana, Buehrle, for logical enough reasons. Someone left Santana over their ballot? Ouch
   13. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: November 09, 2005 at 01:27 AM (#1724545)
My ballot went Rivera, Santana, Buehrle, for logical enough reasons. Someone left Santana over their ballot? Ouch

And now we know who it is - it must be McNally.
   14. Eraser-X is emphatically dominating teh site!!! Posted: November 09, 2005 at 01:44 AM (#1724552)
Wow, I felt bad that I voted:
1. Neal Cotts
2. Kneel Cotts
T3. Neil Cotts
T3. Neil Allen

But now I see that it's an acceptable voting pattern on BTF.
   15. Halofan Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:00 AM (#1724683)
Colon's similarity score with Jack McDowell end right where the buffet line begins...
   16. Joey Numbaz (Scruff) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:18 AM (#1724696)
I had Santanta, Buehrle, Garland.
   17. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: November 09, 2005 at 04:26 PM (#1724944)
Santana has been unreal after the all-star break the past couple of years. 13-0, 1.20 ERA in 2004; 9-2, 1.59 ERA in 2005.
   18. mommy Posted: November 09, 2005 at 05:56 PM (#1725078)
"depending on your metric, Rivera wasn't nearly as good as KRod this year"

then you're using the wrong metric
   19. Danny Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:16 PM (#1725193)
And now we know who it is - it must be McNally.

It's interesting logic that leaves Street off of the ROY ballot and votes Rivera first for the CYA.
   20. JC in DC Posted: November 09, 2005 at 07:24 PM (#1725209)
Uh, gents, for a site and philosophy committed to bashing partisan stupidity in the "mainstream" media, perhaps you should drop the "I voted for my favorite player," "I hate voting for relievers," type stuff. Even if that's what you felt, think of how you'd hammer Gammons or anyone else for making similar claims. Remember: this is baseball for the thinking fan, after all.
   21. Anthony Giacalone Posted: November 09, 2005 at 11:28 PM (#1725650)
How about, "I hate voting for relievers because I can almost never see a case for them over at least five or six starting pitchers."

Let's look at it this way:

Could anyone picture Colon being a great reliever? Sure. Everyone could, I imagine. He'd come in throwing 96 mph and blow people away for an inning.

Now, can can anyone imagine Rivera being a great starter? Well, sure, I guess. He was a starter for his first year and stunk but I bet he would be pretty good. How good? Well, pretty good, I'd imagine.

I'm not a big believer in leverage. I just don't believe that 60 IP with your team up by two is more important that 200 IP of starting pitching. As far as my understanding of the statistics goes the most important game situation is a 0-0 tie. Starting pitchers face way more innings of that (probably around 70+ IP a year) situation than relievers do. Unless you give some sort of extra credit for "holding leads late in a game" rather than "holding them early in a game" then I cannot see the rationalization for putting a reliever high on a Cy Young ballot.

Mind you, I'm not advocating voting for Pete Vuckovich here and there are certain exceptions to my rule (relievers like Quisenberry who pitched very high innings total) but I'm certainly not voting for Bedrock.
   22. Anthony Giacalone Posted: November 09, 2005 at 11:41 PM (#1725678)
"depending on your metric, Rivera wasn't nearly as good as KRod this year"

then you're using the wrong metric


Which metric would you like me to use?

Expected wins? KRod is better.
Wins over replacement pitcher? KRod is better.
Quality of opposition? KRod is better.
Use in higher leverage situations? KRod is better.
Batting average with runners on? KRod is better.
Batting average with RISP? KRod is better.

Rivera was better than KRod at getting the first guy out in an inning. He had a better batting average against overall. He saved a 44 of 47 games instead of 45 of 50, but he appeared in "easier" save situations overall.
   23. susan mullen Posted: November 10, 2005 at 03:48 AM (#1725921)
People often misrepresent Mariano Rivera. First, he pitched 78.1 innings in
the 2005 regular season, not 60. He saved or won 6 one-run games in a
2-week span in September in a brutal pennant race (in which his team began
behind & ended up winning). He pitched 3 days in a row twice in that 2 wk.
period, and 6 out of 8 days, forced in desperate situations to make up for
blown leads by the offense or bad relief in the bullpen. This is what he's
been doing for 11 years. And, who are the Cy Young voters? Many newspapers
won't let their writers vote on awards anymore due to conflicts of inter-
est. As reported in the NY Times today, 6 of these people didn't put Rivera
on the ballot at all, including Sheldon Ocker of the Akron Beacon Journal &
Corey Brock of the Tacoma News Tribune. Ocker has a quote in the Times to the effect that Rivera was probably hurt by the fact that "he's had so many
good seasons, that, well, it's just another good season for Rivera."
This individual should never be allowed to vote again. Whatever people
or papers that are still allowed to vote are all highly suspect. Is
anyone going to complain, or will this scam be allowed to go on?
   24. sunnyday2 Posted: November 10, 2005 at 03:56 PM (#1726238)
>Batting average with runners on? KRod is better.
>Batting average with RISP? KRod is better.

>Rivera ,,,had a better batting average against overall.

What are the sample sizes for these three measures.

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