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Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Baseball Primer’s 2001 National League Cy Young Award

Our picks.

Among the Baseball Primer staff, the identity of the best pitcher in the
National League was not really in question:

Pitcher

Pts

1st

Ballots

Johnson, R

54

10.5

11

Schilling, C

34

0.5

11

Maddux, G

7

0

7

Kile, D

2

0

2

Morris, M

2

0

2

The BBWAA voters also made Johnson was an easy winner, with Schilling picking
up most of the votes Johnson didn?t, and a couple of different third-place
votes:

Pitcher

1st

2nd

3rd

Total

R. Johnson

30

2

156

C. Schilling

2

29

1

98

M. Morris

1

28

31

J. Lieber

2

2

R. Oswalt

1

1

I?m surprised that no one in our poll thought to cast a vote for Oswalt, who
was 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA in one of the better hitters? ballparks around. I
suppose his late-season injury and the fact that he didn?t pitch enough innings
to qualify for the ERA title worked against him. I don?t see any strong
indicators of good fortune in his base pitching numbers ? his rate of hits
allowed per ball in play was exactly the club rate, and he had excellent
strikeout and K/BB rates. I?m usually a bit reluctant to rate young pitchers in
hitters? environments highly, because they usually have to throw more pitches to
get through. However, I think Oswalt will be an exception, and a good pitcher
for many years if he stays healthy.

There?s not much else I can write here in the way of analysis, because this
choice was about as obvious as it gets. Johnson and Schilling were helped by
their defense, one of the best in the NL, but so were all of the other top
candidates, and to a much larger degree since none allowed as few balls in play
as the Snakes? big two. It would have been an interesting choice between Maddux,
Burkett, Kile, Morris, and possibly Russ Ortiz had Arizona been in the AL (which
may happen if MLB contracts ? yeah, right).

Johnson is now 200-101 in his major league career, needing 100 more wins to
get to 300. He just turned 38. Realistically, the Unit will have to pitch at
least six more years to get to 300 wins, more likely seven.

Five pitchers in history ? Phil Niekro, Jack Quinn, Warren Spahn, Cy Young,
and Charlie Hough ? have won 100 major league games from their age 38 season on;
all required at least seven years to do it. Johnson?s showing no signs of losing
anything, like Nolan Ryan (who won 93 games after turning 38, and who was still
an effective pitcher through age 45). However, there is one note of caution to
be raised: Johnson has also thrown 770 innings over the last three years. The
most recent pitcher with a comparable workload from ages 35-37 was Steve
Carlton, and Carlton had only two more effective seasons before vanishing into
the nomadic phase of his career. If I had to make a guess right now, I?d guess
that the workload will catch up to the Unit before he can get to 300
wins.

 

Mike Emeigh Posted: November 21, 2001 at 06:00 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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