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Cy Young Award Newsbeat

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Is the AL Cy Young Race Cole’s or Too Close To Call?

According to our new Cy Young projection system, Cole is running away with the award. Per ZiPS’ forecasting, his lead in traditional Cy Young Points (CYP) over second-place Luis Castillo is the same as the gap between Castillo and seventh-place Zach Eflin. FIP-based CYP still has Cole in the lead, mostly due to his league-leading innings total, but there, he’s only narrowly ahead of Kevin Gausman. Gausman’s season feels quite similar to his 2022, when he earned just a single fifth-place vote despite leading the league in FIP thanks to elite strikeout and walk numbers.

This year, Gausman is also underperforming his league-leading FIP with uninspiring contact quality numbers. In many ways, his profile is a poor man’s Strider: better walk and homer numbers, but miles behind in whiffs and strikeouts. He also allows hard contact at a rate that makes Cole look like Tom Glavine. And while he’s limited the long ball effectively, hitters have squared up his pitches to the tune of an 18th-percentile barrel rate and .411 xwOBAcon, 40 points worse than league average. A possible cause of this is pitch mix diversity; Gausman lacks a consistent third offering besides his fastball and splitter. Hitters who correctly guess on the split can ambush it despite its elite movement; per Statcast, its run value per 100 has been cut by a factor of five compared to just two seasons ago.

Two other names that appear high on the FIP-based CYP leaderboard are Twins co-aces Sonny Gray and Pablo López. Gray is the only AL pitcher with both an ERA and FIP below 3.00. But while most star pitchers dominate with some combination of stuff and command, he hasn’t demonstrated great numbers in either. His K%+ sits at just 104, the lowest of anyone sniffing award contention besides George Kirby, who’s on pace for the 10th lowest BB/9 of any starter since integration. Gray, on the other hand, has issued just 8% fewer walks than the average pitcher.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2023 at 11:10 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, gerrit cole

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The NL Cy Young Race Is Still Wide Open

Strider’s 3.83 ERA would be the highest of any Cy Young honoree, ahead of 1983 AL winner LaMarr Hoyt (3.66), 2001 AL winner Roger Clemens (3.51), and 2005 AL winner Bartolo Colon (3.48), all of whom finished first thanks in large part to having notched 20 or more wins. Adjusted for ballpark and league scoring levels, Clemens’ 80 ERA- and Colon’s 82 ERA- are both substantially better than Strider’s 86, which is at least better than Hoyt’s 88, as well as the 87 of 1982 AL winner Pete Vuckovich (on a 3.34 ERA). Still, that ERA is the biggest impediment to voting for Strider, whose 6.28 runs per game of offensive support has helped push his won-loss record to 16–5 nonetheless.

If not Strider, then who? One could point to Wheeler, who leads in fWAR (5.7, a full win ahead of the second-ranked Snider) and is second in FIP (2.93), xERA (3.13), and K-BB% (23.1%); or Snell, who leads in ERA (2.50) and bWAR (4.6) and is second in both strikeouts and strikeout rate (31.1%). Steele is second in ERA (2.55), third in FIP (2.98) and fWAR (4.3), and fourth in bWAR (4.1); thanks to his 6.39 runs per game of offensive support, he has an even gaudier won-loss record than Strider at 16–3.

While there are other NL starters having fine seasons, such as Gallen and Kodai Senga, I don’t see any statistic or combination of stats that elevates them into that quartet. Senga’s 3.08 ERA is the league’s third-lowest, and his 29.3% strikeout rate the fourth-highest, but he also has just 143.1 innings, 26.2 fewer than Wheeler (the leader of that quartet, and third overall) and 8.2 fewer than Steele (the low man of the group).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 10, 2023 at 01:09 PM | 5 comment(s)
  Beats: cy young award, spencer strider



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