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Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw Rides Pitching Triple Crown to Award

Los Angeles Dodgers lefthander Clayton Kershaw, a Triple Crown of pitching winner with league-best totals of victories (21), earned-run average (2.28) and strikeouts (248), won the National League Cy Young Award in balloting by the BBWAA.

Kershaw, at 23 the youngest Cy Young Award winner since 20-year-old Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in 1985, was named first on 27 of the 32 ballots, cast by two writers in each NL city.

Pitcher, Team                         1st    2nd    3rd    4th    5th    Points
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers  27      3      2                   207 
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies    4     21      7                   133 
Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies              5     17      9      1      90
Ian Kennedy, Arizona Diamondbacks      1      3      6     18      3      76
Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies                          2     13      17
Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants                          1      5       7
Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee Brewers                          1      3       5
Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants                             1      1       3
John Axford, Milwaukee Brewers                                     2       2
Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves                                      2       2
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants                            1       1
Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants                               1       1
The District Attorney Posted: November 17, 2011 at 07:35 PM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: awards, dodgers

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   1. NJ in NJ Posted: November 17, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3995991)
Really surprised Kershaw won so easily and surprised no one here cares.
   2. Gold Star - just Gold Star Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#3996002)
Awesome. CYA and possible MVP on the same team. Despite the mediocrity, every game there was a player you had to watch and every fifth game there were two.
   3. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3996006)
The voting is fascinating. As #1 said the margin is shocking but beyond that the voters were almost unanimous in their Kershaw-Halladay-Lee ordering. I am surprised at the number of top three votes Kennedy got.
   4. tshipman Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#3996008)
Sort of amusing that one person voted for Ian Kennedy. I'm guessing it was a Phoenix guy and he probably voted for RJ the year RJ had like 14 wins.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3996012)
Really surprised Kershaw won so easily
It's the triple crown, right?

ERA: Kershaw 2.28, Halladay 2.35, Lee 2.40
ERA+: Halladay 164, Kershaw 163, Lee 161
IP: Halladay 233.2, Kershaw 233.1, Lee 232.2 (really!)
Wins: Kershaw 21, Halladay 19, Lee 17
Ks: Kershaw 248, Lee 238, Halladay 220
WAR: Halladay 7.4, Kershaw 7.0, Lee 6.9

It was pretty obviously a three-way tie, and the guy who had just barely more wins and Ks and a better ERA than the others got the award.

Halladay was ahead by a full win based on FIP projected runs, but I don't think there are many here who would base an angry Cy Young case on that. Maybe they'll show up? Otherwise, I know I thought Kershaw was a shoo-in based on the triple crown, and I'm guessing most other folks did too. He's just as deserving as Halladay and Lee.

RAGE!!!! topics:
1) Halladay had the best FIP and DIPS and fWAR!! The writers are idiots!!
2) Someone voted Ian Kennedy first!! That writer is an idiot!
   6. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3996013)
Four different Giants starters got votes, none higher than fourth place. I wonder why anyone voted for Madison Bumgarner, who was clearly no better than the third-best member of his own starting rotation.
   7. The District Attorney Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3996014)
As the Triple Crown winner, Kershaw was gonna win. There are cases to be made for Halladay and even Lee once you consider stadia, strength of competition, etc., but I don't think the writers are going to go that deep when both wins and ERA (never mind strikeouts too) point to the same guy.

If you want backup, Neyer sez he is "not at all convinced" that Kershaw was better. He analogizes to 2007, when Triple Crown winner Jake Peavy beat Brandon Webb. (Peavy won unanimously, in fact.)

EDIT: OK Colas as required.
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:09 PM (#3996017)
The voting is fascinating. As #1 said the margin is shocking.


I don't know what's shocking about the margin. They were basically dead even except one guy won the pitching triple crown, which seems a perfectly reasonable scale-tipping event.
   9. The Artist Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#3996019)
Halladay was better, and didn't get the chance to beat up on the Giants lineup, against whom your average softball team would throw a shutout. Still, good for Kershaw - great pitcher.
   10. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:17 PM (#3996025)
I wonder why anyone voted for Madison Bumgarner, who was clearly no better than the third-best member of his own starting rotation.
Probably a FIP/DIPS vote. Bumgarner's component numbers this year were excellent, and he was 4th in the NL in Fangraphs WAR. He wasn't as good at preventing actual runs, due to .322 BABIP (he was 4th worst in the league in BABIP), but the rest of the package was top-notch.

I think it's a pretty good bet that Bumgarner will be an excellent pitcher next year. Whether he was excellent last year depends on your interpretation of what data we have - I'd vote no.
   11. Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3996031)
Probably a FIP/DIPS vote.
I would be stunned if FIP/DIPS played a significant factor in any votor's thinking.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3996032)
Halladay was better, and didn't get the chance to beat up on the Giants lineup, against whom your average softball team would throw a shutout.
BPro tracks pitcher quality of opponents, and it shows no meaningful difference between Halladay and Kershaw. Lee might have a wee bit of a case here, 12 points of OPS is not un-substantial.

327/416 - Kershaw
330/413 - Halladay
332/423 - Lee
   13. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:25 PM (#3996034)
I would be stunned if FIP/DIPS played a significant factor in any votor's thinking.
I believe that both Keith Law and Will Carroll have Cy Young votes.

In 2009 Law voted Vazquez 2nd precisely because of his FIP superiority. I'm assuming that's what happened here, again.
   14. SoSH U at work Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#3996039)
I believe that both Keith Law and Will Carroll have Cy Young votes.


They had Cy Young votes in 2009. But no one has a vote in these things for more than one year at a time.
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:32 PM (#3996043)
I wonder why anyone voted for Madison Bumgarner, who was clearly no better than the third-best member of his own starting rotation.


Well Hamels was only third best on his team too and he finished higher than any Giants pitcher.
   16. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#3996045)
In 2009 Law voted Vazquez 2nd precisely because of his FIP superiority. I'm assuming that's what happened here, again.

Law posted his ballot rationale (his went Halladay, Lee, Kershaw). It's an insider article so I'll just post a snippet.

Once we move to advanced stats, the separation becomes even clearer. FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement, which normalizes batting averages on balls in play, has Halladay well ahead of anyone else in the NL at 8.2 WAR, nearly a win and a half ahead of Kershaw and Lee, who are separated by just 0.1 (effectively tied). The idea behind such stats, and the reason I like to use them when evaluating pitchers for the purposes of voting on the Cy Young Award, is that they strip out the aspects of pitching over which the pitcher has either no or limited control, events like his defense making or not making plays behind him and the bullpen stranding runners he leaves on base or allowing them to score. Halladay also led the NL in Baseball-Reference's version of WAR, which doesn't adjust for batting average on balls in play; his lead over Kershaw there was 0.4, with Lee once again 0.1 behind the Dodgers lefty.


He then mentions that advanced metrics do not perfectly credit the pitcher and defense for run prevention, but they're better than traditional stats.
   17. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#3996046)
They had Cy Young votes in 2009. But no one has a vote in these things for more than one year at a time.
Ah, I tried to look up the structure and failed and gave up. I guess I can say that there are potential Cy voters out there who use FIP/DIPS. My guess was this was one of them, but we'll see if someone takes credit for the vote.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3996051)
I guess I can say that there are potential Cy voters out there who use FIP/DIPS.


Based on what some of the voters were saying in advance of last year's AL Cy vote, I'm sure there are guys outside the usual suspects who are at least looking at that stuff.
   19. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:40 PM (#3996053)

Well Hamels was only third best on his team too and he finished higher than any Giants pitcher.


Ten starting pitchers got votes; seven of them were from two teams. That's crazy, isn't it?
   20. Davo Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#3996057)
Halladay: 233.2 innings, 65 runs allowed
Kershaw: 233.1 innings, 66 runs allowed
Cliff Lee: 232.2 innings, 66 runs allowed

That's pretty cool, right there.
   21. tshipman Posted: November 17, 2011 at 09:46 PM (#3996059)
Ten starting pitchers got votes; seven of them were from two teams. That's crazy, isn't it?


Yes in the sense that it's rare for two teams to have such a high concentration of the league's ace pitchers, no in the sense that it really happened.
   22. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM (#3996073)
Who knew Ryan Vogelsong's mom was a sportswriter?
   23. Davo Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3996079)
Meh. By BBRef WAR, he was the 12th best pitcher in the league--tied with guys like Chris Carpenter and Tim Hudson. So it's not like he stunk. And he had a cool story. And it was just a single 5th place vote.
   24. PerroX Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#3996080)
Kershaw pitched for a worse team and garnered more wins. Doesn't mean as much as the triple crown, and wins are a secondary stat, but 20+ wins had to factor a little in the voting.
   25. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 17, 2011 at 10:15 PM (#3996082)
I noticed that 3 Phillies finished in the top 5, and I wondered if that had ever happened before--turns out, it's not terribly uncommon:

1970 O's
1990 A's
1998 Braves
1999 Astros

(relievers were involved in 90 and 99)

(also, the 86 Mets had 4 in the top 8--all starters)
   26. spivey Posted: November 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM (#3996133)
I don't know that it's fair to normalize for hits allowed, as fWAR does, when you're dealing with Kershaw. He's had 3 full seasons. In 2 of them, he's lead the league in H/IP, and in the other year he was 4th. He has extremely good stuff - I don't think this is some fluke. It's not like he has some great defense out there behind him either.
   27. The District Attorney Posted: November 17, 2011 at 11:59 PM (#3996140)
Neyer's rhetoric gets stronger, as he describes the four Halladay 1st-place voters as "my heroes."
Those votes "were cast by Ken Davidoff of Newsday (N.Y.), Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle, Keith Law of ESPN and Scott Miller of CBS Sports." ...

Meanwhile, the lone first-place vote for Ian Kennedy was cast by San Diego-area writer John Maffei.
   28. Sweatpants Posted: November 18, 2011 at 12:06 AM (#3996142)
Ten starting pitchers got votes; seven of them were from two teams. That's crazy, isn't it?
Yeah, it is. 1995 had five pitchers among three teams receive votes (Maddux/Glavine, Nomo/Ramon Martinez, and Pete Schourek), but seven out of ten feels even less likely because you have to go down to third and fourth starters.
   29. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 18, 2011 at 12:30 AM (#3996161)
Hooray for Sandy Jr
   30. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: November 18, 2011 at 12:48 AM (#3996169)
There's a lot of turnover in these awards votes. The only people who got any Cy Young votes both last year and this year are Sabathia, Weaver, Verlander, Halladay, Lee, Lincecum and Cain.

Last year's #1, #2, and #4 in the AL (Felix Hernandez, David Price, Jon Lester) didn't get a single vote this year despite each starting more than 30 games with an ERA between 3.47 and 3.49.

Last year's #1 in the NL was Halladay, but the next eight guys were shut out this year.
   31. MM1f Posted: November 18, 2011 at 01:13 AM (#3996181)
Who knew Ryan Vogelsong's mom was a sportswriter?
   23. La DaVolce Strade  Posted: November 17, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3996079)
Meh. By BBRef WAR, he was the 12th best pitcher in the league--tied with guys like Chris Carpenter and Tim Hudson. So it's not like he stunk. And he had a cool story. And it was just a single 5th place vote.


Agreed.
He was 4th in the league in ERA. That justifies a throwaway 5th place Cy vote I think.
   32. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: November 18, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#3996189)
Pretty strong consensus ballot, not only because of Kershaw's margin of victory. Most everyone saw it:

Kershaw
Halladay
Lee
Kennedy
Hamels

Seems unusual to me, but someone will undoubtedly correct me if I'm wrong.
   33. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:26 AM (#3996210)
Ten starting pitchers got votes; seven of them were from two teams. That's crazy, isn't it?


The three Phillies? No. The 4 Giants? Yes. I'd like to see the ballots of the guys who voted for Cain or Bumgarner.

The top 3 guys were on every ballot, so the guys who voted for Cain or Bumgarner left off either Hamels or Kennedy (or both).
   34. Meatwad Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:29 AM (#3996213)
Nothing wrong with giving him a fifth place vote, he wasnt even in mlb last year and had a pretty good season
   35. Jack Sommers Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:46 AM (#3996214)
Halladay got slightly better run support, (BB-ref style, per 27 outs) 4.65 vs. 4.44

Halladay was a little more consistent. He had only 2 games where he allowed 5 runs or more, and 3 games allowing 4 runs, whereas Kershaw had 4 games allowing 5 runs or more, and 4 games allowing 4 runs.

In other words, 4 runs or more Halladay 5 games, Kershaw 9 games.

The flip side of that of course is Kershaw had more dominant games, 17 times allowing 1 or 0 runs, while Hallday had 13 such games.


Halladay induced a higher percentage of ground balls than Kershaw did, so that partly explains the higher BABIP of course, but for all the extra ground balls, Halladay only got one more GBDP than Kershaw. Halladay's GBD % was only 8% this year, (5 points below his career avg and 3 points below lg. avg), while Kerhshaw's was 10%. Halladay's infield defense didn't help him this year.

At the end of the day, if you have to look THIS close and can't distinguish, than it's like the umps call at first base where you look at the replay 5 times to try to figure out if he got it right or not. If you have to look at that many replays, than the ump made the right call, regardless.
   36. Tripon Posted: November 18, 2011 at 05:46 AM (#3996289)
San Francisco Giants 2011 Batting as a team: 89 OPS+
Washington Nationals 2011 Batting as a team: 89 OPS+

Claiming that Kershaw got an advantage pitching against the Giants simply discounts on how godawful the Nats were offensively this year and the advantage the Phillies pitchers got this year.
   37. T.J. Posted: November 18, 2011 at 01:46 PM (#3996368)
I wonder why anyone voted for Madison Bumgarner, who was clearly no better than the third-best member of his own starting rotation.


Neyer disagrees with you: "Is there any good reason for Lincecum to show up on six Cy Young ballots, compared to two for Cain and one for Bumgarner? Not that I can see."
   38. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 18, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3996374)
Ten starting pitchers got votes; seven of them were from two teams. That's crazy, isn't it?
What I think is crazy is that of the guys from the second team, these were their won-loss records:

13-14 (1 4th, 5 5ths)
12-11 (1 4th, 1 5th)
13-13 (1 5th)
13-7 (1 5th)
   39. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3996392)
Neyer disagrees with you: "Is there any good reason for Lincecum to show up on six Cy Young ballots, compared to two for Cain and one for Bumgarner? Not that I can see."


Lincecum threw 12.1 more innings than Bumgarner and allowed eight fewer runs. You can argue that there are other reasons to favor Bumgarner, but it's pretty disingenuous to say that's not a good reason to vote for Lincecum.
   40. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3996398)
Sort of amusing that one person voted for Ian Kennedy. I'm guessing it was a Phoenix guy and he probably voted for RJ the year RJ had like 14 wins.


I guess you're referring to 2004, when Johnson was 16-14 and finished second in the Cy Young voting to Clemens, although Johnson had a 0.900 WHIP, led the league in strikeouts, pitched 30 more innings than Clemens, and had a 178 ERA+ to Clemens' 146.
   41. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 18, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3996418)
You can argue that there are other reasons to favor Bumgarner, but it's pretty disingenuous to say that's not a good reason to vote for Lincecum.


If you're unbalanced enough to bestow "hero" status on the guys who vote for Roy Halladay over Clayton Kershaw, then it's probably not disingenuous at all.

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