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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cy young award, spencer strider

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 10, 2023 at 05:37 PM (#6140956)

Both fWAR and bWAR have significant flaws and aren't great for choosing the CYA, in my opinion.

I think Snell leads the league in Fangraphs' RA9-WAR, which is my preferred metric, with Gallen #2. I'd have no issue with either of them winning the award. Snell also leads in bWAR and has a 2.52 ERA. I'm guessing he's the frontrunner right now despite leading the league in BB and not having a great FIP.
   2. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: September 10, 2023 at 07:16 PM (#6140962)
This is the kind of year when a reliever could swoop in and take it. But I haven't heard any reliever-for-CYY buzz this year. Maybe Josh Hader manages to nab it?

As of today I'd put Steele in front. Wins have been rightly discounted, but he's still the league leader, and leads Snell in ERA (barely, but he does pitch in Wrigley and Snell is in SD).
   3. Baldrick Posted: September 10, 2023 at 08:48 PM (#6140977)
It's wild how much IP totals have cratered. There are only like 20-25 guys in each league even qualified for the ERA title.
   4. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: September 11, 2023 at 03:36 PM (#6141033)
I think Snell leads the league in Fangraphs' RA9-WAR, which is my preferred metric, with Gallen #2.

Snell over Steele makes sense in RA9, as Steele has somehow allowed 12 unearned runs despite pitching in front of a pretty good defense in 2023.

I agree that none of the commonly available WAR systems for SP are particularly good; the pitching/defense split is just hard to get right, and all three options (bWAR, FIP WAR, RA9 WAR) take different extreme positions on how to do it. The best bet might just be to average them out.
   5. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 11, 2023 at 03:58 PM (#6141037)
As of today I'd put Steele in front. Wins have been rightly discounted, but he's still the league leader, and leads Snell in ERA (barely, but he does pitch in Wrigley and Snell is in SD).

Somehow I completely missed Steele when I was comparing the top candidates. I agree he'd probably be the winner if voting was today. Leading the league in ERA, ERA+ and Wins, and doing it with good peripherals, is pretty tough to argue with as long as there isn't someone with a lot more innings and comparable rate stats, which there isn't.

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