September 15, 2007

A Battle For The Cy Young? No.

This afternoon's game is being billed as a duel between the top two Cy Young Award candidates.

Which is nuts. Beckett deserves some votes -- though he has not been the top pitcher in the league. The only thing Wang -- a very good pitcher -- has going for him is his win total.

Wang and Beckett each have an 18-6 record. However, a pitcher's won-loss record is just about meaningless. A guy can allow nine runs in five innings and get a win and then allow one run in nine innings and get a loss. Much like RBIs for a batter, a W-L is dependent on too many factors out of the pitcher's control. It comes down to: does he allow runs?

In ERA, Beckett is 8th in the AL (3.27) and Wang is 14th (3.69).

Wang's ERA+ (the ratio of the league's ERA, adjusted to the pitcher's home park, to that of the pitcher) is 118. That's good, but Kelvim Escobar is 10th the AL in ERA+ and he's at 134. Beckett is 5th (140), behind Johan Santana (143), Erik Bedard (141), Brian Bannister (141) and Dan Haren (141).

Wang's 118 ERA+ is almost identical to Curt Schilling's 116. Is anyone saying Schilling deserves the Cy Young Award? I don't think so. (Sure, Rick Sutcliffe is touting Roy Halladay (119 ERA+ and 20th in ERA) as the top AL pitcher, but he has the cognitive power of a Chiclet.)

In fact, there are two pitchers on each of the other two playoff-bound clubs -- CC Sabathia (138) and Fausto Carmona (138) of Cleveland and John Lackey (135) and Escobar (134) of the Angels -- that are worthier candidates than Wang.

Back in late June, when Beckett's record was 11-1, everyone was calling him the best pitcher in baseball. Hogwash. Haren was a much better pitcher than Beckett at that time (witness his 1.91 ERA to Beckett's 3.07).

This is a great matchup, but it is in no way a Battle for the Cy Young.

19 comments:

ish said...

cognitive power of a Chiclet

That's an insult to Chiclets everywhere. Shame on you!

Woti-woti said...

Like all post-season awards, it's a 2-pronged question. Who deserves to win, and who are the writers (or mgrs/coaches in GG) going to vote for? Since the writers (and yes, media-savvy MLB still restricts voting to newspaper writers) are mostly full of shit and mgrs/coaches rely mostly on reputations, a credible alternative is needed. How about the JoS "HE Deserved It" Award?

DaaaaYankeesWin said...

I agree they aren't Cy Young candidates, but how else is Fox suppose to hype up the game any more?

Half of their audience would get lost in the details. Sometimes you just have to play pretend and go along for the ride. I said something like that yesterday at work and this one guy started going on how these two are the best pitchers in the AL, yeah-OK. Try explaining logic like this to someone who just loves to watch the game and doesn't get involved in the minutia, certainly not at the ERA+ level.

Beckett has more obvious natural overpowering "stuff" (a lot of K's), Wang has "stuff" that only Yankee fans can see and get excited about - his groundballs %.

Wang may not be a Cy Young candidate, but he has won a lot of games since he came up for the Yanks and that has a way of making people believe he's extremely valuable - almost cult like.

I know I've kind of bought into it, the Wang'er. The wins are the ultimate prize and if a pitcher gets them in bunches then sometimes you don't question the execution all too much.

Lastly, for as good as Haren has been earlier in the year, he has been as bad at the end of it. I think this year's Cy Young race will go to one of the players you mentioned. If I had to choose, I'd probably pick Sabathia.

Good game today!!!!

Let's go MFY!!!!

Good game today!!!!

mikec said...

Come on my dear writer!

Wins are not important ? So I suppose we need a pitcher with 1.55 ERA and never win any games.

For many fans and GMs out there, winning can be the most part of liking and/or hiring a pitcher.

The other pitchers that you have mentioned are great indeed but to say B and W are not serious CV contenders you are clearly out of the line !

Just go and ask who confident Boston and NY players, managers and fans feel about B and W.

Dan said...

Hopefully some day we can forget about voting and just hand the award over to the highest ERA+.

redsock said...

So I suppose we need a pitcher with 1.55 ERA and never win any games.

A 1.55 ERA? Hell fucking A yeah!

I'll take a rotation with 5 of those, pretty pls.

Shit, make them all 2.55. And they'll be pitching in every late October until
forever.

redsock said...

Assuming he's not on a team that scores 0 or 1 run every single day, a 1.55 ERA guy will get a lot of wins.

Wins are a by-product of being a good pitcher, not an accurate gauge of a good pitcher.

westcoastsox said...

(Sending this comment in case daaaayankeeswin is, in fact, John Sterling):

I grew up listening to you in Atlanta with the Braves. Your voice grated on me then, and it grates on me now.

There, been meaning to get that off my chest for years.

redsock said...

in case daaaayankeeswin is, in fact, John Sterling

Doubtful. No moronic catch phrases in the comment (except for the name ... of course).

L-girl said...

Wins are not important ?

A pitcher's wins are not important. That is correct.

A team's wins are important. Which pitcher is credited with the win is meaningless.

So I suppose we need a pitcher with 1.55 ERA and never win any games.

We need - everyone needs - pitchers with as low an ERA as possible. As low a OBA against as possible. As few walks and hits allowed as possible.

If you have that, wins will come along for the ride.

L-girl said...

Doubtful. No moronic catch phrases in the comment (except for the name ... of course).

He is, however, an infamous troll on Jere's blog, or at least he was before comment moderation. I'm not sure he's there now.

mrsnydes said...

anyone have any thoughts on bannister as rookie of the year? pedroia still gets my vote. he's having a better year and he's playing in games that matter. still, bannister is very quietly having a helluva year.
sox originally drafted him, too. late rounds in 2002, but he didn't sign.

mikec said...

"Shit, make them all 2.55. And they'll be pitching in every late October until forever."

No, because they won't be in the playoff then.

"Wins are a by-product of being a good pitcher, not an accurate gauge of a good pitcher."

I agree with the first part. The second part echoes my disagreement with what you wrote because wins still represent as one of the most important indicators for being a good pitcher (not a perfect indicator of course but which indicators are).

"A team's wins are important. Which pitcher is credited with the win is meaningless"

So I guess the pitcher and how he pitches is separable from the team as a whole. Please!

"We need - everyone needs - pitchers with as low an ERA as possible. As low a OBA against as possible. As few walks and hits allowed as possible"

I agree but winning is nevertheless a vital component in the equation. Senselessly dismissing wins in CY is like trashing a pitcher with low ERA by saying the reason you have such a low ERA is because you have great defence to save you runs and hits.

"Hopefully some day we can forget about voting and just hand the award over to the highest ERA+"

This is an interesting point because if this particular pitcher with the highest ERA can win all his 32-33 games in the season maybe he is worth the CY consideration after all

The bottom line is wins may not be an entirely accurate indicator for the CY but it should not be easily dismissed in the CY equation as this your article appears to indicate !

redsock said...

In your attempts to disagree with me, you are either failing to make much sense

So I guess the pitcher and how he pitches is separable from the team as a whole.

or are laying out scenarios that will likely never occur

if this particular pitcher with the highest ERA can win all his 32-33 games in the season maybe he is worth the CY consideration after all

I also find it odd that yet another person named Mike is disagreeing with me. What are the odds?

L-girl said...

The bottom line is wins may not be an entirely accurate indicator for the CY but it should not be easily dismissed in the CY equation as this your article appears to indicate !

The bottom line is wins are the absolute stupidest, most meaningless "indicator" for the CYA, and the establishment's insistence on clinging to them is proof of their utter ineptitude.

John Brattain said...

So I suppose we need a pitcher with 1.55 ERA and never win any games.

If such a creature exists, you can bet he's probably pitching for Toronto.

(grumble)

Best Regards

John

mrsnydes said...

poor brian bannister. he can't even get a comment on this blog...

Bartman said...

Is there some way Rick Sutcliffe can be caused to be dropped by ESPN?

Zenslinger said...

Whether or not wins should be a criterion, they are. I think if the ERA difference is negligible, a big "winner" has a better shot. I don't particularly buy Schilling's endorsement of Beckett as being the most consistent pitcher -- although he has been pretty consistent. I, too, believe that ERA is the ultimate measure of a pitcher, especially a starting pitcher. (We've certainly seen decent ERA's on relievers who have let a lot of inherited runners score -- Mike Myers a good example, cut with a 3.something ERA).

But wins are still going to count, like it or not. And with the much ballyhooed dearth of 20-game winners in recent years, if Beckett makes it to 20 or 21 wins keeping his ERA close to the other leaders, he's going to be in serious contention. Especially after today's win and Santana's loss which jacked his ERA all the way up to 3.20.

Josh's IP are a little lower than those who didn't have a DL stint. And his K's don't stack up that well. But with Sabaithia and Carmona running neck and neck, it might split the Cleveland vote and nudge more support towards Beckett, especially if he and the Sox finish strong and both have the best record in the league/MLB.

I sound like a fuckin' sports writer, I know.

Wang was never really in it, I don't think. His little funks have put him off the pace and he doesn't have the K's.