Posts Tagged ‘Cy Young Award’

2012 Awards: Cy Young

November 2, 2012

The Cy Young Award Namesake in 1891

And finally, the Cy Young Awards for 2012. Again who I think will win and who I think should win.

NL–My guess is that R.A. Dickey will win this award. He has excellent, but not overpowering, numbers and is a great story. The great story isn’t supposed to count for Cy Young voting, but you know it will. He led the NL in inning pitched, strikeouts, shutouts, and complete games. He was in the top two or three in a number of other stats. All that is probably good enough to pick up the award. But of course there are other contenders. Gio Gonzalez led the league in wins, but was frequently seen as the number two pitcher behind Strasburg. Clayton Kershaw led in ERA and WHIP. Matt Cain was the ace whose team actually won something. Johnny Cueto led in ERA+ and in games started. All of them are contenders, but no one dominated the NL this season. I think that puts Dickey in the driver’s seat. Oh, and Craig Kimbrel the reliever? The key stat, like it or not, for relievers is the save. Kimbrel finished tied with Jason Motte of St. Louis with 42. You can’t win the Cy Young as a reliever and be tied with someone else in saves.

I really have no particular preference in this race, although as a Dodgers fan I like Kershaw. I don’t think he did well enough to repeat. So my vote would reluctantly go to Dickey.

AL–This award seems to be a three man race between Justin Verlander, David Price, Jered Weaver (with an occasional mention of Matt Harrison at Texas). Verlander led the AL in strikeouts, ERA+, and complete games while finishing second WHIP and ERA. Price led the AL in ERA, wins, and winning percentage while finishing second in ERA+. Weaver tied Price for most wins and winning percentage, then led the AL in WHIP. He was also third in ERA. All that means that no one of the three was utterly dominant (no Randy Johnson in this bunch) but that all did well. My personal choice is for a Verlander repeat, but he had the least wins of the group. That could give either of the others a way to slip in over Verlander. Ultimately, I think Verlander, the only one whose team made the playoffs, will take home his second Cy Young Award.

This concludes my take on the 2012 postseason awards. The winners will be revealed 12-15 November and we’ll see how I do. If I do well then expect me to spend at least one post lording it over the riff raff. If I do poorly, “What awards?”.

Picking the Winners, 2010 Style

November 24, 2010

Now all the postseason awards are handed out and there’s cheering in some circles and weeping in others. In some previous posts, I stated my position on the various individual awards. How did I do?

I looked at the awards in two ways. The managers I told you who I thought should win. With the other three awards (Rookie, Cy Young, MVP) I told you who I thought would win. Here are the results, managers first.

I said I would vote for Bud Black and for Terry Francona. I also stated that Francona had no shot at winning, but that I felt he’d done the best job trying to win with what was essentially an ER ward. I did note that Ron Gardenhire was a legitimate candidate to win, but that I personally chose Francona. So I went one for two, getting Black right. That’s better than I normally do. Usually I get the managers all wrong unless someone comes out of left field to win a pennant or something. So I can pat myself on the back, at least a little.

On the player awards I went 5 of 6, which is a lot better than I usually do. Maybe this trying to figure out what the writer’s are going to do is easier than picking the people myself. I got both MVPs, both Rookies, and the NL Cy Young winners. I missed, as I stated in my last post, the AL Cy Young winner. I underestimated the amount of credence the writers would give to the new sabrmetric stats that favored Felix Hernandez for the award. So I guess I had a reasonably successful time picking postseason awards in 2010.

Does it mean anything? Well, my picking doesn’t, but the writer’s picks might or might not (how’s that for being definite?). If you look down the lists of Rookies of the Year and MVPs and Cy Young Award winners you get a mixed bag. In rookie voting you get Cal Ripken and Ron Kittle in back-to-back years (BTW Ripken is the last ROY winner to make the Hall of Fame). Not all of the ROY winners go on to great careers. Sticking with Ripken, he wins the MVP in 1983 and is followed by Willie Hernandez. Not exactly the same quality player, right? The Cy Young gives us Sandy Koufax and Dean Chance in back-to-back seasons. Again, very different quality players. My point is simply that winning one of these awards is no guarantee of long term greatness. So we need to be careful about how much weight we put on these awards.

Having said that, congratulations to all the winners. I hope they go on to great and illustrious careers. Now if the Dodgers could just pick up one or two of these guys…

Picking a Winner

November 22, 2010

Juan Marichal

I’m frankly stunned that Felix Hernandez won the AL Cy Young Award. I guess I’ll have to chalk it up to not believing that the Baseball Writer’s Association had embraced the new statistics. It seems that the last couple of Cy Young votes in both leagues (Roy Halladay excluded) are evidence that the sabrmetric stats are beginning to overtake the more traditional stats.That’s neither a totally good thing nor a totally bad thing. Just because the stats are new (or old) doesn’t make them better. It also doesn’t mean that previous results were wrong. Take Juan Marichal as an example.

I’ve heard people say that Marichal is the best pitcher to never win a Cy Young Award. Actually Walter Johnson (or Cy Young) is. What they mean is that since the award was established, Marichal is the most overlooked. Well, maybe. There have been a number of truly fine pitchers that haven’t won the award, but I won’t argue against Marichal. But by using the traditional stats, is he really particularly overlooked? The heart of Marichal’s career is 1963-1969 with a nod toward 1971. I’ve heard it said that for the entire period Marichal had better numbers than any of the pitchers who won. So what? The Cy Young Award is for yearly, not career, excellence. You want career excellence? Look to the Hall of Fame. If you look at his yearly stats compared to the Cy Young Award winners the conclusion is at best mixed, and at worst you have to conclude Marichal wasn’t rooked. Here’s the stats for the Cy Young Award winners in 1963 through 1971 (with 1967 and 1970 left off because Marichal had down years those two seasons). The stats used are wins/winning percentage/ ERA/ strikeouts/shutouts. Remember from 1963 through 1966 there is only one award, so for Marichal to win he must be the consensus best pitcher in all of Major League Baseball to win. From 1967 through 1971 there are two awards, one for each league, so Marichal has to be only the consensus National League pitcher. Also remember that in 1964 the AL pitcher won, so the numbers don’t exactly compare. All other years the winner involved is an NL pitcher. Marichal’s corresponding stats follow each year’s winner.

1963: 25/833/188/306/11 (Koufax), Marichal: 25/758/241/248/5

1964: 20/690/165/207/11 (Chance), Marichal: 21/724/248/206/4

1965: 26/765/204/382/8 (Koufax), Marichal: 22/629/213/240/10

1966: 27/750/173/317/5 (Koufax), Marichal: 25/806/223/222/4

1968: 22/710/112/268/13 (Gibson), Marichal: 26/743/243/218/5

1969: 25/781/22/208/5 (Seaver), Marichal: 21/656/210/205/8

1971: 24/649/277/253/5 (Jenkins), Marichal: 18/621/294/159/4

So Marichal doesn’t win any of those. Who do you like? Maybe Marichal, maybe the other guy, but in each case you can argue that Marichal did or didn’t get jobbed. The closest, to me, is 1964.

Now remember that between 1963 and 1971 the statistics revolution hadn’t occurred. We didn’t have Whip or ERA+ or War or most of the other stats (even Saves was just being floated) so you cannot use those to argue the voters got it wrong, because those stats didn’t exist. Now that they do, we can see a drift away from the traditional stats that is probably good for the game,  but let’s not retroactively push them back into other eras and argue that they should have been used to come up with different results.

For those interested, I ran the Whip and ERA+ stats for Marichal and the Cy Young Award winner for the years above and list them below Whip/ERA+ with the winner first.

1963: 0.875/159 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.996/133

1964: 1.006/198 (Chance), Marichal: 1.089/144

1965: 0.855/160 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.914/169

1966: 0.985/190 (Koufax), Marichal: 0.859/167

1968: 0.853/258 (Gibson), Marichal: 1.047/123

1969: 1.039/165 (Seaver), Marichal: 0.994/168

1971: 1.049/142 (Jenkins), Marichal: 1.075, 117 

Do those numbers make you think the award went the wrong place? If they do, remember they weren’t around in Juan Marichal’s great years.

Picking the Winners: Cy Young

November 1, 2010

Barring a rain out, the World Series ends this week and baseball goes from games to votes. I guess that’s appropriate as election day is tomorrow. So in the spirit of those two events, I thought I’d weigh in on who I think will win this season’s baseball awards.

First, a couple of comments. I’m really bad at this. Mostly I get them wrong, but I’m trying to figure out who a bunch of writers are going to pick. Which is the second point. As a rule the writers don’t have a clue about this kind of thing, so it’s difficult to second guess them. I’m doing the Cy Young first so I’ve got to figure out who the writers will pick based on a handful of observations and a lot of looking at the papers (or internet). One thing I’ve noticed about these guys (and almost all are guys–I suppose there’s a gal in there somewhere) is that they seem to have no concept of the new sabermetric stats. They think WAR is what’s going on in Afghanistan and that WHIP is what you put on pumpkin pie (or alternatively goes with chains). So that means they put an extraordinary emphasis on the traditional stats of Wins, Strikeouts, and ERA. Those aren’t bad stats to use, but they’re not all-inclusive. For that matter, no set is all-inclusive, but it seems to me that the more you look at, the better picture you get.

So here we go:

NL: Roy Halladay. This one I think is easy and I’m fairly confident I got it right.

AL: C. C. Sabathia. This one is a bit more dicey. But because the three triple crown stats were split among three pitchers I think the writers will go with the combination of most wins and leading a team to the playoffs to reward Sabathia with this year’s award.

I’m not saying either is the best choice, but only that these are the choices I think will be made. Agree? Disagree?