Posts Tagged ‘Matt Cain’

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?”.

Evaluating the Giants

November 5, 2010

I guess it’s time I add my congratulations to the Giants on their World Series victory. I have to admit I didn’t see it coming, having picked both Philadelphia and St. Louis to be the NL teams in the LCS. But with that congratulations comes a caveat from someone who studies baseball history. This isn’t the best Giants team to win a pennant. That goes, in my opinion, to the 1962 version.

Check out the starting lineup of game seven of the 1962 World Series. Felipe Alou leads off, Willie Mays bats third, Willie McCovey hits clean up, and Orlando Cepeda is in the five hole. Jack Sanford is on the mound and would have won the Cy Young Award that year if not for a fellow named Drysdale. Juan Marichal had pitched earlier and even Gaylord Perry had played a little in the season (but wasn’t a major factor in the team winning). The team got through a bruising 1962 three game playoff with Los Angeles to get to the Series, then battled the Yankees down to the last out. McCovey’s smash that Bobby Richardson caught ended game seven with crucial runs on base. To me it’s the best Giants pennant winner ever, although others may prefer the Hubbell-Ott teams of the 1930s, or the John McGraw teams of the 1920s and the 1900s.

What this team reminds of most is a combination of the  hitting of the 2002 Angels and the pitching of the 1985 Royals. The ’02 Angels (who just happened to beat the Giants in the Series) were led by the likes of Garrett Anderson, Tim Salmon, David Eckstein, and Troy Glaus. Nice players all, but not great stars. To be honest, I look over the roster and I can’t find a Hall of Famer in the lot. That’s unusual because almost every team that wins a World Series has at least one Hall of Famer around  somewhere. But they’re still a lot of really nice players who did well. Unlike the ’85 Royals, there was no George Brett around.  Take a look at the current World Series winning Giants roster, which also has no George Brett. Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Edgar Renteria, and Juan Uribe are all nice players and make teams better by their presence. But there’s not a truly great player there. Much like the Angels the sum of the parts is much superior to the bits themselves.

But pitching-wise, the 2010 Giants remind me very much of the 1985 Royals. Lincecum, Cain, Wilson have their counterparts in Bret Saberhagen, Danny Jackson, and Dan Quisenberry. Both teams feature quality pitching that goes deep down the staff.  They both have two-time Cy Young winners (Lincecum and Saberhagen) and first-rate relievers (Wilson and Quisenberry). The second and third spot pitchers are better than average for both teams.

Unfortunately for Kansas City, the staff didn’t hold up. Arms went, other parts of the anatomy failed, wildness took over, and in Quisenberry’s case disease took him early. That’s a precautionary tale for anyone ready to assign long-term greatness to the Giants. Maybe the arms will hold up, but maybe they won’t. Whichever the case, congrats to the 2010 version.