Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cy Young Voters Get It Right

I'm not going to spend too much time on this. But let me just say that for once, I can happily say that the Cy Young Award voters actually voted for the best pitcher in each league, rather than the pitcher with the most wins.

In the American League, Greinke was the best pitcher, and it wasn't even close. His 2.16 ERA and 2.33 FIP were miles ahead of the rest of the league, and his 3.36 xFIP was behind only Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay and Boston lefty Jon Lester, both of whom lacked the other statistics necessary to challenge Greinke. His 9.4 WAR was easily the best in the game, and the guy who placed second, Tigers ace Justin Verlander, posted an 8.2 WAR, paling in comparison to Greinke. He showed brilliant command and control, walking just 51 in 229 innings, and missed lots of bats, only Halladay posted a better K/BB ratio, thanks to Doc's shockingly good walk rate this year. Overall though, in spite of pitching on one of the worst teams in the league, Greinke quietly was the best pitcher in the American League, and it's nice to see that voters were able to look past his W-L record and the general suckiness of the Royals, which wasn't remotely Greinke's fault. I think that there's pretty good merit to the argument that Greinke just had the best season by a pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000.

My AL Cy Ballot: 1. Zack Greinke 2. Justin Verlander 3. Felix Hernandez

As for the National League, it was a bit tighter, with Lincecum, Cardinals aces Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, Atlanta ace Javier Vazquez and Arizona ace Dan Haren all having pretty great seasons. Lincecum was just a bit ahead of everyone else though, his 8.2 WAR easily beat out Vazquez's second-place 6.6 WAR. He posted the best strikeout rate, the third-lowest home run rate, the sixth-best K/BB ratio, and his 2.34 FIP easily outpaced Vazquez (2.77) and Carpenter (2.78). Vazquez posted a slightly lower 2.89 xFIP compared to Lincecum's 2.94 mark, but those were still the best two marks in the league, and Lincecum was harder to hit and that was reflected in his ERA and batted ball percentages. Vazquez could have challenged Lincecum if he didn't have those extra three losses, but he just never stood a chance with a 15-10 record given the performances of the other candidates. Certainly, Carpenter and Wainwright had seasons that would be worthy of Cy Young recognition, but at this point, it's pretty clear that Tim Lincecum is the best pitcher in National League.

My NL Cy Ballot: 1. Tim Lincecum 2. Javier Vazquez 3. Chris Carpenter

Glad to see that arguably the two best pitchers in the game got the recognition that they deserved, Lincecum and Greinke should be among the best for years to come.


  1. As a Cards fan, i am a bit biased, but i don't have that big of a problem with Lincecum, I just didn't believe that he would get the award to be honest. Down the stretch when the Giants needed him to be dominant, he post a 3.14 ERA in his last few starts, (How does a guy with the most 1st place votes get third...really?) but that doesn't matter anymore.

  2. Nice to see your thoughts here on your own blog.
    I'll definitely be following and reading up here.

    Oh, and I agree with both of your first-place votes in your ballot.

  3. I completely agree with your selections.

    Nice to see you didn't forget about Vazquez either, that guy was under appreciated this year, IMO.