Cy Young Ponderings
On the heels of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance announcement of the AL Cy Young Award and Tao of Stieb's ballot , I thought I would chime in with my own two cents on the subject. Of course, any year Roy Halladay doesn't win is a damn shame and this was the fourth year in a row where he was at least in the top-five pitchers in the league.
Now while there is an enormous amount of weight placed on a pitcher's win/loss record, ERA and strikeouts, let's take a moment to delve into the overlooked or neglected categories that Cy Young votes should be taking into consideration.
First of all, if the win/loss record is such a significant part of the ballot, then I urge the Baseball Writers of America to at least glance over at the pitcher's run support category. While C.C. Sabathia's 19 wins are impressive, even more so were the 7.9 average runs that the Yankees managed to give him in support. One can only imagine what Halladay's win total would be if the Blue Jays could score nearly eight runs for him every time.
Naturally, Zack Greinke pitching for a weak Kansas City Royals team is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to run support (4.83 runs), followed closely behind are Felix Hernandez (5.66 runs), Justin Verlander (6.15 runs) and Roy Halladay (6.18 runs).
The next stat is something that ESPN calls "tough losses," which are defined as a loss in games that are quality starts. Depending on what your school of thought is on the quality start, this is another point for debate on who is more deserving for the Cy Young. In this situation, the quality start is a bit irrelevant because there are no brownie points with voters for pitching five innings and giving up three runs or less.
But if you are curious about who the most tortured starting pitchers are in the American League when it comes to "tough losses," of course it's Greinke and Halladay, who have four apiece.
But more intriguing than the tough loss statistic is the situation in which the starting pitcher exited the game. Surprisingly, the relievers after Halladay only coughed up one win that should have been his (on May 25 when they blew a five-run lead).
Finally, one area that should be looked at is the quality of opponents the pitchers faced. Automatically, Halladay has the advantage because he faced the cream of the crop in the American League more than another other candidate. Doc had a combined 11 starts against the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels compared to Greinke's three and Hernandez's six. So in that respect, Halladay has pitched more often against higher-caliber opponents thanks to the MLB's oh-so-balanced schedule.
By looking at all these stats, one could be accused of trying to work the numbers in favor of their candidate and, in a way, that's true. I've come to grips that Halladay will not be taking home the Cy Young hardware this year, but I just want folks to know that he at least deserved to be in the top three.
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