SSI Cy Young Handicap, II

=== CC Sabathia and Mariano Rivera ===

Their arguments are that they pitched under the bright, hot lights, and led the Yankees where they were supposed to lead them.

Remember when Sabathia got rocked his first start?  An awful lot of men have been run out of New York, haven't they.

It's one thing to have the lowest scoring average on the PGA, and a different thing to win majors.  The sport gears up for the majors.  CC Sabathia was facing Red Sox and Rays and Tigers teams that loaded up on the scouting and the games were played like wars. 

Greinke often played in Royals-A's type games in which the pitching switches weren't quite to the same extent...

I'm not saying that one player "leads his team to the pennant."  But I don't throw a hissy fit, if a sportswriter argues that Greinke might have fared differently in New York... to me that's a point worth consideration.


Rivera pitches high-leverage innings.  He comes into the game when he's going to decide it.  He's the greatest closer ever.  It would be legit to give it to him, too.


=== Roy Halladay ===

When I think of "the best pitcher" in the American League, I think of Halladay.   I judge pitchers over a series of seasons, and not based on their last 20-30 starts.

Roger Clemens for 15-20 years was great; in some particular year Frank Viola or Pat Hentgen or Bartolo Colon might run lower ERA's.  Did that make them "better pitchers" than Clemens?

The Cy does say "best pitcher that year."   That's still a little different than "best results" that year.   Have we normalized for strength-of-opposition?  Have we normalized for context?   Are we talking about "best pitcher if you have a big game Friday," or "best average performances"?

Halladay's argument is that his season follows other, similar, seasons and his 2009 season is not an accident.  It's a skill.


It's interesting that Halladay isn't even on the board, oddswise.   Wow.  He's got 240 (!) innings pitched and an ERA way down into the 2's.   That makes him #3 in runs saved -- Halladay saved almost +10 more runs than Felix Hernandez did.

Greinke had an awesome season.  How sssuuuuuuure are you, really, that he's going to repeat?

Halladay was merely repeating his own established level of performance.  That's important.


=== Justin Verlander ===

Dominance is the big argument here:  269 strikeouts is a lot in this day and age.  And isn't missing bats the biggest single thing a pitcher can control?

Verlander "pitched his team to the playoffs," too, in a real sense.   He's the whole package:   19 wins ... single-figures losses .... gigantic strikeout totals ... vicious stuff that can demoralize an enemy before the game begins ... pitched for a 1st-place team.

He was #2 to Greinke in terms of runs saved (which considers ERA* and IP together).


=== Dr's R/X ===

I'm the wrong guy to ask who deserves it.  Why?  Because I don't care.

I'm the kind of rotodweeb who spends all his prep time on rounds 2-25.  I don't care who my first-round pick is, as long as he's healthy.   Felix?  Halladay?  Verlander?  They're all death-on-a-stick.   Why pick one when no such distinction really exists?

What I'd like to see, honestly, is a 6-way split of the trophy -- just, This was the year six guys won it.

But let's say they all called tomorrow, and said Hey Jeff, it goes to whoever you say.

I'd call Silentpadna :- )





It's harder to pitch when you know you're only going to get 3 runs at most of support (major bonus points to Greinke and King Felix).
It's harder to pitch when you are in 1-run games a lot (extension of point 1)
It's harder to pitch if your defense sucks (this helps out Halladay and Verlander in particular)
It's harder to pitch if you pitch more innings (this isn't entirely captured by doing rate * playing time math...the longer you throw, the harder it is to maintain your production levels and it's's not 20% harder to throw 240 innings compared to's probably more like 50% harder)


Ya, the 1000 words above is not comprehensive.
That's a great point about more innings being harder to throw.  I agree with your proportion there.  The guys who go out for the 8th inning are throwing entirely different innings than other guys.
Sportswriters would call that "being a workhorse" and there's some substance in that old saw.


...that's why I am favoring Greinke, Halladay, or Felix...not the rest...none of the other guys had to pitch as long as the King and Halladay and Greinke...and those three all had major handicaps caused by their team context.  Felix pitching for a shutout every game because the Mariners couldn't score, ditto Greinke plus his tema defense sucked, Halladay pitching in a tough park for groundball pitchers.


Gotta take the home park into consideration as well, yes? Sabathia has to pitch half his games in that screwed up HR friendly stadium in NY, while Felix and Verlander get to pitch half of their games in nice, big parks.
I think Grienke will get it and I have no problem with that.

Sandy - Raleigh's picture

Greinke deserves it for the superior ERA with the far inferior defense, (and equally abysmal offensive support), compared to Felix.
Felix is likely to win it ... because voters DO focus far more on wins than on the other stats.  Yes, some ERA guys w/o best W/L records have won the thing.  But, typically that is when their ERA is a run better than the top win guys.  Greinke has a great ERA.  Felix isn't very far behind him in ERA.
While most net rats scoff and sneer at stats like ERA and Wins and Losses, the truth is, most writers, (like most fans), remain stuck in the statistical stoneage.  There may be movement in the trenches, but it is generational movement.  Twenty years from now, maybe the most deserving guy wins.  But that day ain't today.  Today, the Bill James math model is likely still strongly in play.  By catching up to CC in Wins, and trailing Greinke by not-so-much in ERA, it is VERY likely that Felix snags a not-as-close-as-one-might-think CY award.  Voters MIGHT look at offensive support -- and the dead-last in runs scored Ms don't hurt the King's case.  Almost none will factor in defense.  Even the sabrdweebs know that defensive metrics are a hash of confusion not to be trusted.  Greinke doesn't get any help, (and Felix no harm), based on their defensive support.

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