The Cy Young Award

In the past week, John Brattain of The Hardball Times has been reviewing American League and National League Cy Young candidates. His top-five candidates for the AL are:
1. Roy Halladay
2. Mark Buehrle
3. Kenny Rogers
4. Bartolo Colon
5. John Garland
In the NL, he has:
1. Dontrelle Willis
2. Pedro Martinez
3. Jake Peavy
4. Roger Clemens
5. Chris Carpenter
Brattain explains that he’s trying to project how the Cy Young race will actually turn out rather than who should win it. There are two ways I would like to look at the races. First, using a system that Rob Neyer and Bill James unveiled in the Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers and then looking at pitching runs created which I introduced about a week ago.
ESPN is publishing the Cy Predictor, so it’s easy to find the top-5 in both the AL:
1. Halladay
2. Buehrle
3. Garland
4. Colon
5. Rogers
and the NL:
1. Willis
2. Carpenter
3. Chad Cordero
4. Livan Hernandez
5. Martinez
Certainly, the two lists look very similar, almost identical. But when you look at PRC, you’ll see a somewhat different picture–
AL:

NAME

PRC

Roy Halladay

56.71

Johan Santana

54.63

Mark Buehrle

52.63

Matt Clement

47.26

Randy Johnson

42.65

NL:

NAME

PRC

Chris Carpenter

57.04

Pedro Martinez

56.31

Dontrelle Willis

54.78

John Smoltz

53.27

Jake Peavy

52.87

While Halladay seems to be the consensus pick in the AL, and why shouldn’t he be given that he leads the league in both FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and Innings, the NL is a much closer race. Both Brattain and the Cy Predictor choose Willis as the current leader, which is not a bad choice given that he leads the league in FIP and is sixth in Innings, but PRC show that he’s not a runaway pick and that, in fact, Carpenter and Pedro might be better choices. It also seems to me, and this is just me speaking, that Clemens could easily win it, not because he necessarily deserves it, but because he’s a veteran, and the voters might just overlook his low win totals and focus on his spectacular ERA at the age of 42. Clemens is the stat-head pick, but the stat-heads aren’t looking close enough. His ERA has largely been a byproduct of a great defense, as his FIP_ERA is a good 1.2 points higher. Clemens still ranks eighth in PRC, but he’s eight runs behind Carpenter.

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2 Responses to The Cy Young Award

  1. Evan says:

    Clement, huh? Even including that 8-R outburst he just coughed up? What in PRC is giving him good karma?

  2. David says:

    Well, among players with at least 70 IP, Clement is fourth in FIP and he’s 8th in IP. His relatively high K rate means he gets a pretty high % of the credit for his pitching.

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