11.09.2005

2005 Cy Young Awards: Tradition Run Amok

I suppose I shouldn't have expected any better out of these guys. This is the same group of nitwits who picked Derek Jeter to win not one, but two gold gloves he did not deserve. I wish I had become as cynical as Aaron Gleeman, but somehow I had expected more. Rivera would have been at least a plausible choice, but Colon really has proven that when it comes to the Cy Young the Win is still reigns supreme. Granted, this was a weak field, with no starters posting an ERA lower than 2.86. Nevertheless, Santana clearly was the best pitcher in the field with the second best ERA in the AL (2.87), leading the league in strikeouts and an opponent average 45 points lower than Colon.

Even when every other available measure of a pitcher's skill pointed to Santana, the voters managed to give him only three first place votes. I'm temporary residing in the UK, where baseball interest is unfortunately not what it should be. However, I could pick out a hundred Britons at random, and if I provided them with American sports section and asked them to vote for the Cy Young I’m positive that they would arrive at a more logical, equitable and sane consensus than this travesty.

Chris Carpenter, the winner of the National League Cy Young is a bit more qualified, but qualified is a relative term. Carpenter finished with an ERA of 2.83, second in the NL in strikeouts and second in the majors in innings pitched. This is an excellent season by any standard. When the field includes a pitcher who finished with an ERA almost a full run lower than Carpenter and held opponents to below the Mendoza Line (a .183 OBA), its difficult for me to justify giving the award out to anyone else. Of course Roger Clemens lost, since the voters couldn't get past the fact he'd only managed to go 13-8.

Of the three man rotation of Confines writers I am probably the most "traditional" baseball thinker of the bunch. Since I follow a team with perhaps the most successful traditionalist general manager in game, (Terry Ryan) it’s hard not to sometimes extol the virtues of small ball and emphasizing traditional defense and athleticism in player development. However, I still have a brain. It may be news to the Cy Young voters but there are multiple methods of evaluating pitching performance. A win-loss record can tell you something about a team a player pitches for and maybe a little about the makeup of a particular pitcher. It doesn't tell you so much that every other statistic should be thrown out in favor of pitchers with clearly inferior seasons. The voters need to get past the win, and start giving out awards for the right reasons, something they've managed to botch for years. At least this time when Randy Johnson lost, it was because he deserved to.

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