Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Really, Yankee Fans?

If you visit Sox Vs. Stripes somewhat regularly, you'll notice that we have a couple of polls running at the same time. The current ones are "Who Will Win The AL Cy Young Award?" and "Who Will Win The AL MVP Award?" For one of them, the results are...questionable.

The choices for the Cy Young question are: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Zack Grienke and the proverbial "Other". Right now, Sabathia leads with 55% of the vote, Grienke has 24% and Verlander has 13%.

You have got to be kidding me, people. I thought Yankee fans were intelligent people and above crass "homerism". Alas, that is not the case. Because who in their right mind can make a compelling argument for Sabathia?

And no, this isn't an argument in favor of Beckett. If anyone on Boston has a shot, it'd be Jon Lester. But really...Sabathia??

Sabathia leads in exactly one major category: wins. Sabathia has 17, which is an admittedly impressive number. But if wins are the sole benchmark for a Cy Young winner, why isn't the Rangers' Scott Feldman in the mix with his 16 wins? Or Jered Weaver with his 15 wins? The answer, of course, is obvious: it takes more than wins to win a Cy. And in those other areas, Sabathia is lacking.

Let's go over a few, shall we? Keep in mind, these are the rankings for the contenders, not the actual list of every MLB starter. I don't think too many people want to go through 40 names for each list.


  1. Sabathia: 17
  2. Verlander: 16
  3. Feldman: 16
  4. Beckett: 15
  5. Hernandez: 15
  6. Halladay: 14
  7. Greinke: 13
  8. Lester: 13


  1. Verlander: 239
  2. Greinke: 216
  3. Lester: 211
  4. Hernandez: 193
  5. Halladay: 183
  6. Beckett: 180
  7. Sabathia: 178


  1. Greinke: 2.19
  2. Hernandez: 2.52
  3. Halladay: 3.03
  4. Edwin Jackson: 3.22
  5. Lester: 3.29
  6. Feldman: 3.31
  7. Verlander: 3.34
  8. Sabathia: 3.42

Quality Starts

  1. Hernandez: 25
  2. Greinke: 24
  3. Lester: 21
  4. Jackson: 20
  5. Verlander: 20
  6. Sabathia: 19

Strikeout/Walk Ratio

  1. Halladay: 6.31
  2. Greinke: 5.14
  3. Verlander: 4.19
  4. Beckett: 3.53
  5. Lester: 3.52
  6. Sabathia: 3.07

Strikeouts per 9 innings*

  1. Verlander: 10.24
  2. Lester: 10.07
  3. Greinke: 9.47
  4. Beckett: 8.38
  5. Halladay: 7.92


  1. Greinke: 1.07
  2. Halladay: 1.12
  3. Sabathia: 1.13
  4. Hernandez: 1.15
  5. Beckett: 1.15
  6. Verlander: 1.17
  7. Lester: 1.20
  8. Jackson: 1.24

DIPS (Defense Independent ERA)

  1. Greinke: 2.50
  2. Verlander: 2.93
  3. Lester: 3.12
  4. Halladay: 3.20
  5. Hernandez: 3.24
  6. Sabathia: 3.46
  7. Beckett: 3.76

Opponent Batting Average

  1. Hernandez: .228
  2. Greinke: .232
  3. Sabathia: .234
  4. Lester: .235
  5. Beckett: .236
  6. Verlander: .240
  7. Jackson: .242
  8. Halladay: .255

Opponent OPS

  1. Hernandez: .608
  2. Greinke: .618
  3. Lester: .647
  4. Feldman: .648
  5. Sabathia: .649
  6. Verlander: .668
  7. Halladay: .669
  8. Beckett: .680
  9. Jackson: .712

Do you see a pattern here? Yes, Sabathia leads the AL in wins. But he hardly ranks in the other categories. And yet in our poll he is leaps and bounds ahead in the voting. C'mon, Yankee fans!

The two front-runners, in my eyes, are Greinke and Hernandez. Both lead in multiple categories. Greinke has more 1s and 2s (eight total) than any other candidate. Personally, I think Greinke should win but Hernandez would be a worthy recipient as well.

One thing I did want to point out is the sneaky good season that Jon Lester is having. He didn't top any list but placed second in one, third in four, fourth in one and fifth in three. He ranked Top 5 among Cy contenders in nine of ten categories. That's nothing to sneeze at, and is better than Verlander (6 of 10), Halladay (7 of 10) and even Hernandez (8 of 10). I'm not saying he should win, but Lester should be in the mix and if he ends strong while some other guys slip...anything is possible.

But Sabathia shouldn't be leading this poll, people. Let's have some baseball integrity here, shall we?


* Sabathia didn't even rank in the Top 40 pitchers here. C'mon...how can your Cy Young winner not even been in the Top 40 pitchers for a major category like this?


Anonymous said...

If it's so ridiculous, why include Sabathia's name in the poll? In fact, why even do a poll at all? Just TELL us who the Cy Young winner should be, and don't bother asking people what they think.

Aviv said...

Dave, all those categories are great, but wins is what has always been what's mattered most to voters and fans. That's the first, second and third thing everyone looks at.

And while the stats are compelling, they don't tell the full story, such as how a pitcher has done down the stretch and impacted his team's playoff chances.

Yes, the Royals stink and Greinke can't be measured in that way, but we have seen pitchers on bad teams put up far more than just 13 wins in making strong Cy Young cases.

Meanwhile, Felix Hernandez's Mariners have faded.

Sabathia, however, has only gotten stronger as the year has gone on. In 12 starts since the All-Star break,he's 9-1 with a 2.75 ERA, a 1.08 WHIP, 9 quality starts and 79 strikeouts as the Yankees have surged to best record in baseball.

And make no mistake, it's CC who's anchored the staff and been the stopper. He's snapped a three-game skid and two-game skid and beaten the Red Sox twice.

And if he should crack the 20-win plateau, this will be a no-doubter for voters: the Cy Young Award will go to CC Sabathia.

Anonymous said...

Are you quite sure it was the Yankee fans that voted for Sabathia?

Dave said...

Who else would vote for Sabathia?

Aviv, if that's the case then let's call the Cy Young Award the "Award for Best Pitching in the Last Two Months." Of course, it's not that. It's the award for the best pitcher over the course of the season.

And while wins are very important, if that's the determinant then Brandon Webb should have won in 2008, Beckett should have won in 2007 and Schilling should have won in 2004. Especially when you consider that Beckett's and Schilling's squads went on to win the title.

The truth is that Sabathia is a very good pitcher on a very good team, but he has not been the best pitcher in the AL this year. And if he were to win it, it would be a mistake. Just like if Beckett won it.

Aviv said...

I didn't say it was the best pitcher for the last two months, but voters are human and they tend to remember what they saw last, which means a strong finish like CC's has a bigger impact that a fast start like Greinke's, who's won all of five games since May, failed to win a game in July and has not yet won a game this month.

Besides it's not as if CC is pitching to a 4 ERA he's at 3.42 with Yankee Stadium as his home park, and with the way he's been pitching, it's likely to get lower. Plus with at least four more starts left, he's going to pass 200 strikeouts.

Felix has been impressive, but if CC gets to 20 and Felix is not not at 19 wins -- maybe 18 -- it's not going to be enough.

And Beckett's August cost him any shot at the award. You were abuzz about him in July. His candidacy has simply taken a big hit since.

Besides Dave, just admit it. You don't like CC. You were wrong about him in the beginning of the season when you said he couldn't pitch in the AL and if he wins the Cy Young, that be a mighty large piece of crow to eat.

Anonymous said...

Let's look at some numbers.
Two pitchers, each since July 18.

Pitcher 1:
12GS, 85IP, 74H, 20BB, 83SO, 7HR, 2.75 ERA, 1.105 WHIP

Pitcher 2:
11GS, 78IP, 61H, 21BB, 87SO, 7HR, 2.31 ERA, 1.051 WHIP

Pitcher 1 is CC Sabathia.
Pitcher 2 is Zack Greinke.

Not only has Greinke been better since the start of the season, but he has also been better down the stretch too - funny how that works out when you take away the 9-1 in front of CC's last 12 games, doesn't it? Maybe Greinke would have gone 10-0 if he pitched for the Yankees.

I mean really, their numbers aren't even comparable over the course of the season, and even the stretches where they are comparable, Greinke's are still superior. Trying to compare their seasons makes is really just a laughable effort.

Aviv said...

But the bottom line is voters are NEVER going to give the Cy Young to a pitcher who has only 13-15 wins. You can't just discount wins. It's a huge factor.

Dave said...

Aviv, but by the same token, wins can't be everything. And CC has not been the best pitcher in the AL. He benefits mightily from having that lineup behind him. The writer above is right; put Greinke in with that lineup and he'd probably have 20 wins by now.

Aviv said...

The thing everyone is forgetting about Greinke is that the Royals are in the AL Central -- the weakest division in baseball and -- had an interleague schedule that featured Pittsburgh, Arizona, Cincinnati and Houston. Plus Greinke has not faced the Yankees, Red Sox or Cardinals. So while the Royals are weak, Greinke hasn't had to face the toughest of opponents, yet he has four less victories and one more loss than CC.

And as for putting Greinke in the Yankees' lineup, hasn't recent history taught us anything? How many starters have come to New York only to fail. Any one remember Randy Johnson? He went 16-14 with a 2.60 ERA with the Arizona in 2004, so 20 wins would be a no-brainer with the Yankees in 2005 and 06, right? Kevin Brown? Javier Vazquez? Carl Pavano?

And you're telling me that a guy with Greinke's history is an automatic to be able to get it done in New York??? Don't get me wrong. He's overcome a ton and deserves a lot of credit and admiration for doing that, but New York and Boston, for that matter, are different animals.

Also I don't remember anyone complaining about the Royals' lineup while Greinke was winning his first six games of the season. That team hasn't been that radically altered since, but he's gone only 7-8, which is far from Cy Young caliber.

A Cy Young is not going to go to someone with 15 or less wins, especially if there is a 20-game winner. In baseball history, there has never been a starter to win the award with fewer than 16 wins in a non-strike shortened season.

With three starts left, including one against the Red Sox and one against the Twins, Greinke simply is not going to get there.