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Picking Sabathia over King Felix for the Cy Young Award is nuts

Sep 9, 2010, 9:31 AM EDT

There's a smart choice and a dumb choice for the Cy Young Award. Which choice would you make?

We’ve mentioned it a few times already, and a great many people in the national media have already taken their swings at it, but let us reiterate one more time: supporting CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young Award is the sort of thing that should spark a hearing over whether or not you should be made a ward of the state due to extreme mental incompetence.

The statistical case is so simple that I’m surprised that there’s any debate at all. Hernandez leads Sabathia in innings pitched, complete games, hits allowed, ERA (by a lot) and strikeouts. He’s allowed fewer hits, home runs and has walked fewer batters. Hernandez’s infield defense is worse. So is his bullpen.

While people say “hey, Hernandez pitches in the weak AL West,” (a) the weakest part of the AL West is his own team which he cannot face; (b) the strongest part of the AL East is Sabathia’s which he cannot face; and (c) Hernandez has actually started against more teams that are in contention than Sabathia has. Wanna give Sabathia points for playoff race pressure? Fine. Just make sure you even it out by giving Hernandez points for having to deal with the pressure of knowing that he must be absolutely perfect in order to win, because he’s getting zero help from his atrocious teammates.

The only advantage Sabathia has over Hernandez is the one thing that is not in a pitcher’s control: run support. That’s it. And that’s what leads to the wins that many Cy Young voters are citing as the reason for supporting Sabathia over Hernandez.

Which is strange, because last year the writers got it right and gave the Cy Young Awards in both leagues to guys who pitched the best despite having relatively lackluster win totals — Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum.  Why it appears that won’t happen again this year is a mystery.

Maybe the writers feel like going against their base instincts to reward wins once is enough. Maybe it’s just too early, the Sabathia supporters just happen to be the most vocal and once the voting occurs sanity will prevail.

All I know is that if their performances hold up for the last couple of weeks of the season and Hernandez doesn’t win the Cy Young Award the BBWAA ought to be whacked upside the head.

  1. birdmancometh - Sep 9, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    Right? I mean, I just cannot believe that people are still so hard-headed about this stuff. They really need to get Joe Morgan off the air. It has to be his fault. If we get him off now we can still save the younger generation before he’s completely ruined them all.

  2. Spudchukar - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    I was already to give you high fives for your support of Hernandez until the last year they got it right comment. They didn’t get it right in the NL. Wainwright should have won over Lincecum. He didn’t win because of the dufus ESPN analyst who unfortunately has a vote and cast it for Javier Vasquez over Wainwright. So I wrote him informing him that he had made the classic voters error of voting for the player he thought was the best pitcher vs. the pitcher who had performed the best. I am paraphrasing but here is the essence of his response. That we all have our own realities and that my “opinion” that the award should go to the player who performs the best in a particular season is biased and that he retains the right to define his vote any way he chooses. In other words, he is not compelled to vote for who has had the best season, but who has had the best career or potential or any other criteria. With this type of voter mentality do not expect King Felix to be hoisting any trophy.

  3. Ace2000 - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Sabathia’s Yankees comfortably lead all of baseball with 751 runs scored. Seattle is all the way back at #30, with 452, off the pace by a staggering 300 runs. Sabathia’s run support average is nearly twice that of Hernandez: 7.45 to 3.90. There’s your difference in win totals right there, without even factoring in Seattle’s defensive deficiencies. To say that Felix needs to somehow find a way to win is just absurd.

  4. BC - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    How much run support could Carlton have gotten? He team won less than 60 games!

  5. APBA Guy - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    Aardsma’s not the worst closer.

  6. Kung - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Not to get off-topic, but Lincecum absolutely should have won last year over Wainwright. Lincecum had 8 fewer innings, yes, but he had 2 more strikeouts per nine innings than Wainwright, a ton more swinging strikes, .2 more walks per nine innings, and a lower ERA, FIP, and xFIP (and hence much higher WAR). There is simply no way Wainwright deserved the Cy over Lincecum.

  7. Bill@TDS - Sep 9, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    He’s one of the best writers in the business, and voted for Vazquez over Wainwright not for any of those reasons you just made up, but because under the statistical methods he values, Vazquez did in fact have the better season. I don’t agree, but it was perfectly valid, and he’s exactly the kind of writer you should want voting if you want things to happen like Felix winning over Sabathia.

  8. Joe - Sep 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    He got 3.83 runs/game in a league that averaged 3.91 runs/game. For the year, the Phillies averaged 3.22 r/g.

  9. DiamondDuq - Sep 9, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    You know what was well said? The most famous words to ever leave Herm Edwards’ lips! Those were well said!

  10. scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Sabathia’s win total and run support are the gaudy stats in this debate…

  11. scatterbrian - Sep 9, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Maybe if Felix resigned Branyan and kneecapped Griffey before the season….

  12. Lateral-Symmetry - Sep 9, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    “When considering the original Cy Young won more games than any other pitcher, some thought has to be given to the actual wins.”
    If that’s your brand of reasoning then you might want to keep in mind that “the original Cy Young” also LOST more games than any other pitcher.

  13. Josh in DC - Sep 10, 2010 at 2:39 PM

    Felix Hernandez should have been smart enough to be drafted by the Yankees.

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