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If you're going to penalize CarGo for Coors Field, you have to credit Ubaldo

Sep 10, 2010, 11:30 AM EDT

Hitters are penalized for the advantages Coors Field provides them. Why then, don't we credit the pitchers?

In light of the Carlos Gonzalez/Coors Field hate, Dave Krieger of the Denver Post says the following:

It’s
one thing for baseball experts to penalize Carlos Gonzalez in the
National League MVP race because he plays half his games at Coors Field.
It’s quite another not to reward Ubaldo Jimenez in the Cy Young race
for exactly the same reason . . . As the days of summer
dwindle down and the eastern experts handicap baseball’s awards, you can
count on two things: Coors Field will be prominently mentioned in the
MVP race, devaluing
CarGo’s numbers, though he’s contending for the Triple Crown. And it
will get no mention whatsoever in the Cy Young race. Instead, Jimenez’s
candidacy will be devalued by his failure to maintain the pace that had
him at 15-1 at the all-star break.

It’s a pretty fair point. Jimenez’s home/road splits should be acknowledged. Let’s acknowledge them:

On the road Jimenez has a 2.30 ERA and a WHIP of 1.052 (at home he’s a
at 3.35 and 1.263). His strikeout rates are pretty similar at home and
on the road. He actually walks fewer in Coors. He’s given up the same
number of home runs at home and on the road, but he has allowed 17 more
hits in two fewer home starts. It’s a big outfield there in Denver.

I haven’t analyzed the NL Cy Young race all that much yet, but my gut has me thinking Roy Halladay would be my choice.  Let’s check his splits out:

Halladay has an identical road WHIP as Jimenez and a
higher ERA (2.72). He has thrived in Citizens Bank Park, however,
posting a 2.12 ERA and a 1.048 WHIP.  He strikes out more guys and walks
fewer guys on the road. Halladay has five fewer road starts than home
starts but has allowed only one less home run on the road.

Halladay and Jimenez aren’t the only two names to consider, of
course. Adam Wainwright has been a beast. Mat Latos has been excellent,
though in far fewer innings than the others. Josh Johnson was at least
in the conversation until he was shut down the other day. Tim Hudson
should be acknowledged.  It’s not a two man race.

If you put a gun to my head right now I’d probably still choose Roy Halladay, but Krieger is right: if you’re going to penalize Carlos Gonzalez for Coors Field in the MVP race, you have to at least acknowledge that Ubaldo has to pitch in the joint when you’re thinking Cy Young.

  1. Jonny5 - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Well hitters aren’t penalized for wins or losses either, yet for the Cy Young, some voters will do exactly that. It sucks to be a pitcher, kinda double standard huh?

  2. ThatGuy - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    One thing that works against Ubaldo’s favor to an extent is that he is a ground ball pitcher(6th highest percent in the league i believe). The “Coors effect” does most of its damage on fly ball pitchers. Although it does decrease the effectivness of the break on breaking balls, which is likely the largest reason for the difference in his home and road splits. It should definatly be acknowledged in the Cy Young race, but not to the extent CarGos .5 difference of OPS should be.

  3. Alex K - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    I wonder if him walking fewer in Coors has to do with the ball not breaking as much due to altitude?

  4. John_Michael - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Facts are over rated when you’re a MSM writer or an award/HOF voter. Go with your gut.

  5. CM_Wang - Sep 10, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    Figures Craig would pull for a guy named Ubaldo.

  6. Steve-O - Sep 10, 2010 at 12:14 PM

    Jiminez’s home record is 9-1 his road record is 9-5. You can adjust his ERA at home if you want but he still wouldn’t have much of an improvement in his W/L record.

  7. Kevin S. - Sep 10, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    People know there are stats (OPS+, ERA+, wRC+) that adjust for park factors, right?

  8. IdahoMariner - Sep 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM

    Ok, I didn’t get that at first, CM_Wang, but once I did, I’ve been giggling like a six-year-old. thanks!

  9. CM_Wang - Sep 10, 2010 at 1:02 PM

    I can get away with that because Mebaldo, too.

  10. Spudchukar - Sep 10, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    I agree perhaps some thought ought to go into where Jimenez plays but only if he puts together an awfully good last three weeks. Right now his ERA is a little high in comparison to Wainwright and Halladay. Which I guess is the point, but his second half has put him a little behind. Johnson was certainly in the conversation but he has faded a little recently and unless he can get back on the mound quickly and put together some awsome starts he looks like he is on the outside looking in. Same goes for Hudson, but 4 or 5 great starts down the stretch gives him a chance. Jaime Garcia should have been in the mix, but his last start certainly hurt him, but he is probably as deserving as Johnson. This leaves Halladay and Wainwright neck and neck at this point, but any of the aforementioned shouldn’t be excluded at this point.

  11. Spudchukar - Sep 10, 2010 at 2:26 PM

    Listening to MLB network the past few days has me all up in a lather over the Cy Young choice. Eric Byrnes, continues to make the point that he doesn’t know what the definition is. This is nuts. The MVP vs best player arguement. I hope he is the only one confused but I doubt it. Maybe this comes from the American League arguement, Hernandez (more deserving at this point) vs. Sabathia. Who you play for shouldn’t matter. It should be an award for who played the best this year, period. But this brings me to my real beef. Last year Keith Law, who has a vote for some reason, chose Javier Vasquez over Adam Wainwright, costing him the award. His numbers exceeded Lincecums. So I wrote to him and criticized him for making the classic analyst error chosing who you think is the better player vs. who played the best. He responded by telling me I have my own reality, and that that is only my opinion and not the definition he bases his choice on. Not only is this madness, but the arrogance to redefine the award is blasphemy. The only criteria should be who plays the best, factor in the team he plays for, where the games are played etc, but only if the choice is so narrow that the decision is hair-splitting. One last opine. Placing strikeouts as a critical component in the choice seems out of place to me. Sorta like slam dunks. I can see it as a minor consideration but hardly worth mentioning, and depriving Greg Maddux like style. Even wins needs to be scrutinized.

  12. Reflex - Sep 10, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    You going to post about the Javier Vazquez thing in every Cy Young thread from now till the award? You disagreed with his vote. We get it. But as has been pointed out, that writer had a legitimate statistical argument to make, even if it was one you disagreed with. I’d rather guys like him voting than the ones who are busy looking only at W/L records and ERA.

  13. BigOldBarn - Sep 11, 2010 at 4:09 AM

    Not only that, but pitchers never get considered for the Most Valuable PLAYER award either; since when are pitchers not players?

  14. BigOldBarn - Sep 11, 2010 at 4:10 AM

    I miss FJM too.

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