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Wins matter for the Cy Young Award. Except when they don't.

Sep 14, 2010, 12:04 PM EDT

How can one man think Zack Greinke's 2009 Cy Young Award was "most deserving" and casually dismiss Felix Hernandez in 2010? Read on, my friends. Read on!

Excerpt from Jon Paul Morosi’s column about David Price and CC Sabathia’s battle last night:

And where was Cy Young candidate Felix Hernandez during all of this? In Seattle, with his last-place team, about as far away from meaningful baseball as a pitcher can get . . . There’s an award for a pitcher such as Hernandez. It’s called the ERA
title. Not the Cy Young Award, as voted on by the Baseball Writers’
Association of America.

To be the best, one must do what Sabathia and Price have all
season — compete against the best lineups, in postseason-type
atmospheres, before crazed crowds at hitter-friendly ballparks. And win.

Excerpt from Jon Paul Morosi’s column last year, calling Zack Greinke’s Cy Young Award “most deserving”:

“I do feel Greinke deserved the award,” Justin Verlander said in an e-mail on Tuesday. “He had an outstanding year.
“I know that his win (total) wasn’t as good as some would like to see
out of a Cy Young winner, but I believe that wins are not the most
telling stat of how a pitcher performed.”
How true . . . Verlander said Greinke’s 2.16 ERA “speaks for itself,” and he is absolutely right.

I guess win total matters more this year than it did last year. And apparently Hernandez’s ERA doesn’t speak as loudly as Greinke’s did.

Man, it must be hard to vote for the Cy Young Award, what with the criteria for winning it changing year-in-year out. Gotta stay on your toes!

  1. pcrm - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    ‘To be the best, one must do what Sabathia and Price have all season — compete against the best lineups’
    Except that Felix has pitched against more teams with a winning record than Sabathia. You’d think journalists would do the tiniest bit of research.
    Actually, looking at those splits works in David Price’s favor more than anyone. He’s had 21 starts against teams with a winning record and posted a 2.67 ERA, while posting a 2.98 ERA in 7 starts against teams with losing records.

  2. John_Michael - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    I’m convinced that the vast majority of writers pen their columns based upon what’s easy and/or what’s trendy to write about. On one hand, research stats and compare-contrast Felix vs. CC with some earnest analysis and on the other, W’s and grit and playoffs and New York bias and ‘phew, out of the office on time today.’
    Besides, Morosi doesn’t even spell his first name right. He took the shortcut there too.

  3. BC - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    Greinke was also 16-8, not 11-10.

  4. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    So his reasoning is what today? That batters don’t care about their stats when they play the Mariners? Because IMO they try just as hard to maintain their batting avg. etc…. no matter what team they face. Why does Morosi even argue the point? He should just come out and say he can’t stand Felix and his big ole earrings. If you were to break it down further though, wouldn’t a poor defense (mariners) vs. a good defense (Rays and Yankees) make it harder for Felix to maintain such a low era? I would think so. His argument is piss poor and incomplete.

  5. John_Michael - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:26 PM

    damn html.

  6. F. Liriano - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:50 PM

    I’m completely lapping the AL field in FIP/xFIP. Does FIP still mean anything or was that just a 2009 thing?

  7. GP - Sep 14, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    So are you saying that Greinke’s record was ‘close enough’ to what’s expected that it was easier for narrow minded folk like Jon to look past the wins and actually analyze the full breadth of a pitcher’s performance?

  8. Jon - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    I like you, F. Liriano. I like you a lot. I like your FIP, your xFIP, your K/BB–all among the best in the AL this season. You’ve pitched amazingly well for a playoff team. Good stuff.
    But you’ve only thrown 172 innings. Felix has thrown 225; CC has thrown 217. There is VALUE in those extra innings, and that makes them slightly more valuable than you.
    Think of it this way: Mariano Rivera has a better ERA, FIP, and K/BB than you do. But 53 innings is only so valuable. We can’t give him the Cy, nor can we give it to you.

  9. Nikoli - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    “….compete against the best lineups, in postseason-type atmospheres, before crazed crowds at hitter-friendly ballparks. And win.”
    Kind of ironic that neither actually won last night. So, CC and David earned the same number of wins last night as Felix who was sitting in Seattle, with his last place team, and so on.

  10. geoknows - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    From the same article, here’s Morosi’s explanation of why he favored Greinke last year, but not Felix this year:
    “Greinke got off to a historic start and gave hope to Royals fans early in the season. He was more successful than Hernandez in the meaningful games.”
    Pretty lame, but whatever.

  11. Kiwicricket - Sep 14, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    I am afraid the viewing and discerning public will just have to lump it. This writers reasoning is bogus, but the fact is you can’t have a guy with 12 wins winning the CY award. Take a quick flick through the past 15 years and see who could of entered the frame if this was the case. Clemens would have 1 or 2 more, which makes me nauseous.

  12. Giant Space Ants - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    Yeah, all I got from Morosi was “Blah, blah, blah, wins when it counts, blah, blah, King George said we can’t settle past the Appalachain, so I’m sure there’s nothing worth covering over there, blah, blah, blah.”

  13. okobojicat - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    Mariners actually have a very very good defense.

  14. Panda_Claus - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Actually 11-11 for those scoring at home.
    I’m getting a strong feeling David Price may be the AL winner this year.

  15. Panda_Claus - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    I commented on this the other day, but two starters in Cy Young award history have ever won with fewer than 16 wins. Fernando had 13 in a shortened season and Lincecum with 15 last year.

  16. Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Plus infinity for referencing the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
    /history nerd

  17. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Well then the Yankees and Rays have Very, very,very good defense. Because they’re ranked above Seattle defensively by everyone.

  18. Jonny5 - Sep 14, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    You are correct in that i should have not used the word “poor”. That was wrong of me. Just not as good. that’s what i meant.

  19. F. Liriano - Sep 14, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    I have a +6.1 WAR. Hernandez: +5.9. Sabathia: +4.3. Price: +3.9.

  20. Kevin S. - Sep 14, 2010 at 5:00 PM

    The difference between you and Felix is negligible.

  21. Kung - Sep 14, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    Yep, those early games were really meaningful in securing the Royals’ playoff seat.

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