Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

NL Cy Young

So, Brandon Webb (Ari) emerged from the rubble to win the NL Cy Young. This doesn't surprise me, as I picked Webb (my second-place prediction didn't fare so well - I thought Carlos Zambrano (ChC) would be the next most logical choice, and he finished a very distant fifth). Was Webb's victory deserved?

The top five vote-getters were Webb, Trevor Hoffman (SD), Chris Carptener (StL), Roy Oswalt (Hou), and Zambrano. To me, closers should only win the award when they have absolutely phenomenol years, and no starters blow them away. While none of the starters in this batch had amazing years, Hoffman didn't have the kind of year where I think it's justified for a closer to win.

That leaves four starting pitchers, and their "important" numbers looked like this:

Webb: 16-8 / 3.10 ERA / 178-50 K-BB / 235 innings
Carpenter: 15-8 / 3.09 ERA / 184-43 K-BB / 221.2 innings
Oswalt: 15-8 / 2.98 ERA / 166-38 K-BB / 220.2 innings
Zambrano: 16-7 / 3.41 ERA / 210-115 K-BB / 214 innings

Alright, forget about Zambrano - his is the outlier (to the bad side) on ERA, and while he struck out substantially more batters than anyone else, he also walked a ton more.

Now, I'm pleased that I got it right on Webb - but looking at these numbers again I'm not sure why he won. If I'm going to be consistent, I have to admit that I normally don't think wins are a very valuable stat, and ERA and K-BB are more valuable indicators of a pitchers success. While Webb is not far behind Carpetner and Oswalt in ERA, he is behind. This could be partly because of the stadia that these players call home - some ballparks just give up more hits. But a .12 point difference between Webb and Oswalt seems substantial enough to be viewed as real.

Ultimately, I think this race is a toss-up. I'll stand by Webb because he played for the worst team amongst the three, so he was more important to his team. But, the Cy Young Award is NOT the Pitcher's MVP Award, so that logic doesn't suit me that well either. I guess I'll have to settle for just saying that nobody in the National League really stood out enough to deserve to win, and Webb is at least one of the top 3 available candidates.


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