Thursday, November 18, 2010

King Felix and the devalued win stat

Felix Hernandez' 13-12 won-loss record is easily the worst
of any starting pitcher to win a Cy Young. 
Felix Hernandez is your 2010 Cy Young Award winner, and well done by the BBWAA.

Tom Tango (via Rob Neyer) hit the nail on the head today even before the vote was announced: This isn't about the new sabermetric stats, such as fielding independent pitching and wins above replacement, taking over. It's about the growing realization that the Win isn't as meaningful as it was 100 years ago, or 20, or even 10.

In 1987, a pitcher led the National League in ERA, strikeouts and fewest hits per nine innings, but he finished fifth in the Cy Young balloting because his record was just 8-16. Nolan Ryan was clearly the best pitcher in the league, but it didn't get any recognition.

That wouldn't happen today. I don't know that King Felix would have won the award this year had his record been below .500, but he would certainly have been more in the running than Ryan was.

I suspect the turning point for the writers was 2005, when Johan Santana was heads and shoulders above the league but Bartolo Colon won 21 games and copped the award.

Lesson learned — and acted upon.

1 comment:

  1. I was pleasantly surprised that they got it right and awarded the prize to King Felix. Now if Gardy would quit utilizing his stopper for so-called 9th inning "save situations". . . A guy can dream right?