Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Cy Young Stuff

Boy, for a guy who's sick of all the Cy Young talk, I sure am posting about it a lot. You might recall a post 5 weeks ago where I changed my mind on Beckett for Cy Young, citing a Joe Posnanski blog post where he made a compelling case for Mr. Beckett. Now Posnanski has made another argument for adding the playoff totals to the regular season totals to factor into the Cy Young voting:
So let me clarify: I’m not saying or suggesting that three postseason starts are MORE important than the 34 in the regular season. I’m saying that I do not understand why we don’t count them at all. I’m saying it was a virtual toss-up between Sabathia and Beckett going into the postseason — it’s not like Beckett stunk during the season — but after the postseason there was absolutely no doubt which of them was better.

Sabathia in 2007 (total): 20-9, 3.44 ERA, 256.3 innings, 255 hits, 218 K, 44 walks.
Beckett in 2007 (total): 24-7, 3.00 ERA, 230.67 innings, 208 hits, 221 K, 42 walks.

That makes it a pretty clear-cut choice, doesn't it? The whole post, as always, is fascinating.


Culture Snob said...

The reason for not considering the postseason for awards is simple and sound: It gives more performance opportunities to those whose teams made the playoffs.

Considering only the regular season puts all players on the same 162-game playing field.

Another key reason is that the playoffs garner a different level of attention, and successes and failures are magnified. The postseason is always a small sample size, yet it would certainly carry greater weight in voters' minds were it considered. Had Beckett sucked in the playoffs, would you want that to detract from his regular-season success?

Of course, the postseason is more important than the regular season. But considering how little agreement there is on whether there's any such thing as a "clutch" baseball player -- let alone how we'd quantify that -- it seems silly to factor it into the equation.

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

But the awards - other than the Cy Young, incidentally - are regularly given out exclusively to players who are on playoff teams.

Andre Dawson in 1987, ARod in 2003, etc. But those are few and far between. There's a reason Terry Pendleton won the MVP for Atlanta that year: his sucky team made the playoffs. Was he the best player in the NL? No, but he was the best player on a crappy team that made the playoffs.

And yes, if MLB were to go to such a format for voting, I would fully expect Beckett to lose his shot at the award if he sucked in the postseason.

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

Great timing: Joe Posnanski has just posted a great blog entry about the worst MVP choices.

Culture Snob said...

Well, obviously not exclusively.

And I think there's a good reason that, generally, the MVP award goes to guys on playoff teams, and the Cy Young not so much: MVPs play every day, and starting pitchers play every fifth day. Writers (rightly or wrongly) believe that if an everyday player is the most valuable in the league, his team ought to be in the playoffs. For the Cy Young, they recognize that the playoff fortunes of a starting pitcher's team are largely out of his hands.

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

Absolutely, I should have said almost exclusively.

And for some reason Blogger is not allowing me to post a link in my comments. Sorry. Just put these 2 sections together: