Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Phil Rogers Should Be Punched

I received an e-mail today from my friend Matt with the subject line "I wish I could punch this guy." After reading the article to which he linked, I couldn't agree more. In fact, I'd hold him down as Matt kicked him, then I'd call others over, have them read the article, and hold him down while they kicked him, too.

To sum it up, Phil Rogers attempts to make a case for John Lackey to be in the top 3 in the Cy Young voting. The merits of being top 3 and not the Cy Young aside, I can't really argue with Lackey being #3. But Rogers attempts to knock Beckett out of the top 3, and his reasoning is about as flimsy as they come (italics mine for emphasis):

For the sake of argument, I put together a simple formula to compare the top four Cy Young vote-getters. It ranks them among each other in victories, losses, ERA, innings and strikeouts. Because I think ERA is the most important, I've given it twice the weight. That formula gives Sabathia a slight edge over Lackey and a significant edge over Beckett and Carmona, who would be tied for third.

Rogers then goes on to suggest that he could make a case for weighing ERA three times as much as everything else, which would knock Beckett to fourth in the rankings. As Matt said in his e-mail to me, "Evidently K/9 or WHIP don't matter. I laughed when he suggested weighing ERA three times as much as the other stats. Why don't we weigh starts at Jacobs Field or players over 300 pounds?"

Kids, if you're just learning the game of baseball, you need to know that victories and losses are the most overrated statistics for pitchers. ERA is also overrated, to a point. K/9 is the one statistic that is attributable almost solely to the pitcher, so it seems to be the most obviously important statistic that Rogers forgets, setting aside all the sabrmetric stats that I won't even get into, like WARP3, VORP, etc.

Like a lot of writers, Phil Rogers - who writes for the Chicago Tribune, by the way - is probably jealous of all the success our teams have had and he feels the need to attack our successful players. I'd never read a Phil Rogers article before because, as I recall, he tends to write about obscure minor leaguers who never pan out, and that bores me.

And speaking of stupid baseball fans and writers, I found some David Eckstein gems today and e-mailed them to FJM because they hate Eckstein much more than I do and are much funnier than I. Naturally, they jumped right on the opportunity and spewed their typical bile-filled hatred at Buster Olney, who is actually one of my favorite baseball writers, and ESPN.com readers.

2 comments:

Travis said...

I think an important thing to look at more so then ERA is the opponents faced. Detroit, Minnesota, Kansas City and Chicago ranked 3rd, 25th, 27th and 28th respectively in runs scored.

Meantime New York, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Toronto ranked 1st, 15th, 16th and 17th respectively in runs scored.

18 of Sabathia's starts came within the division while Beckett had 14 in his division.

How much higher would Sabathia's ERA faced if 3 of the 4 other teams in his division didn't have pathetic offenses.

Red Sox Stats Guy said...

Travis,
Thanks for posting your thoughts. I agree 100% that you can use any number of different statistical measures to prove that Beckett could have - and, possibly should have - been Cy Young. I was just pointing out the stupidity of Rogers's "logic" and didn't want to delve too deep since I already have.