The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Who Are the Best 2010 AL Cy Young Candidates Through Games of August 20

Since rilkefan asked about Trevor Cahill being a Cy Young Candidate in a previous thread, I figured I’d do a quick comparison of the pitchers who should be in the running for the Cy Young Award.

In my mind, the most important statistic to look at when evaluating a pitcher’s value to his team is RA, simply because it is an exact match to how many runs a pitcher has allowed per nine innings.  While it does get influenced by the errors made behind a pitcher, as far as I’m concerned the pitcher is still responsible for what happens after an error is made.  Suppose a pitcher gets two outs in an inning, at which point an error is committed on a play that would have ended the inning.  If the pitcher proceeds to give up ten runs, ERA would ignore those runs, whereas RA would not. 

That being said, when looking at who should be mentioned in the Cy Young, we do want to try and avoid penalizing a pitcher too much for his defensive support or lack thereof.  For that reason, I usually like to also look at a pitcher’s FIP, which focuses only on the HRs, BBs and strikeouts of a pitcher while regressing the batting average on balls in play against them to league average.

That’s not ideal either, because there IS a skill component to a pitcher’s BABIP against.  It’s just that you need a very big sample to ascertain it.  Over at the Book Blog, MGL wrote a nice summary about understanding DIPS (defense independent pitching stats that explains this in more detail.

Using FIP as the exclusive measure of a pitcher’s value is just not common sense to me, because it moves a little too far into the abstract when compared to what actually happened on the field.  So I would never use it by itself.

I think the stat that bridges the gap between RA and FIP in a way that I like is component ERA.  Component ERA takes a look at everything a pitcher’s allowed and converts it to a linear weights run value.  The advantage of this is you give the pitcher credit if he does have BABIP skill, and you remove the impact of the bullpen support they may get.  I find this especially useful for relievers, since a reliever can give up a bunch of runs when relieving another pitcher with men on base that don’t get charged directly to him.  It also looks at the big picture by ignoring the sequence in which events happen, which is something that can be missed by RA.  A pitcher who walks the bases loaded and gives up a grand slam is probably not four times worse than a pitcher who gives up a solo homer followed by three BBs, but that’s what RA would tell you. 

The problem with component ERA is that you don’t necessarily want to absolve the pitcher of his responsibility of a bad sequence, and it does not account for the defense behind the pitcher.

So, my preference is to calculate the runs saved above a replacement level pitcher using RA, FIP and CERA and then take the average of them.  So here’s what that looks like:

Player Team Lg Role IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP CERA RSAR FRSAR CRSAR aRSAR
Cliff Lee - - - AL SP 169.0 150 57 52 9 10 147 3.04 2.77 2.35 1.71 46.2 53.3 52.0 50.5
Jon Lester Red Sox AL SP 161.0 127 55 50 10 55 165 3.07 2.80 3.13 2.32 47.3 40.5 38.8 42.2
Felix Hernandez Mariners AL SP 189.0 163 68 55 13 52 172 3.24 2.62 3.19 2.65 41.7 36.4 38.5 38.8
John Danks White Sox AL SP 162.3 137 62 60 10 49 125 3.44 3.33 3.40 2.33 41.1 35.9 38.9 38.6
CC Sabathia Yankees AL SP 181.7 165 70 63 15 61 143 3.47 3.12 3.77 2.93 45.4 32.7 31.4 36.5
Francisco Liriano Twins AL SP 151.3 144 58 58 3 50 165 3.45 3.45 2.43 2.76 33.5 45.5 29.1 36.0
Colby Lewis Rangers AL SP 155.0 131 60 58 15 50 154 3.48 3.37 3.54 2.65 39.4 32.9 31.6 34.6
Jered Weaver Angels AL SP 168.0 141 65 58 20 43 186 3.48 3.11 3.30 2.68 35.6 33.2 33.7 34.2
Clay Buchholz Red Sox AL SP 133.3 109 43 35 7 50 89 2.90 2.36 3.76 2.41 41.7 24.2 30.7 32.2
C.J. Wilson Rangers AL SP 149.3 115 59 53 8 70 116 3.56 3.19 3.93 2.57 36.8 25.1 31.8 31.2
Justin Verlander Tigers AL SP 162.3 141 69 68 11 62 152 3.83 3.77 3.45 2.83 31.2 32.3 29.8 31.1
Trevor Cahill Athletics AL SP 148.7 103 49 42 13 44 86 2.97 2.54 4.17 2.14 38.2 13.4 38.7 30.1
Carl Pavano Twins AL SP 174.0 172 70 68 16 29 100 3.62 3.52 3.83 2.99 35.2 25.2 29.0 29.8
Ricky Romero Blue Jays AL SP 160.0 145 68 61 11 58 136 3.83 3.43 3.58 3.00 29.7 28.6 26.5 28.3
David Price Rays AL SP 151.7 127 55 48 10 64 141 3.26 2.85 3.54 2.94 34.0 24.2 26.1 28.1
Gavin Floyd White Sox AL SP 156.3 158 75 69 11 48 129 4.32 3.97 3.44 3.13 24.3 33.9 23.6 27.3
Zack Greinke Royals AL SP 166.0 162 83 72 15 37 139 4.50 3.90 3.50 2.98 20.4 33.1 27.7 27.1
Gio Gonzalez Athletics AL SP 154.0 129 61 58 10 70 127 3.56 3.39 3.80 2.99 29.3 20.2 25.5 25.0
Mark Buehrle White Sox AL SP 160.3 178 74 69 13 35 68 4.15 3.87 4.06 3.33 27.9 23.7 20.6 24.1
Phil Hughes Yankees AL SP 140.7 132 62 61 18 38 116 3.97 3.90 4.02 3.12 27.4 21.4 21.3 23.4
Andy Pettitte Yankees AL SP 115.7 101 41 37 12 38 90 3.19 2.88 4.06 2.93 32.5 17.2 20.0 23.2
Jason Vargas Mariners AL SP 145.7 132 53 51 14 42 92 3.27 3.15 4.07 3.02 31.5 13.8 23.7 23.0
Shaun Marcum Blue Jays AL SP 144.0 134 63 59 18 33 120 3.94 3.69 3.95 3.14 25.0 19.8 21.6 22.1
Dallas Braden Athletics AL SP 136.0 131 59 52 13 26 86 3.90 3.44 3.82 3.05 20.8 17.5 21.7 20.0
Jeremy Guthrie Orioles AL SP 161.0 152 75 71 19 42 84 4.19 3.97 4.68 3.25 25.3 10.9 22.1 19.5
Jeff Niemann Rays AL SP 141.3 121 50 49 19 44 102 3.18 3.12 4.54 3.31 32.9 6.8 18.5 19.4
Brian Duensing Twins AL RP 76.3 61 18 17 5 19 42 2.12 2.00 3.78 2.22 26.4 11.4 19.2 19.0
Brett Cecil Blue Jays AL SP 125.0 112 57 55 13 39 89 4.10 3.96 4.06 3.00 19.4 15.6 20.7 18.5
Brandon Morrow Blue Jays AL SP 131.3 121 68 65 10 60 153 4.66 4.45 3.39 3.48 12.2 26.2 14.7 17.7
Mariano Rivera Yankees AL RP 44.3 24 7 5 1 7 37 1.42 1.02 2.50 0.49 19.3 14.1 19.7 17.7
Matt Garza Rays AL SP 156.3 139 68 65 21 47 124 3.91 3.74 4.40 3.46 23.7 10.1 17.7 17.2
Joaquin Benoit Rays AL RP 44.0 20 6 6 4 7 61 1.23 1.23 2.09 0.54 18.1 14.0 19.3 17.1
Max Scherzer Tigers AL SP 137.7 127 66 59 15 56 126 4.31 3.86 4.12 3.58 18.9 17.2 13.8 16.6
Daisuke Matsuzaka Red Sox AL SP 110.0 96 53 51 9 51 95 4.34 4.17 4.06 3.15 16.9 16.2 16.3 16.5
Darren O’Day Rangers AL RP 49.0 35 9 8 1 10 30 1.65 1.47 3.16 1.42 20.4 12.3 16.7 16.4
Daniel Bard Red Sox AL RP 54.7 31 13 12 5 20 57 2.14 1.98 3.46 1.58 19.4 11.6 17.7 16.2
Kevin Slowey Twins AL SP 134.3 140 64 63 17 25 98 4.29 4.22 4.03 3.52 17.2 16.4 14.5 16.0
Joel Pineiro Angels AL SP 131.3 140 62 61 13 32 83 4.25 4.18 3.98 3.53 16.6 16.1 14.0 15.6
Francisco Rodriguez Angels AL RP 36.3 33 16 16 3 16 31 3.96 3.96 3.97 3.34 23.3 16.9 4.6 14.9
John Lackey Red Sox AL SP 161.7 186 87 83 14 59 104 4.84 4.62 4.23 4.04 15.7 21.0 7.9 14.9
Doug Fister Mariners AL SP 121.7 130 57 53 9 23 65 4.22 3.92 3.76 3.37 13.6 15.8 15.1 14.8
Jake Peavy White Sox AL SP 107.0 98 55 55 13 34 93 4.63 4.63 4.13 3.21 13.0 15.0 15.1 14.4
Fausto Carmona Indians AL SP 156.3 160 82 72 10 54 84 4.72 4.14 4.17 3.60 11.6 15.9 15.4 14.3
Joakim Soria Royals AL RP 51.0 45 11 11 4 14 55 1.94 1.94 3.00 2.55 18.7 12.8 11.0 14.1
Rafael Soriano Rays AL RP 47.3 29 11 9 3 10 40 2.09 1.71 3.03 1.18 14.9 10.1 17.4 14.1
Ervin Santana Angels AL SP 167.0 166 79 73 22 55 131 4.26 3.93 4.51 3.91 21.0 10.6 10.7 14.1
Matt Thornton White Sox AL RP 47.3 37 14 14 3 15 64 2.66 2.66 2.40 2.23 14.1 15.6 11.9 13.8
Darren Oliver Rangers AL RP 49.7 42 17 14 3 13 56 3.08 2.54 2.64 2.36 12.7 15.3 11.7 13.3
J.J. Putz White Sox AL RP 45.0 32 14 13 4 11 52 2.80 2.60 2.84 1.77 12.7 12.6 13.6 12.9
Brett Anderson Athletics AL SP 56.0 53 20 18 2 8 39 3.21 2.89 2.91 2.42 12.8 12.8 12.9 12.9

FIP: Fielding Independent Pitching
CERA: Component ERA
RSAR: Runs saved above a replacement level pitcher using park-adjusted RA minus pitcher RA divided by nine times IP
FRSAR: RSAR using FIP instead of RA
CRSAR: RSAR using CERA instead of RA
aRSAR: Average of RSAR, FRSAR, and CRSAR

It’s Cliff Lee and everyone else at this point, although Felix Hernandez will get a big boost after his perfect game tonight.  Trevor Cahill’s having a great year, but he hasn;t thrown enough innings to really be in the top five at this point.

--Posted at 12:40 pm by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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Hmmm, Unnamed Starter and AJ both mysteriously not on the list.

Great work.

And if only Andy stayed healthy, he’d probably be 8 or 9 slots higher.

“Best Candidate” of course can mean two things.  While Lee will likely be the most deserving, I also don’t think he’ll win.  Until last year, the Cy Young Predictor has been very accurate (since it’s been a predicter the top starter on it has won each year until last).  By that, CC is in the lead.  Considering the MVPs Jeter has lost, I won’t cry if CC wins the award over Lee…

[3] Couldn’t Greinke winning last year be a sign that the age of over valuing pitcher wins may be at a close and that CC’s large win total won’t matter as much?

I think King Felix is going to squeak out a win.

[4] Yes and no.  For one, Grienke was 2nd on the Predicter last year.  Not that I expect voters look at that, but you’d just expect him to get a lot of votes.  To date, Lee isn’t even in the top 10 this year.  For two, at least one sabremetrically inclined voter had a Cy Young vote last year, Keith Law.  Law doesn’t have a vote this year, IDK who does of course.  For three, there were no 20 game winners last year, which helped Grienke’s 16 look better.  This year there’s a good chance there will be 2 or 3 guys with 20 wins.  Plus, while 16-8 was a low W-L record, Lee so far is only 10-6.  He may not even get to 15 wins, through no fault of his own.  Finally, Lee is 4th in ERA so far.  Grienke was 1st by a solid margin.

Of course I don’t know for sure what will happen, but I have a feeling that enough voters still look at wins, and even if they’re willing to vote for a guy who is 16-8 when there are no 20-game winners, may note vote for a guy who is 14-7 when there *are* 20-game winners.  Also, even some of the ones who think wins are overrated, may still not vote for the guy with the 4th best ERA.

Oh, and Felix believe it or not has a *losing* record (8-10).  At best he’s going to be like 14-10, and I just don’t think that will cut it.

Four years from now, Banuelos is pitching game one of the WS.  He throws a 97 mph fb on the lower inside corner.  David Ortiz, leading off for the Mets, breaks his bat, but shortstop DJ throws the easy ground ball into the seats.  On the next pitch (swinging strike) Posada tries to pick Ortiz off at second, but the ball rolls into CF too slowly for Gardner to throw Ortiz out at third.  On the next pitch Bonds hits a nubber to A-Rod at first.  1-0 Mets.

I think the voters are starting to get a bit more open-minded about things besides wins when voting for Cy Young.  Sabathia won the Cy Young in 2007 with a 19-10 record and 3.21 ERA over Josh Beckett, who went 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA.  They correctly understood that the 40 extra innings by CC was worth more than the extra win and three fewer losses by Beckett.

I actually think it’s bad for the Yankees if CC wins the Cy Young, because it may increase the likelihood of him opting out.  Then again, if teams are smart, whether or not he’s won a Cy Young or two shouldn’t effect their valuation of him.

[6] The record sucks, but his ERA, SOs, WHIP and IP are going to be huge for him.

Felix is on pace to pitch something like 240 innings with an ERA under 3 and well over 200 Ks! That’s pretty ridiculous. But, you’re probably right.

whether or not he’s won a Cy Young or two shouldn’t effect their valuation of him.

I think there is a non-negligible financial benefit to a team signing a Cy-Young winner that would be reflected in his next contract, so I too hope he is a candidate but doesn’t outright win.

[7] Posada is still playing catcher in 4 years?!

[0] Thanks by the way for the data.

What’s up with Cahill’s ERA/FIP/CERA?  2.54     4.17     2.14

[12] FIP only relies on Ks and BBs treats all BIP the same. So a GB pitcher who doesn’t K people will rarely have a great FIP, unless they never walk anyone or give up a HR.

[11] Banuelos never gives up an earned run pitching to Posada, so he’s kept on to catch once/rotation until Selig forces him to retire after the 2016 AS game in which the battery throws a perfect 27-K game and the RS petition to move to the NL.

Arod DH, Cervelli and Pena batting 8/9 so no breather for poor struggling Felix.

What’s up with Cahill’s ERA/FIP/CERA?  2.54   4.17   2.14

Cahill’s got a BABIP against of .213 and has allowed 90 non-HR hits.  For RA/ERA and FIP, that’s not considered fluky and he gets full credit for it.

If you regress that .213 to league average via FIP, you’re adding about 38 non-HR hits to his line.  Those 38 hits should be about 2/3 singles and 1/3 doubles.  So you’re adding about 25 singles and 13 doubles when you look at his FIP, which is equal to about 23 runs.

From KG’s chat at Bpro:

Benjamin (Cape Cod, Massachusetts): I’m getting worried, please tell me my Sox still have a better farm system than those boys in Pinstripes.

Kevin Goldstein: I love how worked up Sox and Yankees fans get worked up about the other team’s SYSTEM. For now: Advantage Yankees, sorry.

Yikes, K/9 5.2, K/BB 2.0.  Think I’ll suspect luck, the A’s being able to field, and the area of foul territory in Oakland until proven otherwise.

Liriano: 0 unearned runs.  Wonder what pitcher/team/scorer have been best at suppressing unearned runs in modern times.

Wonder what pitcher/team/scorer have been best at suppressing unearned runs in modern times.

Career-wise, I think it’s Curt Schilling who has the highest ratio of ER/R.

[20] Probably because he was such an ass that everyone wanted his ERA to go up.

Wow, thanks for doing a massive, thorough post just to prove that Jon Lester deserves the Cy this year! I really needed that.

SSF with the jinx.

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