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Please Revoke this Guy's Ballot
Posted by Jason Thornbury at 11/15/2007 11:28:00 AM
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The Yankees beat writer for the NY Daily News is one of two BBWAA voters who left Josh Beckett off their Cy Young ballots. His ballot had Sabathia, Lackey and Carmona. I don't care that he didn't vote for Beckett, but his reasoning is flimsy. From his "Blogging the Bombers" blog:

"Quality starts is a great stat, one which does a good job of representing how often a pitcher gives his team a solid chance to win."

ME: A great stat? Even if you accept the premise of the stat, it still doesn't tell you anything about how a pitcher pitched. It only tells you a pitcher's results. Considering all of the variables involved, when evaluating a pitcher -- especially when doing so for Cy Young purposes -- shouldn't you go a little deeper than that?

"Beckett had 20 quality starts out of his 30 starts, 67 percent. Sabathia had 25 out of 34 (74%), Lackey had 24 out of 33 (73%), while Carmona had 26 out of 32 (81%). To me, that's a big difference. Essentially, one out of every three of Beckett's starts didn't register as quality."

By that rational, shouldn't he have voted for Dan Haren who had an AL-best 28 quality starts in 32 starts, 82 percent? I know some sabermetric-types find it useful, but I'd put quality starts on the back porch.


What about the guy who didn't even have Sabathia on his ballot at all? I'd like to hear him justify that.
Posted by kevinccp at 11/15/2007 12:25:00 PM
Quality starts is useful to be sure, but look at it this way:

6 IP, 3 ER = 4.50 ERA = 1 QS

Not exactly Cy Young material there.

I guess Ian Snell had a better year than Beckett too, as his QS% was a tick higher.

I'm sure his vote had nothing to do with the name on the front of Beckett's uni.
Posted by vtadave at 11/15/2007 12:27:00 PM
Eh, I don't have that much problem with him. Yeas, Qs% percentage is a pretty lame metric, but it's at least a half-step over those who auto-vote for whoever had the most wins in a given year. Besides, I think it's very well conceivable that Beckett was the 4th or 5th best starter in the AL, at least according to some metrics. For instance, his VORP among AL starters was 4th (

Sabathia - 65.2; Carmona - 64.0; Lackey - 60.7; Beckett - 58.6.

So, as far as I'm concerned, right result, bad methodology.
Posted by Erickson at 11/15/2007 3:58:00 PM
Ah, quality starts aren't THAT bad. It's just a lame excuse by the writer.

As for the "6 IP, 3 ER = 4.50 ERA = 1 QS" argument, you're talking about the absolute WORST a pitcher can pitch and still get a QS.

What about: "5 IP, 6 ER = 10.80 ERA = 1 W" That happens a bit too. Don't forget: "1.0 IP, 3 ER = 27.00 ERA = 1 W". That's when a closer blows a three-run lead in the top of the ninth and the team bails him out in the bottom of the ninth with just one run.

I bet if you took the stats of all pitchers in games that they got credit for a win and compared it to the stats of all pitchers in games that they got credit for a QS the latter group would blow away the former in ERA, WHIP, and K/BB.

Again, it's a lame excuse by the writer, but don't knock the QS!
Posted by kennruby at 11/15/2007 5:23:00 PM
Yes, and that's why wins shouldn't be used to evaluate a pitcher either. The fact that there are many incomplete stats out there doesn't make the case for quality starts. As I said, I'm not arguing for Beckett. I'm simply saying that using QS to evaluate a pitcher misses the mark -- by a long shot.
Posted by Superthorn at 11/16/2007 5:54:00 AM
Baseball is more political than any other sport, so why are you surprised? It is a sport about the have's. (Yankees, BoSox, etc). Its a sport that is broke, so who cares.
Posted by mikelj1 at 11/16/2007 9:41:00 AM
I know QS isn't a perfect stat either - I was just making the case that it was better than wins at evaluating the true worth of a starting pitcher. Since your average BBWAA voter probably wouldn't use something like VORP, let alone know what it is, it's about as good a metric as I can think of as a jumping off point for the top starters in a league in a given year.

Now, if the ONLY thing a voter looks at is QS or QS%, then he's just being unreasonable.
Posted by kennruby at 11/16/2007 10:01:00 AM
Nothing makes me madder than when they use wins as a reason to pick one pitcher over another.
Posted by bscwik at 11/19/2007 10:19:00 AM
A-Rod not getting all the MVP first-place votes is silly, too. I don't dig the guy, but no one can justly claim that he wasn't a slam dunk.
Posted by spianow at 11/22/2007 6:50:00 AM

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