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Awards - AL Cy Young
Posted by Stanley Gibson at 10/3/2008 1:43:00 PM
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AL Cy Young

This should be the shortest installment of the awards, right? We should skip the nonsense and give his award to the most deserving and feel-good story of the year, Cliff Lee, right? Wrong.

Not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but instead of listing eight or so candidates who just don't stack up. Let’s have a head-to-head battle between Lee and his only real competition, Toronto’s Roy Halladay.

We will start with the hard stats that many view as the basis for winning the award:

Wins = Lee 22 – Halladay 20

1-0 Lee

ERA = Lee 2.54 – Halladay 2.78

2-0 Lee

Strikeouts = Halladay 206 – Lee 170

2-1 Lee

WHIP = Halladay 1.05 – Lee 1.11

2-2 Tie

Opp. BA = Halladay .237 – Lee .253

3-2 Halladay

OK. That’s that. Take it for what you will. Halladay wins in three categories to two. However, Lee wins the two most important categories with wins and ERA. But wait, there are a couple more categories that favors Halladay, including complete games (9, 1st in AL), innings pitched (246, 1st in AL), K/BB ratio (5.28, 1st in AL), hits/9 (8.05, 5th in AL). Both pitchers had two shutouts and each had 23 quality starts this season.

Lee backers could make the argument that he led the AL in BB/9 (1.37) showing his impeccable control this season AND the fact that he not only won 22 games, but lost only three, for an unheard of .880 winning percentage.

To me, a stat that comes into play here is run support. How else could Cliff Lee manage a 22-3 record with an opponents batting average that ranked 17th in the league? Lee received 6.13 runs per start (9th in the AL) and Halladay was able to win 20 with 4.72 runs (39th in the AL).

It isn’t easy to vote against Cliff Lee, but after examining this thing up and down, I have to give the nod to “Doc”. That said, I think the writers give it to Lee.

My Ballot:

1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
4. Mike Mussina
5. Jon Lester
6. Joe Saunders
7. A.J. Burnett
8. Ervin Santana
9. James Shields
10. Mariano Rivera

2008 MLB Awards

NL MVP – Albert Pujols, 1B, STL
AL MVP – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum, SP, SF
AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay, SP, TOR

NL ROY – Tomorrow
AL ROY – Sunday


As someone who traded Giambi for E. Santana after one week and then cruised to a championship on Ervin's back, I must say that I am surprised to see you listing him 8th behind guys like Mussina and Saunders. Just for comparison sake with Saunders:
Wins - Saunders wins 17 to 16
ERA - Saunders wins 3.41 to 3.49
ratio - Santana wins 1.12 to 1.21
BABIP - Santana wins .237 to .253
K's - Santana blows him away 214 to 103

I'm not saying K's are the most important stat but I cannot see how Santana finishes 8th on your list... same type of numbers with Moose versus Santana... give him some respect please...
Posted by TheSportsguy at 10/3/2008 2:01:00 PM
Not even going to go into detail, but Dice-K shouldn't be in the top 5 let alone 3. Look at his numbers (WHIP, total Ks, total wins, etc.).
Posted by kevinccp at 10/3/2008 4:35:00 PM
"How else could Cliff Lee manage a 22-3 record with an opponents batting average that ranked 17th in the league? Lee received 6.13 runs per start" . . . That's a really misleading way of shading things. Lee had the second-best WHIP among AL starters (only behind Doc), and he led the league in BB/9 and HR/9. And oh yeah, ERA. It's not like the guy was winning a slew of games because the Indians were winning 8-6 for him. Lee also had some great no-decisions that didn't turn into wins; a few blown wins from the bullpen, and another 0-0 game through nine that was decided in extra innings.

I'm not saying Halladay is a bad pick and there's certainly a case for him, but Cliff Lee didn't win the karma lottery with this season. He earned it. (The luckiest part of his season came on fly balls; only five percent left the yard on him this year, best in the league. But otherwise, we gotta tip our caps.)
Posted by spianow at 10/3/2008 6:56:00 PM
All valid points.
Posted by stanley_gibson at 10/4/2008 6:10:00 AM
The fact that Doc pitched 9 complete games though hurts him because obviously his ERA is higher in the latter innings AND it also leaves him vulnerable to more losses.
Posted by nayfel at 10/4/2008 6:09:00 PM

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