David and Cliff: The Cy Young Race

A hot topic in today’s chat was the AL Cy Young race. I think Cliff Lee is the clear favorite to win the award, but a lot of folks chimed in that they believe that David Price would win the award if voting were held today, due to his superior win totals and the way the BBWAA has voted in the past. To support their argument, they point to this article by Jon Heyman, in which he gives his mid-season Cy Young vote to Price over Lee.

I think most members of the BBWAA are smarter than Jon Heyman. And I think when they actually look at the facts, Price’s win total won’t be as impressive to them as one might think. Let’s take a look through the game logs and see just how he’s performed in the 14 games he’s been awarded a victory, using just basic stats that every sportswriter will look at.

April 9th, 9-3 win vs NYY: 7 2/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 7 K
April 14th, 9-1 win vs BAL: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 BB, 7 K
April 25th, 6-0 win vs TOR: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 HR, 1 BB, 9 K
May 7th, 4-1 win vs OAK: 7 2/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 4 BB, 6 K
May 12th, 4-3 win vs LAA: 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 6 K
May 18th, 6-2 win vs CLE: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 5 K
May 23rd, 10-6 vs HOU: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 2 HR, 3 BB, 2 K
June 2nd, 7-3 vs TOR: 8 IP, 9 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 0 BB, 3 K
June 9th, 10-1 vs TOR: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 HR, 5 BB, 4 K
June 15th, 10-4 vs ATL: 5 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 3 BB, 7 K
June 26th, 5-3 vs ARI: 8 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 11 K
July 7th, 6-4 vs BOS: 7 2/3 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 BB, 10 K
July 24th, 6-3 vs CLE: 7 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 1 HR, 4 BB, 5 K
July 29th, 4-2 vs DET: 6 1/3 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 2 BB, 9 K

In those 14 starts, the Rays have scored 96 runs, or 6.85 runs per game, including scoring 9+ runs on five different occasions. In those games, it really didn’t matter how Price pitched – if he went five innings, he was getting a win. In one of the starts, he got a win despite giving up as many runs as innings pitched.

In addition, look at how many “short” starts he had. In six of the 14 starts, he failed to finish the 7th inning, relying on the bullpen to get at least the final eight outs. He only got through the 8th inning three times, and has only one complete game in his 14 wins.

By comparison, Cliff Lee has completed at least eight innings in nine consecutive starts, throwing the full nine innings in six of those. In 18 starts, he’s only failed to finish the 7th inning once. While he may only have nine victories, his teammates have scored a grand total of 14 runs in the nine starts where he was credited with a loss or a no decision.

Regardless of what you think of BBWAA members, they are smart enough to realize that the difference in win totals between Price and Lee is entirely a function of the production of their respective teammates. Price has gotten a lot of run support and relied heavily on his bullpen, while Lee has given his relievers the night off nearly every time he took the hill and routinely got nothing from his hitters.

It’s no secret to anyone reading this site that Lee has pitched better than Price this year. But, I’d argue that even despite the win totals, that distinction is pretty clear to most of the baseball writers in America as well. Once they look at the game logs (and most of them do), they’ll see the picture above, and they’ll discount the difference in wins between the two. At least, all the ones not named Heyman.

My bet – there are more smart writers in the BBWAA than you might think. Assuming that nothing changes all that much over the final two months, I think Lee wins the AL Cy Young fairly easily. And deservedly so.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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JJ
Guest
6 years 20 days ago

What about Liriano? I’m guessing he won’t have much of a chance despite being as, if not more, deserving than Lee.

Jimmy
Guest
Jimmy
6 years 20 days ago

no he isn’t. not even close.

just because his FIP is low doesn’t make him better than a pitcher going 8+ every start and putting up Maddux prime numbers.

Sixto Lezcano
Guest
Sixto Lezcano
6 years 20 days ago

Actually, yeah that does make him the better pitcher.

Liriano deserves the Cy Young were it awarded today, but obviously wouldn’t get it in the real world.

LeeTro
Member
Member
LeeTro
6 years 20 days ago

The Cy Young Award is not about how well you are predicted to do in the future; it’s about how well you did that season. I think the Rally WAR system is perfect for that, using the actual runs allowed to figure out a RAR total. Lee is first in the AL at 4.3 WAR, with Weaver, Pavano, Liriano, and Felix within .6 WAR, and Price is 11th at 3.1 WAR. I think Lee will win it, but it’s not a runaway yet.

JH
Guest
JH
6 years 20 days ago

Lee has pitched 11 more innings than Liriano despite three fewer starts. I fully expect that gap to widen. By the end of the year, the 20-25 extra innings Cliff Lee gave his teams will outweigh the less than half-run difference in FIP between them, IMO.

tpain
Guest
tpain
6 years 19 days ago

So LeeTro, pitchers should be punished for poor fielders? I know thats not all of the different between xFIP and ERA, but its part of the equation.

Bill@TDS
Guest
6 years 19 days ago

LeeTro’s post completely misinterprets FIP. Liriano’s FIP/xFIP show how well he’s done, not how well he’s predicted to do in the future. He’s been the best pitcher in the AL this season. The rest is bad outfield defense and bad luck.

LeeTro
Member
Member
LeeTro
6 years 19 days ago

There is a defensive adjustment in the number of expected runs allowed by a replacement pitcher. As far as the bad luck, I think if 2 pitchers in same environment have the same FIP and IP, but A allowed 70 runs and B allowed 80, A should win the award. It’s more of a Most Valuable Pitcher definition, but I think that’s what the award signifies.

I had a bad choice of words about FIP. I meant to say it’s the expected ERA with those peripherals, not how they’ll do in the future.

Tyler
Guest
Tyler
6 years 20 days ago

What is the story on Liriano’s season?

He leads in WAR, FIP, xFIP, his K/9 is third, yet he seems to have no noise being made about him. Is there something misleading in his numbers? I feel like those alone would point to him being the front runner for the Cy Young.

MauerPower
Member
6 years 20 days ago

I agree, Liriano has been pitching very well this season. Sure his record is 10-7 but at least 2 of those losses should be wins. W/L isn’t a great stat but you get my point. Like you mentioned he leads WAR, FIP and xFIP. That alone should give it to him.

Disco
Guest
Disco
6 years 20 days ago

I was gonna write the same exact thing.

Xeifrank
Guest
6 years 19 days ago

I agree, Lirano deserves it… but in the world we live in – it will probably go to the 2.6 WAR pitcher listed in this article.
vr, Xeifrank

James
Guest
James
6 years 19 days ago

I think the bottom line on Liriano vs. Lee is that Lee’s on-field performance trumps nebulous hypothetical metrics. The 20-30 innings make a tangible difference in that it reduces the risk for blown saves and saves the bullpen, thereby adding roster flexibility (you could carry an additional position player or a lefty specialist type). The Liriano’s “should’ve been” wins argument doesn’t hold much water. xFIP, WAR, and the like are only worth the paper they are printed on. The reality is that Liriano’s cumulative on-field performance hasn’t been clearly superior to Lee’s, but there’s a lot of baseball left.

Z2
Guest
Z2
6 years 20 days ago

Well if Price doesn’t win Cy Young, he can still win ROY.

/bbwa not smarter than you think

mbrady16
Member
mbrady16
6 years 20 days ago

Jon Heyman articles are a terrible addiction. Whenever FG authors link to him I have to read. They are like a train wreck- I just can’t take my eyes off the horror despite wanting to oh so badly. Am I the only one who feels this way?

Wobatus
Guest
Wobatus
6 years 20 days ago

Heyman may be more obstinate than, uh, not as smart as other writers. He may be perfectly aware that lee has been the better pitcher. Or maybe he doesn’t know but doesn’t really care all that much. Hasn’t seemed to have held him back in his career.

GBeck15
Guest
GBeck15
6 years 20 days ago

Lee is clearly the most deserving of the Cy Young. It’s laughable to mention anyone else at this point. Price and Liriano are having fantastic seasons, just not as good as Lee’s. I don’t see how that is a slight to them. They have no control over how well Lee has pitched.

BC
Guest
BC
6 years 20 days ago

It’s not just that Liriano has a better xFIP, it’s that Liriano has the best xFIP in MLB and it’s signifgicantly better than’s Lee’s. That should be enough to make a comparison bteween the two other than “laughable”. At the very least he’s in the discussion.

FYI, Heyman has Halladay fourth in the NL.

GBeck15
Guest
GBeck15
6 years 19 days ago

Haha, yes, and David Wright as his NL MVP. I know that was at the halfway point, but he based his decision on “RBIs.” Yikes.

KG
Guest
KG
6 years 19 days ago

Yep, as BC says, Liriano has a better xFIP, and WAR than Lee. It’s laughable to give the award to Lee based on his BB and K/BB ratios alone. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

rogerfan
Member
rogerfan
6 years 20 days ago

What do you think of Jon Lester’s chances?

His 3.03 FIP and 3.22 xFIP are both second (to Lee and Liriano, respectively), and that’s after coming back from his traditional slow start.

John
Guest
John
6 years 20 days ago

@Z2 I dont think Price is eligible for ROY as he compiled 142.1 IP before this year. I do agree that the BBWA is not that savvy and they are swayed by win totals. If Price ends up with 20 (the “magic” number) wins you watch he may win the Cy.

Z2
Guest
Z2
6 years 19 days ago

It’s a joke. Volquez landed in 4th place for ROY the other year, when he wasn’t eligible for ROY.

John
Guest
John
6 years 19 days ago

That is a joke! Those voters should be disbanded from voting! I dont even pay attention to the awards as they are usually given to the wrong player.

DonCoburleone
Guest
DonCoburleone
6 years 19 days ago

WINS are what matter people!! The last time I checked, the standings in MLB were based on WINS & LOSSES! Not xFIP or WAR!!! David Price WINS GAMES, PERIOD!!!

Anon
Guest
Anon
6 years 19 days ago

Teams win games, not individual players. The Cy Young is for the best pitcher, not the best pitcher on the best team.

MikeS
Guest
MikeS
6 years 19 days ago

You’re so right. Price is definitely the best pitcher in the AL since his teammates perform so well when he is sitting in the dugout watching.

William
Guest
William
6 years 19 days ago

Obvious troll is obvious.

MatthewWood
Guest
MatthewWood
6 years 19 days ago

soooooo no one cares about kos now and whip doesnt matter and if you want to look at game logs look at the pitchers these guys faced i think weaver has faced the most aces of other clubs and honestly think he is far more the competitor opposite cliff lee for cy young

JH
Guest
JH
6 years 19 days ago

WHIP never mattered.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown
6 years 19 days ago

I disagree. Walks and hits per 9 innings pitched. There are pitchers that can limit hits, and that is a valuable skill.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 19 days ago

Except the ability to limit hits is much more properly expressed in K-rates and batted-ball types. WHIP makes no distinction between types of hits, and is thus not particularly predictive.

JH
Guest
JH
6 years 19 days ago

Except in 5 x 5 fantasy leagues.

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 19 days ago

To be fair, a lot of use turned to advanced statistical analysis for the same reasons we earlier turned to roto.

Not Carson Cistulli
Guest
Not Carson Cistulli
6 years 19 days ago

No Colby Lewis!!! Sabers at dawn, you rapscallion!

hank
Guest
hank
6 years 19 days ago

The run support argument is a tricky one and can be viewed 2 ways…. You talk about the games where he got 9 runs and it didn’t matter how well he pitched, but you could just as easily turn that around in some of those games and ask if he gave up 0 or 1 run, did it really matter whether his team scored 9 runs or 4 runs?.

If you are going to make a run support argument you have to look at context and not aggregate. Look at the ND’s and losses a pitcher gets while giving up 2 or fewer runs, and look at how many wins or ND’s he gets giving up 4+ runs…

Price has given up more than 3 runs twice this year and is 1-1 (so 1 ‘cheap’ win) and has 1 loss and 1 ND in games where he’s given up 2ER (‘tough’ loss/ND)… He hasn’t actually benefited that much from run support, and he also hasn’t really gotten hurt from a lack of run support

Lee has given up 4ER or more in 4 starts and is 1-3 (so 1 ‘cheap’ win as well) and in games where he’s given up 2ER or less he has 1 loss and 4 ND so he’s been hurt by his offense in 3 more ND’s (potential wins) vs Price

It would be nice to present a balanced view – while you are quick to point out how Price got a win in a game where he gave up as many runs (5) than IP, you neglect to mention the win that Lee got giving up 7 runs in 6.1IP.

Lee has been hurt a few more low scoring games, but not by a landslide. It’s a pretty close race when you don’t aggregate the run support. Lee may have a slight edge, but if it stays this close it may be time to look at wOBA of hitters faced in addition to FIP and xFIP

The Peanut Master
Member
The Peanut Master
6 years 19 days ago

All I have to say is as an owner of both Cliff Lee and David Price (who I got in the second to last round), I am a very, very happy camper. ;) While Price doesn’t deserve the award over Lee or Liriano he is still having a superb season out of nowhere and that deserves praise.

MLBfan
Guest
MLBfan
6 years 19 days ago

Trevor Cahill is 3 years younger than price

lower BAA, lower WHIP, lower era

3 less wins after missing the 1st month of the season, This is with a terrible A’s offense supporting him, not the high powered Rays

Josh
Guest
Josh
6 years 19 days ago

Cahill has a ridiculous .206 BABIP, which shows incredible amounts of luck. His ERA and WHIP are lower than Price, but his FIP and xFIP are higher, and his K/BB ratio is lower. Cahill has been very good, but he’s also been very lucky.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 years 19 days ago

It’s true that he’s been lucky to an extent, evidenced by his low BABIP, but I wouldn’t hold that against him as a voter, just because his luck going forward isn’t likely to be as good as his past luck. One should vote based on what has actually happened, regardless of whether we think a pitcher was “lucky”, “pitched over their heads”, “is likely to fall back to earth”, or whatever. I would posit that many, many past winners benefitted from this luck of a low BABIP, a high strand rate, and/or excellent run support.

teo
Guest
teo
6 years 15 days ago

You say that Cahill has been lucky because he is a ground ball pitcher, am I right? He doesn’t strike guys out. he lives on the ground ball. Tim Hudson is a ground ball pitcher, so you would have consider the success in his whole career luck. Also, even though FIP and xFIP are very meaningful stats, MLB does not contemplate these stats, they look at records (which are somewhat meaningless), WHIP and ERA. Cahill is having a better season than Price according to those stats so he should be taken into account for the Cy Young winner.

teo
Guest
teo
6 years 15 days ago

I forgot to mention that Cahill is creeping up on Nolan Ryan’s record for consecutive games of going 5 plus innings with allowing 6 or less hits. Remarkably Price and Lee have not succeeded to do this, so it should be put in for consideration as well.

jkrell12
Guest
jkrell12
6 years 19 days ago

3 “fewer” wins

Ben
Guest
Ben
6 years 19 days ago

Serious question: Could either Joaquin Benoit (0.70 ERA, 12.44 k/9, 38.1 IP)) or Mariano Rivera (0.91 ERA, 22/24 SV, 39.2 IP) potentially at least get Cy Young votes if they avoid regression and get 30+ IP the rest of the way, or should a (potential) group of sub-3.00 ERA starters blow them out of the water?

Kevin S.
Member
Kevin S.
6 years 19 days ago

Could they? Absolutely (especially Rivera). Should they? Probably not.

Bill@TDS
Guest
6 years 19 days ago

It’s absolutely true that most BBWAA voters are smarter than Heyman…but not THAT much smarter. I think that as of right now, Price would win the award almost unanimously.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 years 19 days ago

I don’t think it would be almost unanimous – I think Lee, Liriano, Weaver, Lester, and Mariano will each garner some support – but I think you’re right about the end result (Price winning) and the general aptitude of the average BBWAA’er.

Doctor_Teh
Guest
Doctor_Teh
6 years 19 days ago

I haven’t seen any serious argument against Liriano for Cy Young aside from innings pitched, which while valid isn’t the end-all be-all. If I’m not mistaken (certainly is possible I am) doesn’t pitching WAR already take into account innings pitched? If so, why would that count against him again on top of already counting against him in calculating WAR? If WAR says he has been more valuable thus far, and we don’t see a ton to disprove that, why does the fact that he has pitched less innings change that?

That is a serious question, not rhetorical. I am curious why people have discounted him despite what seems like an excellent season to this Twins fan.

symbaton
Member
symbaton
6 years 19 days ago

I’m curious as well.

Lance W
Member
6 years 19 days ago

The reason Liriano doesn’t get noticed is because he’s not the leader in wins or ERA. (Amazingly, those are David Price and Cliff Lee. Shocker.) Therefore, the majority of baseball media subconsciously deem his peripheral stats irrelevant. WAR (along with FIP and xFIP) isn’t exactly something that broadcasters talk about on a daily basis, unfortunately.

symbaton
Member
symbaton
6 years 19 days ago

I’m talking about sabermetric writers, even. Barely mention of him among CY contenders, and usually no good reason given.

Chad
Guest
Chad
6 years 19 days ago

I think Dave is giving the BBWAA too much credit. Check out the CY Young predictor over at ESPN that was developed by Neyer and James. It predicts the winnder based on how people voted in the past.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/features/cyyoung

It has David Price 1st. Cliff Lee isn’t listed but that is probably because he switched teams. I did a quick calculation using the formula they provide and I think it had him in 5th.

BX
Guest
BX
6 years 18 days ago

I wanna see how high Cahill places on the CYA voting when it happens. He shouldn’t be in the top 10, but he’ll probably get in due to things like wins and ERA.

He shouldn’t be in the Top 10. Period.

Uugeth
Guest
Uugeth
6 years 19 days ago

Also keep in mind that these voters are easily swayed by the first impression. Ubaldo and price emerged as the obvious guys over the first 8 weeks of the season. Most of the writers have said they’d still give it to Ubaldo right now, and he hasn’t been nearly as good as Halladay or Josh Johnson. It’s because of that intial impression and the massive number of Wins.

Also don’t forget the outrage when Carpenter and his league leading W-L% were left off 2 Cy ballots last year. These voters still love them some wins.

batpig
Guest
batpig
6 years 19 days ago

I think the reality is that this is a lot more arguable than some off-hand analysis would have you believe. It’s too easy to point at an incremental difference in your favorite stat and declare that one pitcher is unconditionally better than another.

The bottom line is that Cliff Lee, David Price, Francisco Liriano, and a guy who hasn’t even been mentioned yet, King Felix (with 167 IP of 2.90 ERA ball) have all been amazing. It’s a little too close for the self assured certainty that some here are positing…

batpig
Guest
batpig
6 years 19 days ago

oh, and John Lester and Jered Weaver too….

Fenam
Guest
6 years 19 days ago

Franchise
Lee
Price

That order. Felix doesn’t have the wins, unfortunately that’s a big part of what they vote on.

Uugeth
Guest
Uugeth
6 years 19 days ago

Also keep in mind that some of these voters begrudgingly “admit” that Wins aren’t the best stat…but then they say that W-L% is still a good stat to use. Ubaldo’s W-L% blows away Halladay and Johnson. Price also has a big edge over Lee.

Last year there were no 20-game winners, so even though the right guys won won the CY’s, I am not convinced that they are gonna get it right again this year. Especially since 20-game winners are rare now. That accomplishment will likely score extra points with some of these people now.

How many people vote on this? Is it just 30 voters for this award? I guess a lot of this depends on which members are picked to vote on these specific awards. I think there are a good number of smart writers but unfortunately I think they are still outnumbered by the Heyman types.

And if these voters are so up-to-date on things then why does Ryan Howard always get more MVP votes than Chase Utley? I am not convinced that the majority of these people know what they are doing.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 19 days ago

In those 14 starts, the Rays have scored 96 runs, or 6.85 runs per game, including scoring 9+ runs on five different occasions.

In an article exmaining who has pitched better, why is the emphasis on something the pitcher has NO control over?

The bias in this article is too much, as is the over-critiquing of Price.

Let’s look how Lee, Liriano, and Price have pitched in ALL their starts, both quality starts and the non QS.

QS – IP (ERA); W-L-ND

Lee = 14QS – 115.2 IP (1.71 ERA); 8-2-4
Liriano = 16 QS – 112 IP (1.77 ERA); 10-2-4
Price = 16 QS – 114.1 IP (2.13 ERA); 12-3-1

I find it ridiculous to over-critique, almost to the point of deflating any of these 3 guys. All have pitched very well in their wins.

I do agree that Lee has pitched better, and I would note that 8 of his QS have come against playoff contenders (I’m not counting LAA , DET, FLA, COL). Liriano 4, Price 5.

same performance metrics in non QS

Lee = 4 Non QS – 31.1 IP (6.03 ERA); 1-3-0
Liriano = 5 Non QS – 24.1 IP (9.71 ERA); 0-5-0
Price = 4 Non QS – 20 IP (7.65 ERA)’ 2-2-0

Again, Lee has pitched better overall, but Price has neither been lucky nor anything short of great. To minimalize Price to make Lee look better is cheap and unnecessary.

Cliff Lee also earned a win when he allowed 7 ER in 6.1 IP. Another factor in regards to Lee’s IP, is that Texas has no concern over his future. He’s throwing 8 and 9 IP in losses. Price and Liriano also started off the season throwing fewer IP per start due to comeback from an injury and youth (respectively). Both are going into the 8th regularly over the last 2 months.

batpig
Guest
batpig
6 years 19 days ago

I agree 100% that this article was really, really weak analysis. I mean, taking a list of Price’s wins and pointing out run support, or a few 6 IP starts? Really? That was the height of selective analysis to support a pre-conceived judgment.

Stu
Guest
Stu
6 years 19 days ago

Price would win today

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 19 days ago

Trying to correct format …

In those 14 starts, the Rays have scored 96 runs, or 6.85 runs per game, including scoring 9+ runs on five different occasions.

In an article examining who has pitched better, why is the emphasis on something the pitcher has NO control over?

The bias in this article is too much, as is the over-critiquing of Price.
Let’s look how Lee, Liriano, and Price have pitched in ALL their starts, both quality starts and the non QS.

Performance in Quality Starts

QS – IP (ERA); W-L-ND

Lee = 14QS – 115.2 IP (1.71 ERA); 8-2-4
Liriano = 16 QS – 112 IP (1.77 ERA); 10-2-4
Price = 16 QS – 114.1 IP (2.13 ERA); 12-3-1

I find it ridiculous to over-critique, almost to the point of deflating any of these 3 guys. All have pitched very well in their wins.

I do agree that Lee has pitched better, and I would note that 8 of his QS have come against playoff contenders (I’m not counting LAA , DET, FLA, COL). Liriano 4, Price 5.

Same metrics in NON QS

Lee = 4 Non QS – 31.1 IP (6.03 ERA); 1-3-0
Liriano = 5 Non QS – 24.1 IP (9.71 ERA); 0-5-0
Price = 4 Non QS – 20 IP (7.65 ERA)’ 2-2-0

Again, Lee has pitched better overall, but Price has neither been lucky nor anything short of great. To minimalize Price to make Lee look better is cheap and unnecessary.

Cliff Lee also earned a win when he allowed 7 ER in 6.1 IP. Another factor in regards to Lee’s IP, is that Texas has no concern over his future (they are going to use him as much as possible). He’s throwing 8 and 9 IP in losses. Price and Liriano also started off the season throwing fewer IP per start due to comeback from an injury and youth (respectively). Both are going into the 8th regularly over the last 2 months.

ddriver80
Guest
ddriver80
6 years 19 days ago

Just a random comment, not making a point, just putting info out there. This had me wondering about Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, Brett Cecil and Brandon Morrow and their QS.

RR = 16 QS – 120 IP (1.88 ERA): 8-3-4

With 7 QS against playoff teams (not including the same teams circlechange brought up)

SM = 15 QS – 80.2 IP (2.12 ERA): 7-0-4

With 7 QS against playoff teams

BC = 12 QS – 82.3 IP (1.63 ERA):7-1-4

With 5 QS against playoff teams

BM = 11 QS – 72 IP (2.00 ERA): 7-2-2

With 6 QS against playoff teams

adohaj
Guest
adohaj
6 years 19 days ago

” . . . the Rays have scored 96 runs, or 6.85 runs per game, including scoring 9+ runs on five different occasions. In those games, it really didn’t matter how Price pitched”

Don’t discount a pitcher because he has a good offense behind him. It seems like you are penalizing him for things that are out of his control. Just the vibe i got though.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 19 days ago

My guess is Roy Halladay would NOT be penalized IF the powerful Phillies had theiur usual powerful offense.

Anyway, looking at 5 NL pitchers (export to excel makes this easy).

Performance in Quality Starts

RH = 18 QS – 145.1 IP (1.05 ERA); 13-3-2
JJ = 19 QS – 131.0 IP (1.37 ERA); 10-1-8
AW = 19 QS – 139.1 IP (1.36 ERA); 15-2-2
UJ = 16 QS – 116.0 IP (1.16 ERA); 15-1-0
TL = 16 QS – 116.0 IP (1.78 ERA); 11-0-5

TOTAL W-L-ND = 64-7-17

Performance in NON Quality Starts

RH = 5 NQS – 32.2 IP (7.16 ERA); 0-5-0
JJ = 3 NQS – 15.2 IP (6.89 ERA); 0-2-1
AW = 4 NQS – 21.0 IP (7.71 ERA); 0-4-0
UJ = 5 NQS – 24.0 IP (10.00 ERA); 1-1-3
TL = 6 NQS – 28.0 IP (8.68 ERA); 0-4-2

TOTALS IN NQS = 1-16-6

IMO, it’s VERY interesting that the top 5 pitchers in the NL have only won ONE NQS among them. 1 win out of 23 NQS (4%).

The same top 5 NL pitchers have a winning percent of 73% in their QS.

It looks like pitchers generally win 70% of their quality starts (perhaps a leaguewide average).

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 years 19 days ago

From this and other posts – you sure do like quality starts =)

hank
Guest
hank
6 years 19 days ago

I think he’s using it to point out when run support occurs…. when you give up 1 or 2 runs, runs support is not that critical unless there is a complete absence of it. You can’t simply average out run support and make determinations on that…

You throw a 9-1 win followed by a 7-6 loss and you would naively see a pitcher with great run support (15 runs/2 starts)… but is it actually helping the W/L record? If instead of averaging 7 runs a game and this fictitious pitcher fot 2 runs each game, his record still would have been 1-1, so the question is not how much run support is a pitcher getting, but is the run support actually impacting wins and losses?

Price has been “bailed” out by his offense ONCE this year (which happens to be the same amount as Cliff Lee has) And if you factor in the Price ND tonight Cliff Lee has just two more ND/L in games where he gave up 2ER or less… Meaning Lee isn’t getting screwed out of wins (for lack of a better phrase) due to poor support disproportionately to others, he may have a few more than some but it’s not the run support chasm many will paint.

Fly
Guest
Fly
6 years 19 days ago

I would have an extremely hard time giving the Cy Young to a guy that has a worse BB/9 ratio than the league average (Price, in this case). I think that tells a lot about a pitcher (it’s why I’m perfectly ok with Nolan Ryan never winning a Cy Young).

As of right now I think Liriano and Lee are neck-and-neck as the best two pitchers in the AL. But that is in LARGE part due to Liriano’s miniscule HR totals. He’s only allowed two HRs the whole season (in the same game). His HR/FB% is .014 (yes, the zero is in the right spot) and his HR/9 is .13. Is that kind of ratio even sustainable throughout the course of 200 IP?

In other words I fully expect Liriano’s HR totals to regress somewhat allowing Lee to be on top of the FIP/xFIP leaderboard by season’s end.

Nice August discussion.

DavidJ
Member
DavidJ
6 years 19 days ago

Nolan Ryan actually did lead the league in K/BB once–unfortunately for him that was his insanely unlucky 1987 season, in which he finished only 8-16 despite leading the NL in ERA. Ryan would have been a very deserving Cy Young selection that year, but unsurprisingly his W-L record doomed him, and the award went to Steve Bedrosian instead.

twinsfan
Member
twinsfan
6 years 19 days ago

The regression in his HR/FB ratio is going to at least be partially offset by the likely regression in his BABIP.

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 19 days ago

The revealing thing about quality starts, to me, us just how drastic the handful of non quality starts, raise the ERA and other stats.

The purpose of pitching is to give your team a chance to win. The winning pct in QS bs. NQS is drastic. In almost all cases the pitchers both “earn” their wins and loses.

Even Joe Saunders pitches outstanding in his quality starts. There aren’t that many 6 IP 3 ER qualify starts for these guys. When they are on, they’re on … And when, they ain’t, they ain’t.

I think one can look at the number of QS and pretty much tell who has been the best pitcher.

It’s not like one guy has a QS Era of 3.40 and the others are 1.50. There isn’t a whole lot of seperation among the QS numbers.

Most of the QS feature games of 2 ER or less in 7+ IP, it’s a decent general stat. It also seems to be decent at breaking a pitcher’s games into “good” and “bad” categories. The “bad” games are usually “really bad” and the good ones are easily in the “pitched well enough” to win category.

Fly
Guest
Fly
6 years 19 days ago

David- yes, but his BB/9 was still higher than the league’s.

twinsfan – sure, a little. but i don’t think a .350-ish BaBIP offsets a miniscule HR rate all that much. Home runs are guaranteed runs while hits don’t necessarily mean runs. His LOB% isn’t high (72.6%) so, at first glance, it’s not like all those extra hits are creating runs.

DavidJ
Member
DavidJ
6 years 19 days ago

My bad; for some reason I misread your comment as referring to K/BB. I see now that you were referring to BB/9.

That said, despite a walk rate that was above average, Ryan did lead NL pitchers in FIP that year by nearly half a run, in WAR by more than a full win, and was second in WPA. He certainly would have been a deserving Cy Young pick.

Also, regarding Liriano’s HR rate, you said:

“I fully expect Liriano’s HR totals to regress somewhat allowing Lee to be on top of the FIP/xFIP leaderboard by season’s end.”

xFIP does regress the HR rate–that’s the whole point of xFIP. So a turn for the worse in his HR/FB luck is not going to change his xFIP. As long as his GB, BB, and K rates remain steady, his xFIP will remain steady as well.

Fly
Guest
Fly
6 years 19 days ago

Good call on the xFIP. My mistake.

As far as not awarding the Cy Young to a pitcher with a high BB/9 rate goes, that’s just personal preference on my part. To me it screams of Thrower instead of Pitcher. For me that’s a big distinction. Doesn’t mean everyone has to agree. I just prefer Pitchers to Throwers.

Paul
Guest
Paul
6 years 19 days ago

Hate to speak up for Heyman, but his article was posted 12 July, this analysis is nearly a month later. Ragging on his choices armed with 3+ weeks more data is of course going to be easy. Liriano who has happily been a-maz-ing did get touched up for 7ER July 9, raising his ERA to 3.89, not a surpise that he then left him off his awards slots

The greater issue with CY awards is (as happened last year) with only 3 placings per voter, and many viable candidates at present is that when a writer wants to make a point to celebrate an unheralded season (like Vasquez/Haren last year), he has to leave off 1 of the ‘big 3’.

CY placings count when looking back at a career – see the usual ‘knock’ on Bertie Blyleven by the nay-sayers – so a 3rd place vote can be the difference between CYA – 5th place and a nothing on the BBREF page.

The low number of vote positions probably helps Lee over Price, as the SABR minded voters will give Liriano/Felix/Lester etc some love, and to make the point leave off Price instead of Lee.

There seem at present at least 6 deserving CY candidates in the AL, so a change in voting to top 5 or even 10 would be a fairer reflection

P.S. I almost vomited when I saw the ESPN Predictor results…

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 19 days ago

That is one of my concerns … that the SABR minded voters will not vote for Price, because he’s the league leader in wins (and will likely be) just to make a point.

It’s as if leading the league in wins has gone from being “everything” to being a “drawback”, in the minds of certain voters (almost like RBIs).

I don;t want to see guys knee-jerk to the other extreme just to avoid voting for the wins leader (or RBI leader) and appear to be “voting along with the mainstream”.

The vote is for selecting the best pitcher of the season (not the most talent, but the pitcher that has had the best season), not to make yourself standout from the crowd, or to make an idealogical point.

It would be like someone voting against Wakefield, regardless of how well he pitched, because they don’t like knuckleballers.

Let’s not act like leading the league in wins is a bad thing. While it’s not everything, and while it’s not a complete isolated pitching stat, it is a good thing.

HeyNow
Guest
HeyNow
6 years 19 days ago

One of the main goals of lots of SABR-minded people is to remain ebjective above all other things in analysis, otherwise the analysis is likely to be very flawed. THis lack of objectivity is the problem with people like Heyman. For the most part I don’t think you have to worry about objectivity. If the guy with the most wins happens to also be the best pitcher, the SABR-minded folks will likely recognize this because they mostly understand that they need to be objective in their analysis.

HeyNow
Guest
HeyNow
6 years 19 days ago

ummm..”ebjective” was supposed to be “objective” although I guess you could try to be ebjective too.

Jason
Guest
Jason
6 years 19 days ago

You’re kind of a dick writer. You don’t have to take a shot at another person’s opinion to try and prove you’re right. That’s why people are turned off by the sabermetric community, the obious arrogance about baseball that many of its users have.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
6 years 19 days ago

I like that you take objection to someone being a dick by…being a dick.

Bart: “Oh the ironing is delicious!”
Lisa: “That’s IRONY!”

Jason
Guest
Jason
6 years 19 days ago

Telling him that he’s arrogant is being a dick?

SamC
Guest
SamC
6 years 19 days ago

Here’s to hoping most BBWAA writers are smarter than Heyman. His writing is so obtuse that it’s almost offensive.

ddriver80
Guest
ddriver80
6 years 19 days ago

There are alot of more deserving pitchers then Price. Price should probably be borderline top 10 in voting, but he’ll end up top 3

CircleChange11
Guest
CircleChange11
6 years 15 days ago

Name them. Provide evidence if you wish.

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