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by Dave Cameron - September 29, 2010
I like Dave Cameron and love this site, but he’s dead wrong about Lester’s value in relation to King Felix, CC, and Price.
Felix should be the clear winner of the CY, but it’s pretty darn clear to me that Lester is the clear runner up. In fact, I’d argue that Lester is probably closer to Felix than Price or Sabathia are to him.
WAR: Felix (6.4) Lester (5.9) Sabathia (4.8), Price (4.4)
XFIP: Felix (3.27) Lester (3.24) Sabathia (3.78) Price (4.01)
Lester also happens to have the lowest FIP of all four pitchers. He also pitches in a ball park that sucks for left handed pitchers and does face New York, Toronto, and Tampa Bay a greater percentage of the time and while this point is overblown; it almost certainly has some marginal impact on his line. One is not stupid for bringing up the fact that player X faces line ups that average .5 runs more than Player Y.
To be clear, I think Felix has had the better year and is the better pitcher- it’s difficult for Lester to compete with those IP at roughly the same FIP but Lester would be a fine pick for the AL Cy Young, any other year than this one. He’s done a lot more than CC or Price.
Why does Felix have a lower WAR this year than last despite better production over more innings this season? Is WAR relative to what others in the league are doing (i.e. since offense is down this year, his numbers look worse in comparison to last)? Or is there a factor here that I’m missing? Thanks for any and all assistance.
WAR is wins above replacement, and since offense is down, the replacement level pitcher is somewhat better.
In short, you’re right.
I am not sure what you mean by production. As I understand it, Fangraphs WAR (which is currently 6.4 for Felix) is based on FIP. Walks and HRs are penalized and SOs are credited. Hits and runs (earned or otherwise) are ignored as being fielding dependent. If your idea of production includes runs and hits, it may diverge from fWAR. Tango seems to be looking into it here:
I would have thought that the data for the current defensive metrics would be more expensive than Hit F/X. Employing multiple people to review every play versus the one time equipment cost.
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