Justin Verlander Wins 2011 AL Cy Young

The BBWAA confirmed what most already expected Tuesday by tabbing Justin Verlander as the 2011 American League Cy Young award winner. Verlander was absolutely dominant in 2011, pacing both circuits with 24 wins, a 2.40 ERA, and an astonishing 251 IP. Verlander similarly dominated ballots by receiving all 28 first-place votes for a perfect total of 196 points, according to the BBWAA’s tabulation system. Rounding out the top-five were Jered Weaver, James Shields, CC Sabathia, and in a bit of a head-scratcher, Verlander’s teammate and closer Jose Valverde.

There are just shy of a million ways to quantify just how incredible Verlander’s season was, so just let me highlight a few of those most noticeable.

Verlander’s 24 wins marked the second time he had led his league in victories (he led the league in starts both seasons), and were the most by a major league pitcher since Randy Johnson posted an identical 24-5 mark with the Diamondbacks in 2002. They were also the most in the AL since Bob Welch won a staggering 27 games for the A’s in 1990. Verlander’s 29 decisions accounted for 85.3 percent of his starts, well above the major league mark of 70.9 percent.

The decision percentage is certainly a huge testament to the quality with which Verlander pitches, but more so serves notice to his durability. The 2011 season marked the fifth-straight season Verlander had tossed 200-plus innings, and the sixth-straight in which he’d made 30 or more starts. In fact, the Goochland, Va. native has worked six or more innings in his last 42 starts, dating back to a 6-2 loss at the hands of the New York Yankees that saw Verlander work only five frames on Aug. 17, 2010. This ties Verlander with the remarkable Roy Halladay for 10th longest such streak.

In a similar vein, and with a hat tip to Aaron Gleeman of NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk (who in turn tipped his hat to me), Verlander holds the longest streak of all time when it comes to games with 100-plus pitches. That streak is currently active at 52 games, which absolutely obliterates the nearest competition from the Big Unit, whom held separate streaks at 37 and 38.

So we get it, Verlander is remarkably durable. Now lets have a look at what comes along for the ride on this workhorse.

There’s a number of reasons why Verlander was so difficult to hit in 2011. For one, Verlander has three above-average offerings which he can use to work off his fastball, which registered an average of at least 95-miles-per-hour for the third-straight season, and fifth of Verlander’s seven big league campaigns. For as good as his fastball is, the lanky Old Dominion grad didn’t rely on it too heavily, only tossing it 57 percent of the time in 2011, a career low. Verlander supplemented with his changeup and curveball, tossing them a combined 34.6 percent of the time while mixing in a slide piece every now and then as well. In that sense, a tip of the hat not only goes to Verlander, but also to Alex Avila and any other battery mate Justin had for mixing up the arsenal a bit. After all, a high-90s fastball has to be much harder to hit when it’s not seen as often.

Also, Verlander held left-handed hitters to a stunning .174/.233/.271 line this season, which was good, or perhaps more accurately bad for a .504 OPS. Again, we’re talking about opposite-handed hitters flailing away at Drew Butera-like stat lines. For some context, left-handed hitters combined to hit righties at a .262/.331/.412 clip. In other words, the average left-handed hitter in the major leagues versus right handed pitchers was Johnny Damon, and Verlander made them collectively look like corncobs, you guys. Right-handed hitters had better, but still well below league-average luck against Verlander as well, as they combined for a .215/.253/.364 triple-slash, which was still nearly 100 points below the league average .695 mark. All told, Verlander allowed a .555 OPS to opposing hitters, while the league average mark stood at .720, a stunning 165 point difference.

The BBWAA also passed along the following tidbits:
Verlander is the ninth unanimous winner in AL history, and fourth Detroit Tiger.
Verlander is the first AL winner who had also won AL Rookie of the Year honors.

Obviously, Verlander was in a league all to himself this season.

Print This Post

In addition to Rotographs, Warne is a Minnesota Twins beat reporter for 105 The Ticket's Cold Omaha website as well as a sportswriter for Sportradar U.S. in downtown Minneapolis. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Warne, or feel free to email him to do podcasts or for any old reason at brandon.r.warne@gmail-dot-com

91 Responses to “Justin Verlander Wins 2011 AL Cy Young”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. William says:

    Except Sabathia was basically just as good, based on the important stats such as tip, k/9/ k-bb, and fwar.

    -12 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • FanGraphs Supporting Member

      My rough draft had a narrative about how this wasn’t necessarily a “saber friendly” pick, at least not for the reasons that might seem obvious.

      Translated: Verlander’s a great pick, but there are others that might have been at the very least….defensible.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JG says:

      And according to B-WAR, Verlander was way way better. Let’s actually integrate statistics from other equally valid perspectives instead of cherry-picking.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Ian says:

      Yes, because Verlander clearly benefited from Detroit’s spectacular defensive play behind him all season (featuring four students of Anne Sullivan in the field), so Sabathia’s superiority in FIP of 0.11 clearly offsets Verlander’s superiority in every other category.
      Sometimes, you just have to accept that the guy with 20 more K’s, 4 fewer BBs, and 56 fewer hits, in 14 more innings, is the superior pitcher, FIP be damned.
      And before I have to read about Sabathia facing the East again, Verlander was better against the East than Sabathia was…and Sabathia didn’t have to face the Yankees!

      +18 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • FanGraphs Supporting Member


        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • jeffrey gross says:

        Verlander winning isnt the problem. it’s CC finishing four (behind Shields/Weaver), and Valverde (44th in reliever WAR) finishing fifth

        +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Greg H says:

        Detroit’s team defense wasn’t bad last year – they performed better than their reputation would suggest. Besides, Verlander is primarily a fly ball pitcher, and having Austin Jackson in center can cure a lot of ills.

        Perhaps you are in need of the Miracle Worker’s assistance.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Ian says:

        Greg – agree that Jackson is fantastic in CF, but he was flanked by Boesch, Ordonez and Young! They have less range than Bob Dylan!

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. Joe says:

    This along with last year’s vote refutes the whole “voters are embracing advanced statistics” narrative that folks were trying to create. Voters have simply exchanged ERA for wins.

    Last year’s vote had David Price 2nd (he was way down the list on most advanced stats) but had a shiny ERA and had the 2 pitchers in the AL with higher war than Felix well down the voting.

    Hellickson won the AL ROY on ERA and Nova finished ahead of Pineda on wins.

    This year with Weaver and Shields finishing 2 and 3 ahead of CC (who seemed like a no brainer #2), I think it’s clear that instead of wins then ERA it is now just ERA then wins…. but advanced stats are still along way off from having a significant impact.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • FanGraphs Supporting Member

      I agree. The rest of my narrative sort of talked down the fact that Papa Grande appeared on almost half the ballots, and 10 of them ahead of vastly superior relievers David Robertson and Mariano Rivera.

      Heck, Grande was the third best on his own club!

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • @Kampfer It would seem like it, but I just can’t be confident of that at this point.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • todmod says:

        Not that I believe that Valverde was one of the 5 best pitchers in the league, but he does fare very well by one measurement – WPA. Valverde was 2nd among all AL relievers, and pretty close to Dave Robertson for first.

        While WPA isn’t predictive at all, I think it is a pretty solid measurement of how valuable a reliever was in a season. The “clutch” factor is pretty important when dealing with high leverage relievers.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kampfer says:

      I think changing wins for ERA is already a great step forward, no?

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • gnomez says:

      Who would you have picked?

      Verlander also had the lowest tERA and SIERA of the four; then add in his durability. The fact is Verlander easily deserved the Cy Young. It’s Valverde’s top-5 placement that makes no sense.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Joe says:

        Verlander 1, CC 2, large gap Shields 3, Weaver 4 or 5 (maybe Haren in the 3-5 mix as well)

        I said the narrative of sabermetrices influencing the vote last year is fiction and this year pretty much reinforces it… not that they got 1st place wrong…did you even read my comment?

        The fact that they got first place right has nothing to do with sabermetrics, it just happens that the highest win total and lowest ERA also coincided with the advanced stats.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Mark says:

    Speaking of peripherals indicating great performances, Dan Haren coming in 7th (below Valverde) is a pretty disappointing thing to see.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Extremely disappointing. It was pretty cool to see Ricky Romero get some love, but Doug Fister would have been another good choice, as well as Gio Gonzalez and/or Jon Lester.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Edwin says:

    It still seems like a fairly good “Sabermetric” decision to me.

    Verlander is second in WAR with 7.0 compared to CC’s 7.1. As someone above noted, on Bref Verlander leads in WAR.

    Verlander was 4th in FIP, and 2nd in xFIP. He also had the best SIERA. I think by most “traditional” methods and “sabermetric” methods, Verlander is a great pick for the award.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • FanGraphs Supporting Member

      Agreed. Even if he wouldn’t have been unanimous, at least it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Bartolo over Johan in….2005 I think?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. jeffrey gross says:

    Verlander winning isnt the problem. it’s CC finishing four (behind Shields/Weaver), and Valverde (44th in reliever WAR) finishing fifth

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Barf says:

    What’s with all the hat tipping? I have no idea who to give credit to. From the looks of it, I think you included that link to just to show us that you got linked by some shmo at some crap blog. Cool.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. john says:

    Valverde? What? I dont even….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. Edwin says:

    I think a case could be made for Weaver getting more votes than CC. Weaver had a much better ERA, and pitched more innings. I know ERA is more representative of team performance than individual performance, but Weaver is also a pitcher who has outperformed his FIP and xFIP for the past three years, which may indicate he is doing something that these metrics are not capturing. Not to mention, it’s not like his FIP and xFIP were terrible or anything.

    Shields also isn’t a bad choice. 5th in SIERA, 4th in xFIP, plus he was 2nd in innings pitched. His ERA was also better than Sabathia’s. I don’t think Sabathia had a such a dramatically better season than Weaver or Shields to make it unthinkable for Sabathia to finish behind them. It all depends on which metrics you choose to use, and how much weight you want to assign each one.

    I totally agree though that Valverde has no business being on that list. I’d rather see Haren get more love than Valverde.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Hank says:

      Weaver pitched in a good pitcher’s park (his ERA was more than a run better at home) and nearly 1/3 of his innings were against the vaunted SEA and OAK offenses (he posted an ERA just over 1 in 71 innings against those two opponents). Oh and unless 237 is now less than 235, he did not throw more innings than CC….

      This was an ERA vote after Verlander, with the typical closer/save total nonsense with Valverde. Other than an overreliance on ERA, there really is not much of a case for Weaver over Sabathia.

      Weaver was 22nd in xFIP, 6th in FIP (must be nice throwing so many innings in ANA, SEA, OAK), 5th in IP, 5th in fWAR, 3rd in bWAR,,,, how does that add up to being the 2nd best pitcher in the AL? And in case it wasn’t obvious Sabathia had him beat in EVERY one of those categories (and in some cases substantially).

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Nick44 says:

    If we wanted to give out awards based on stats that predict future value instead of stats that actually calculate past value (including luck) then you can’t award hitting awards without correcting for high batting BABIP.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. mister_rob says:

    The AL FIP leader didnt even get a single vote

    I guess Brandon McCarthy will just have to be satisifed knowing he was truly the best pitcher in the league in theory

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Because FIP is the end-all-be-all. Oh, and he pitched all of 170.2 innings. Yeah, best pitcher.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mister_rob says:

        Its the same train of thought folks round here seemed to be using in the AL ROY debate

        Pineda had less innings, a worse ERA, but a better FIP. Therefore they thought he had a better season

        Im just trying to standardize the arguments

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • jim says:

      my god, are the anti-FIP trolls out in force of late….

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • mister_rob says:

        yes, we must be trolls

        Do you want to explain to me how greg maddux had a decade long streak of “luck” in outpitching his FIP by a substantial margiin while his teammate John Smoltz (with the same exact pitching environment) spent the same time frame not being able to pitch up to his FIP?

        Were you shocked that Mark Beuhrle once again outpitched his FIP this year (for the 7th time in 8 years), meanwhile none of his rotation mates (floyd danks peavy jackson) were able to this year OR last year despite having the same exact team and ballpark behind them?

        The notion that pitchers have no control in BABIP is luidicrous. Guys with notoriously good control within the zone (maddux beuhrle etc) get screwed when it comes to FIP. THese guys can successfully pitch to a batters weakness. If the advanced scouting said Batter X cant make solid contact with a pitch on the outer 3rd and at the knees, Maddux could hit that spot on command. Smoltz couldnt. THats the difference FIP fails to pick up on

        +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • baty says:

        Clearly there some FIP crazies out there, but It’s really not about that. My concern is about how some abuse DIPS models as a way of articulating “realism” because it’s been a successful measure, and it has such a clean appearance for recognizing pitching performance.

        I think DIPS generally gets things right, but like all stat models, it might not work clearly for all cases. It’s a piece to the puzzle.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  11. Antonio Bananas says:

    What’s the over/under for how long it’ll be until you guys are going “lol FIP is so flawed, let’s use *this* as the be all end all measure that’s highly flawed”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • deadpool says:

      Dude, that’s how it works. As you learn more, and find better ways to quantify what your seeing, you eschew the old way of looking at things for the new. It seems like your just arguing that everybody stop trying.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        No, I’m arguing that “fielding independent pitching” is a shitty idea. That’s like saying “instead of riding a donkey, I’ll ride a horse” yea, maybe a little bit better, but neither is a car. I think it’s stupid. You take a LOT out of the equation. You just assume hits and ground outs are luck. It’s a dumb stat that sure, it’s better than ERA, but people on here use it like it’s gospel. I’m actually encouraging people to use OTHER stats, not stay stagnate.

        What I want is to divide the field up into like 30 sections. You calculate the speed of the ball and the type (grounder, FB, LD,etc). Over the course of 5 years you assign a value to the type of hit. So like, a hard hit ball (based on whatever speed is concluded as “hard”) that’s a line drive, to square 21 on average produces .03 runs. You then use this to calculate the true value of pitchers.

        Now, some people will say that this is ridiculous, but it’s certainly not as ridiculous as assuming everything that’s not a K, BB, or HR is luck-driven.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        I haven’t even touched on my idea that a manager can make a pitcher better/worse, which is also relative to the pen quality.

        Pitcher 1 goes 6 innings on average, pitcher 2 goes 7 innings on average. Pitcher 2 has a higher ERA but gives up a majority of runs in the 7th.

        I think there should be a stat that shows a guy’s ERA through 5 innings, then from the 6th on. If you have a great pen, you can make a guy look really REALLY good. If you have a manager who knows when to pull a guy and has a great pen to get him out of trouble, he looks even better. FIP doesn’t show that. If a guy goes 6 shutout innings and gets left in the game too long and gives up 2 home runs in the 7th, he looks worse than a guy who went 6 and got drilled for 7 doubles and gave up 4 runs.

        Hypothetically, you could have a guy give up 100 doubles in a year and no home runs vs a guy who gave up 25 home runs as his only hits all year, and the guy who only gave up 25 hits (HR) all year is seen as worse because of FIP. It’s fundamentally flawed.

        I understand that a dribbler up the middle is luck, a hard hit ball to the 3B is luck. However, there should be a thing call “sure thing XBH”. Like a line drive in the gap. Add that to the FIP equation and run it that way. Giving up a double in the gap that was drilled isn’t luck either way.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        FIP is like valuing a car, but not using “durability” as a measure because “too many variables, driver ability, upkeep, terrain, etc” and only using, iunno, top speed and 0-60 time. You just throw out a bunch of stuff essentially because it’s “too hard to measure”. It’s lazy and dumb.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Phrozen says:


      So, using your car analogy, you’d prefer we measure the value of a car by, what? Total miles driven? You’d value those multi-hundred thousand mile beaters over a new Cadillac?

      How about color? Yeah, gold cars are best!

      Maybe we could get real gritty and measure the thickness of the grime on the undercarraige! Or the weight of the tires! Or the airspeed of an unladen swallow! Wait…

      To get back to your real point (I think) what’s the difference between a hard gapper that rolls to the wall and a hard liner right at the CF? I mean, it’s not luck, obviously, so what is it? What influence does the pitcher have on the ball travelling 300 feet on a line to dead center for an out and 300 feet on a line to left center for extra bases?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        That’s kind of my point though. If you have a pitcher who gets a lot of weak contact, he gets more outs. If he doesn’t miss bats a lot, his FIP will be high even though he’s good at weak contact. Good pitchers can’t induce a lot on a batted ball. Glavine would almost always take advantage of aggressive hitters 3-1, throw his change on the outside and get him to roll over and ground out to short or third.

        I just feel like you’re taking soooo much out with FIP. If you want to discredit things that could be luck, why not homers, Ks, and BBs too? You have an inconsistent ump, you get bad calls and it’s an “unlucky” walk. You get a hitter who fouls a ball off his foot and can’t swing as fast, you get lucky with a K. You play in a park that’s typically a pitcher’s park but the win is blowing like crazy out and some guy sneaks one just over the wall, that’s luck too.

        So really, if you want to get rid of all luck, you should only count swinging Ks, because called Ks can be luck based on the ump. Walks shouldn’t count because they too, can be based on luck, or you should use the pitch FX and only count calls that are legit and discredit any AB with missed calls. Plus you should only count home runs that are sure things, like a home run that would be at least 20 feet out in any park in the majors.

        Or we could just admit that while FIP is a useful too, it’s a pretty crappy, lazy stat.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Even swinging Ks can be luck. Like I said with the guy and the foul ball off his foot. Or what if it’s one of those “shadows creeping” innings. They don’t last, so if you luck out and you’re the pitcher who gets the half inning when they’re at their worst, that’s luck too isn’t it?

        I realize I’m being a bit ridiculous with the slippery slope, but is that not kinda how we got to FIP in the first place? “any batted ball not a home run is luck”. That’s retarded.

        Why not do this, add in flyballs, line drives, and grounders (we already have these stats). Look at the run value of each on average. So like if .08% grounders produce a run, and a guy has a 45% GB, you do .0008(.45) which would basically show the number of runs he should have given up on those grounders. It’s still throwing a lot away, but it’s a hell of a lot better than FIP.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Antonio Bananas says:

        Another thing that’s luck is how long a guy is left in the game. You are at 101 pitches and your manager thinks you have another inning, you give up back to back jacks to start the inning, that blows up your FIP for the game. If he takes you out, you are golden.

        So if we’re truly taking luck out, let’s only use the first 5 innings you pitch? Because the rest could be luck based on your manager. Or only use the results of pitches up to 100?

        FIP just seems so half-assed to me. What if banks treated loans like that? They only looked at the money you have in your account in determining whether or not you can pay. Credit history? Luck, maybe you have a rich daddy. good job? Luck, might get fired.

        It amazes me that such a supposedly foreward thinking and intelligent bunch of people can come up with something as ridiculous as FIP. Well maybe the stat itself isn’t ridiculous, but it’s closer to GB% than to WAR in determining player value, but people treat it like WAR; and that is ridiculous.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. MikeS says:

    5 seasons of 200 IP?
    6 seasons of 30 starts?

    Mark Buehrle is not impressed.

    The 250 IP, oodles of K’s and a heater that starts in the mid 90’s and goes UP! in the 7th and 8th inning though….

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Tried to use the play index to see who else had that kind of streak of 200+ innings pitched. Knew Buehrle was on the list, but couldn’t get the index to play along.

      My apologies, sir.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • MikeS says:

        No aplogies necessary.

        Mark Buehrle is my favorite ballplayer. His combination of durability, reliability, defense, control of the running game, efficiency, working fast and humility make him a joy to watch in person and I will be sad when He leaves the White Sox. His skill set should age well and if he decides he wants to hang around fro another 10 years or so he has a shot at 300 wins, a half dozen gold gloves or more and maybe the HOF. But I think even he would have a hard time explaining how he threw a no hitter or a perfect game. He has accomplishments that are unique in this millenium and should not be discounted but he has never really been dominant.

        Verlander is a whole ‘nother animal. He hasn’t been at it as long but he’s a true stud, not just a reliable workhorse. He’s the kind of guy that you see your team going up against and you know if your pitcher isn’t on his game it’s over. You see him at 90 pitches coming out for the 7th in a close game and think that maybe if you run up his pitch count up you have a chance to at least get him out of there but then he’s throwing high 90’s with movement and control in the 8th and 9th and you know it’s over. I don’t know if he’ll sustain it or if he’ll flame out or get injured but I do know that every GM in baseball would take him over Buehrle in a heartbeat.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  13. Kyle says:

    I forgot that Sabathia got far more run support, but kept getting owned by Beckett and the Sox(a team who didn’t even make the playoffs.) How many no-hitters does Sabathia have? Sabathia had a WHIP of 1.23 this season, wow… not impressed? Who would you rather have on your team? Shields and Valverde got too high on the voting but at least the RIGHT guy won.

    I don’t see any Red Sox fans freaking out over Beckett being behind Valverde, CC(whom he owned this year) or Dan Haren. The MVP is going to be get some hilarious cries from both Yankee and Sox fans I hope.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  14. CircleChange11 says:

    Not to keep beating the same horse, but if you average fWAR and brWAR you give the pitcher some credit for things like BABIP, LOB%, RA, etc which is likely more accurate than 0% or 100%.

    When you do this, Verlander is the clear winner and is also a candidate for MVP.

    This also reflects likely voting. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but it’s possible that averaging the two WARs bumps Weaver over Sabathia.

    I don’t think it’s an inherent non-sabermetric vote. I think a better case could be made that fWAR over-values CC’s performance.

    Also someone at TT’s blog watched all of V’s and CC’s hits allowed and concluded that almost all of their hits were legit. It’s possible that the difference is not luck based.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Frank says:

      I wish I could recall definitively, but I swear I could remember one of CC’s games against the Red Sox where three or four hits in a row were dribblers past the mound or swinging bunts. I remember I couldn’t believe their luck. It may have been another starter but for some reason I think it’s CC.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • test says:

        Maybe if he was a bit more mobile out there that wouldn’t happen? The Jays killed Colon one start this year with the same thing, an array of choppers and dribblers in the first inning that they just couldn’t turn into outs, partially because of the pitcher defense. Pitcher defense is relatively minor, but one source of pitcher ERA outperforming FIP that I haven’t seen discussed much. Groundball pitchers especially need to be able to make some plays and be on tme for first base covers.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. gfor says:

    “Who” not “whom.”

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  16. Bip says:

    Valverde got 4th for the same reason Ian Kennedy is going to get third in NL Cy Young voting. The narrative around a player still has tons of weight.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  17. RandomSoxFan says:

    If you guess want to debate FWar vs BWar, FIP vs ERA, wait till Clayton Kershaw(6.8 fWar) wins in a landslide over Roy Halladay(8.2 fWar) for NL CY

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  18. asdfasdf says:

    The issue with Verlander is that he was able beat up on the Royals, Twins, Indians, and pad his numbers by striking out Adam Dunn all the time, whereas CC was repeatedly being put out against the Red Sox, Rays, and Blue Jays. In addition, Yankee Stadium is a much harder place to pitch. I’m not disagreeing with Verlander as Cy Young, because he was certainly fantastic, but CC should definitely have been second.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Edwin says:

      What does it matter if CC was second? He was in the top 5. I don’t think anybody thinks any less of him. It’s not like anyone is saying he had a bad season or anything.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Jonathan says:

      In fairness, Sabathia was awful against the Red Sox, good against the Jays and great against the Rays. Conversely, Verlander dominated the Sox, was average against the Rays and didn’t give up a single run to the Jays.

      Additionally, if you want to pull the park factor, then just look at their road splits, which Verlander outperforms Sabathia on.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • The only team that Verlander was really ‘outside of his peripherals’ in a good way in the Central was the Royals, with a 1.59 ERA and 0.79 WHIP.

      In fact, the only teams which really gave him trouble were the O’s, Rays, and Yankees, and he still held respectable rates against them.

      It’s a silly argument anyway. Do we still believe in sample sizes?

      Vote -1 Vote +1

    • JG says:

      A few things: home ballpark is already in the discussion as a part of both forms of WAR… The Royals were an above-average hitting team this year… And substitute “Kelly Shoppach” for “Adam Dunn”.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  19. Edwin says:

    I don’t have a problem with FIP. I have a problem when someone decides to use FIP as the Ultimate Stat, and refuses to acknowledge the flaws of FIP. I feel the same way when people use WAR like gospel. WAR has its flaws. So does FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. I think these are the best way to measure pitcher performance right now, but that doesn’t always mean these are the most accurate way to measure pitcher performance. These stats work best when taken in context with each other, and when looking at the history of the pitcher in question, not by just using 1 stat as the determining stat for all pitching debates.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  20. William says:

    I wasn’t mad Verlander won, I was mad that it said he was “obviously” in “a league of his own”. CC was at least right behind him.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • CircleChange11 says:

      It’s probably closer than many are stating, but I tend to agree more with brWAR’s 8.6 WAR (JV) vs. 6.9 WAR (CC) than I do fWAR’s 7.1 vs. 7.0.

      Sabathia finished 2nd to Verlander in BOTH fWAR and brWAR.
      When you average them, you get:

      Verlander: 7.8 WAR
      Sabathia: 7.0 WAR

      But, if you look at brWAR, and there’s nothing wrong with that (might actually be preferable to fWAR), Verlander was waaaaay ahead of CC. In brWAR, the difference between Verlander and Sabathia is similar to the difference between Sabathia and CJ Wilson.

      At some point, we have to stop looking at fWAR as IT. Again, I hate to keep repeating it, but when the inventor of FIP (Tango) suggest to average fWAR and brWAR, and we keep using ONLY fWAR, we have to wonder WTF we’re thinking.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

      • Paul says:

        Sabathia actually edged Verlander in fWAR by 0.1 (though at or near these differences, there is no real difference).

        But I agree that we should look at other methods as well, and they, as well as the ‘narrative’ all gave JV the No.1, which I fully agreed with.

        Whether CC got 2, 3 4 or 5 doesn’t really matter,as long as he was on the ballot so gets the CYA-‘X’ on his baseball reference page (changing from 3 to 5 places on the vote helps) so the HoF voters can’t use the anti-Bert Blyleven BS arguments (didn’t even get a CY vote in year…) to try ans discredit.

        To explain CC’s placing, Weaver was the hot starter to 2011, and was the narrative competition to Verlander for most of the summer for the CY; and Shields had a pretty insane amount of CG.

        Glad to see JV finally getting his kudos on this site, it is an exciting time for SP in their prime on HoF paths, hope they can keep it up

        Vote -1 Vote +1

  21. Isn’t that splitting hairs? Verlander beats him in all traditional stats (I’m including WHIP, K/9, K/BB, etc.), so I don’t think it’s such a stretch.

    Another thing to consider…..Verlander faced 16 FEWER guys in nearly 14 MORE innings.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  22. Barkey Walker says:

    FG often writes articles that are stat horse races, but when a great player wins one of the awards, I think talking about how awesome they are is a great idea. Part of the reason we love this game is being able to watch guys like this play at an amazing level even while playing against other great players. The Saber crowd can sometimes be accused of taking the fun out of the game and this kind of article shows that this is not the case.

    Great article!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  23. CircleChange11 says:

    Missing the point.

    We’re not talking about 300 foot liners. We’re talking about hard hit balls that get through the IF or liners over their head.

    You might as well be asking why we credit pitchers for K’s since it’s the batters that swing and miss or not.

    When we start examining Batted Ball velocity, we’ll be better able to measure a pitchers influence on quality of contact. How is it unreasonable to assume that a P that gets lots of K’s and swing and misses is also hard to square up.

    Or we could just chalk it up rti all luck, as if the P is just throwing it up there and taking chances on luck.

    Vote -1 Vote +1