More on the AL Cy Young Landscape

The Cy Young Award in the American League is more than likely going to go to Cliff Lee, and deservedly so. After all, he leads all starters in WPA/LI, has the highest K/BB in baseball, the lowest WHIP, the most innings, the most complete games, ranks third in strikeouts… oh wait, that’s Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays. Throughout this entire season we have watched in shock, disbelief, and awe as Cliff Lee put together one tremendous season. His season, however, is not that much better than Roy Halladay‘s, and many fans could make very good cases that Halladay has had the better year.

On the season, which happens to be the best full season of Doc’s career, Roy has a 5.06 WPA/LI (5.19 when you count his one relief appearance), a 5.60 K/BB ratio, a 1.06 WHIP, 2.79 ERA, and a 2.98 FIP. By all accounts, his is one of the best season’s over the last eight or nine years, but it is very likely it will not be recognized as such when the baseball writer’s vote. Now, I’m never one to cry over “injustices” especially when these athletes are making more money than my entire street combined, but in a year when K-Rod broke the saves record and Cliff Lee came out of nowhere to post ridiculous numbers, Halladay will be lucky to even receive some first or second place votes.

If you look past the rates, his numbers get even better, as his 228.2 IP lead all AL starters, as do his 8 complete games. His 196 strikeouts ranks third in the junior circuit. W-L record, as we know, is a terrible evaluative barometer, but it is extremely hard for many to look at a record like Lee’s 22-2 and think that someone who went 18-11 was more effective. Run support could help explain this, though; Lee has the fourth highest at 6.16 RS/9 while Halladay’s is twelfth lowest at 4.57 RS/9. If Halladay had anywhere near the run support of Lee, and his record was more like 23-5 or 21-7, don’t you think more people would be discussing him as a legitimate contender?

This just magnifies the problems with W-L record, not just in the mainstream but even in the world of analysis, because whether realized or not, it is very, very difficult to block the W-L out of our minds. Moving forward, Halladay is much more likely to repeat, or come close to repeating, this year’s performance. Even though both have very sustainable BABIP’s hovering around the .300 mark, Lee’s LOB% is close to 80%, which might be sustainable for Randy Johnson 2001-03 or Pedro 1999-00, but probably not the Cliffmeister. Additionally, his HR/FB is an unsustainably low 4.9%. Halladay’s numbers in these areas are very close to the league average.

Aspects like moving forward or which pitcher is “more real” are not taken into account in a Cy Young Award race, and Lee will very likely win the award based on his performance and how good of a story it is, but make no mistake, Roy Halladay is putting the finishing touches on his best year, a masterpiece of a season, one just as good, if not better than Lee’s, and he deserves all the accolades that may or may not come his way.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

74 Responses to “More on the AL Cy Young Landscape”

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  1. Brendan says:


    Who here thinks Hallday has a HoF career, considering how the hall standards will change looking at recent pitching performance?

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  2. Chris Miller says:

    I was JUST going to comment on Halladay and his HOF chances. He’s definitely off to a Hall caliber career. We’ll see where he ends up, but IMO he’s on course so far.

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  3. Steve says:

    Expect that Lee is murdering him in WPA and WARP3 last I checked, as well as pitcher VORP, PRAA, Runs Saved…well, pretty much everything.

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  4. Steve says:

    Lee’s pitcher VORP: 75
    Halladay’s pitcher VORP: 66.2

    We shouldn’t ignore unearned runs. Lee’s RA+ is 176, Halladay’s is 147. Runs Prevented? 49 for Lee, 38.4 for Roy. Let’s not forget that Halladay has been luckier than Lee, allowing a .291 BABIP to Lee’s .301, especially since Halladay would be expected to have a worse BABIP as a groundball pitcher. Oh, and Halladay has the better WHIP, but that WHIP doesn’t account for his 7 more hit batters.

    WARP3? Lee’s is 11.3, Roy’s is 9.9.

    Win Shares? Lee has 24 and Roy has 21.

    Pitching Runs Created? 136 for Lee and 131 for Roy, even though Roy has more IP.

    As I stated before, Lee is more than 2 full wins better in WPA. Look, can we just stop the whole “Halladay is having a better season than Lee!11!” nonsense? Roy is having a fantastic season; probably the best of his career. In any other season, he’d probably run away with the Cy Young. But Lee is having the better year. And even though people will whine that Lee only got the award because of his gaudy Win numbers and his impeccable W-L percentage and his great ERA, the truth is that the advanced stats agree with the traditional in this case, and both sets say that Lee is the better pitcher this year.

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  5. Steve says:

    Oh, and you better call Lester a fluke if you’re going to call Lee a fluke. After all, he strikes out less guys per game, walks more guys, and his LOB% is just a hair lower than Lee’s.

    That Jake Peavy guy with his 83% strand rate, obviously a fluke. Johan? Fluke, his 82.4 LOB% won’t hold up.

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  6. Eric Seidman says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Steve, read this unfiltered article from BP and you’ll see why I don’t believe that Lee’s season is truly and definitively better than Doc’s:

    In summation, it’s about the strength of opponent’s faced. Lee has had a FAR easier string of teams pitched against.

    And for the record, I never said Lee is a fluke. I’m a big proponent of Lee’s moving forward as most of his numbers are sustainable, however the HR/FB is NOT sustainable and he will probably end up in the 3.30-3.50 ERA/FIP range next year, assuming all other things remain constant except the HR/FB. So, no, I won’t call Lester a fluke, as I have yet to examine him. I’ll take a look this coming week, though.

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  7. Steve says:


    First, as a note, Kevin Slowey has a better K/BB than Halladay, so you should probably edit that portion of the article.

    Does that article examine the equivalent average of those teams versus lefties as opposed to righties?

    I already know the answer: no. Would you consider Curtis Granderson a significant threat against Cliff Lee? Not nearly as much as you would against Roy Halladay, right?

    It’s a flawed analysis, plain and simple. I’m a lifelong Indians fan, and before CC left, let’s say CC is pitching against the Twins. Which hitter on the Twins do I fear will hit CC the hardest? Is it Mauer? Morneau? No, neither of those lefties. It’s Mike Redmond, who has scorched CC his entire career. Mauer and Morneau have the far superior EQAs and OPS+s and, well, everythings, but you play that game 10 times and Redmond will have a better game than the M and M boys 7 or 8 of 10 times. It’s a quick and dirty analysis that anyone could have seen by just checking the “quality of opponent” stat on BP, yet Sheehan acts like he is revealing something magical to us.

    It would be one thing if Lee led in some things and Roy in others. But look at the above post: Lee leads in VORP, Win Shares, WARP3, WPA, PRC, Runs Prevented…EVERYTHING. Usually by a very good margin, too.

    It would also be one thing if Lee was a guy in the Rich Harden mold, a 5 inning pitcher, and then I would be more in favor of the Halladay workhorse argument, his IP lead and all his CGs. But Lee is 2nd to Halladay in all of baseball in IP/GS last I checked. Lee has ALSO been a workhorse this year.

    I mean, why did Lee throw a shutout against the White Sox with Quentin, but Halladay got shelled against the White Sox w/o Quentin? I’m fairly certain the Tigers have a lower EQA than the White Sox, but Lee struggled against the Tigers mightily yet owned the White Sox this year. Looking at the Tigers, we know that lineup has the capability to put up 15 runs in any given game, and also the get shutout; it’s inconsistent, but dangerous.

    It’s also loaded with dangerous RH hitters, meaning that Lee would naturally have a rougher go of it than Halladay.

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  8. Steve says:

    The point is, if you need to do so many gymnastic adjustments with the numbers to present the case for Halladay, at some point Occam’s Razor should apply. The simplest answer is that Lee has had the better year, and you have to REALLY stretch to argue that Halladay has been better.

    It’s not like Halladay is some nobody who will be unfairly buried behind Lee’s miracle season and K-Rod’s 60+ saves. Halladay is universally recognized as one of the few true elite pitchers in the game, and more than that, he already has a Cy Young on his mantle.

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  9. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    WARP3? Win Shares?

    It’s hard to say that someone else is doing gymnastic adjustments with the numbers when you’re using some pretty horrible tools yourself.

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  10. Eric Seidman says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    If I’ve learned one thing in my time as a writer, or simply as a human, it’s that nobody can convince somebody else that their point of view or opinion is correct, when the opposite is steadfastly held to. Steve, you make some great points, and if you want to feel Lee is having or has had a better season, go ahead. For me, I’d much rather look at WPA/LI, the K/9 and BB/9, as well as the raw numbers like IP and raw K totals over Win Shares, WARP3, VORP, and Runs Created.

    And, for the record, Slowey does not qualify for the leaderboard according to our site here, so of those who qualify, nobody’s K/BB tops Doc.

    Lee has had a tremendous season, but if I were given a choice, right now, who do I want on the mound of those two, it’s Halladay. His BABIP, HR/FB, and LOB are more in line with the league averages and every other category is essentially Lee-Halladay or Halladay-Lee. Given that Lee’s ERA and FIP, as well as some of the other metrics you mentioned, would be higher with even just a slightly higher and more sustainable HR/FB, my nod goes to Halladay. Additionally, he has faced MUCH tougher competition, with much lower run support.

    If you disagree, fine. If you think it’s a flawed analysis, I’m really not going to lose any sleep. I didn’t cherrypick or adjust anything here. These are the same metrics Dave and I write about everyday here.

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  11. Steve says:


    You’d rather use xFIP? Because that’s about all Halladay leads in.

    Oh, and WPA/LI. Wow, all of two.

    How am I doing gymnastic adjustments? I’m simply presenting as many metrics as possible, something that this article doesn’t even pretend to do. More information is better than less, no?

    The “Halladay is better” crew wants us to make a ridiculously high adjustment in Halladay’s numbers because he had to face better teams. Of course, they base this off of an article that has some terribly flawed analysis in it. You need to give a massive “strength of schedule” boost to Halladay to push him into Lee’s strata in pretty much every metric that exists.

    Do you have a problem with pitcher VORP too? PRC? Runs prevented? WPA? Please tell me, what stats WILL you accept? I suppose nothing that would paint Lee in a better light than Halladay, right? No reason to do objective analysis when we can obscure the facts instead, or just fabricate them, like claiming that Halladay has the best K/BB in the majors (Kevin Slowey does).

    Look, I get it, agreeing with the CW is boring. Everyone who uses “newflanged bloggerific anti-Joe Morgan” stats needs to just go against the grain whenever possible, because that’s how you get ahead, by shaking things up, right? Albert Pujols as the best player is boring, let’s argue for Berkman or Manny instead, because it’s exciting!

    So the Blue Jay fans and the Cult of Halladay can continue to gripe and act as if some great injustice is being done, act like Halladay is being disrespected even though everyone agrees he’s on a short list of the best pitchers in all of baseball. When Lee wins the Cy Young, and he will, no doubt about that, you can all cry together and bemoan the sorry fate of Canadian pitchers and write articles about how Dave Stieb should be in the Hall of Fame and how dare the terrible writers exercise their anti-Canada bias (because that’s why George Bell won the 1987 MVP, right? The writers hate Canada!).

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  12. Steve says:

    The run support only matters for W-L record, which I haven’t used once. For the record, BP’s expected won-loss record has Lee at 18-5.7 and Halladay at 14.7-10, so what do you know, another category in which Lee wins!

    Basing a Cy Young campaign off of how you think someone will do going into the future….I mean, that just doesn’t make any sense. If you think Halladay will have a better year than Lee next year, that’s fine. In fact, even as a Tribe fan I would agree with you. But you don’t get awards based on your MARCEL projections for the next season.

    If you’d rather use raw K/9 and BB/9 and raw IP and total Ks than more advanced metrics, fine. But then I expect you to fully accept when someone would rather use raw ERA or raw RA or ERA+/RA+ when they argue in favor of Lee.

    I haven’t run the numbers, and doing this might even make Halladay’s care stronger, but the team EQA analysis really should focus on the splits versus righties as opposed to lefties, because there’s no way a team of Jack Cust and Grady Sizemore and Luke Scott would perform as well against Lee as they would against Halladay in the long run.

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  13. Steve says:

    And why the hate for WPA? Isn’t the Cy Young a question of value? Isn’t throwing 8 innings of 1 run ball more valuable when your team only has two runs than it is when they score 13 runs in the first two innings? When you factor in the leverage of the innings Lee has pitched, he murders Halladay by the tune of 2 wins or so (more if you don’t consider Halladay’s 2 1/2 innings of relief which boosted him by ~.23 WPA), which is a significant advantage, that’s the difference between Halladay and Scott Baker, also the difference between Baker and Bronson Arroyo.

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  14. Steve says:

    I tend to gauge a stat’s validity by A. how it correlates with other similar stats and B. how it matches up with my/everyone else’s perceptions.

    So I’m a bit more comfortable with WPA than I am with WPA/LI, in no small part because WPA/LI has Derek Lowe as the 7th best pitcher in all of baseball this year. So if you’re more comfortable with a stat that says that Lowe has been better than Haren, Peavy, Webb, Dempster, etc….hey, more power to you.

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  15. Steve says:

    Clearly, there’s no point in continuing this, you have your mind made up, and so do I, but I wish you had presented a bit more even-handed analysis in this post. You gripe about win-loss record and point to run support, but you ignore that Lee’s RS numbers are greatly skewed by a few huge offensive performances by the Tribe, you ignore that Lee got a no decision in a game where he pitched 9 scoreless innings, another in which he gave up 1 run in 7 1/3 innings, and another in which he gave up 1 run in 8 innings, and one last one in which he gave up 2 runs in 6 1/3. Given his “outstanding run support,” why didn’t he win those games? Don’t those “tough NDs” outweigh the games he legitimately shouldn’t have won? Obviously the Texas game he didn’t “deserve” to win, you can argue the same for the May 30th game against the Royals, and finally his last start against the Royals, but if you do a more in-depth analysis, you’d know that he gave up the majority of those runs in the 9th inning, and inning that he was only allowed to start because the game was already a blowout; had he only been given “Average” run support and the game was closer, Lewis would have been called in to start the inning.

    He deserved both of his losses, he didn’t deserve two of his wins but he had four no decisions that probably should have been wins. He had one no decision that could have gone either way, so let’s say that should stay a ND, and one ND that “should” have been a loss. So that would make his record, what, 24-3? 23-3 or 22-3 if you only give him wins in a couple of those NDs. Either way, it doesn’t change very much.

    So, if you’re arguing W-L records, why not bring up BP’s “Expected” numbers? Because they greatly favor Lee? Average GS favors Halladay, but I’d still rather see it incorporated than omitted. Same with QS%, VORP, all those metrics, why not use as much as possible? You say you didn’t cherry pick, I think you sort of did, and I’m sure we could go back and forth on that all day.

    I don’t mind that you think Halladay was better. I wish you would have highlighted Lee’s case a little better, however.

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  16. Eric Seidman says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    We’ve covered Lee extensively here. I wrote about him a week and a half ago, as well as the player profile on him I wrote at Baseball Prospectus. Your boy Cliff gets plenty of publicity. Halladay gets next to none.

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  17. Steve says:

    I’ll take respect over publicity. K-Rod is getting all the pub. for his saves record, but everyone knows Mo is better, they respect him more, etc.

    Everyone who knows a lick about baseball knows that Roy Boy is one of the elite pitchers in the game, and he has been for a long time now.

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  18. dan says:

    Steve made 11 posts on this thread. 5 in a row at one point.

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  19. Steve says:

    My mind was racing

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  20. Tom Au says:

    Lee, Halliday. They both deserve the Cy Young award. But one of them is going to get it and not the other. Oh, well, there’s always second place.

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  21. Blackadder says:

    Setting aside the acrimony for a moment, another relevant point is that the Blue Jays are a fabulous fielding team, while the Indians are nothing special.

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  22. Bill Dozer says:

    “So the Blue Jay fans and the Cult of Halladay can continue to gripe and act as if some great injustice is being done, act like Halladay is being disrespected even though everyone agrees he’s on a short list of the best pitchers in all of baseball.”

    Dude. Seriously, who’s doing that?

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  23. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Perhaps, Steve, you might want to consider that no one is biased against Lee or for Halladay. Perhaps, just perhaps, there’s a reasonable case to be made that people who have a bit of objectivity here (read; not you) can see.

    As for your “Lee leads in 34 stats!” thing, no, that doesn’t matter at all. There are stats that measure pitching effectiveness well, and WARP3/VORP/WPA just aren’t those stats. They’re measuring (with varying degrees of success) the performance of the Indians as a team when Lee is on the mound.

    And honestly, if your assessment of the validity of a stat is measured by how well it relates to your preconceived notion, then you will never change your mind about anything – you will simply go around looking for things that confirm what you already believe. That’s not analysis – that’s finding as much kool-aid to drink as you possibly can.

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  24. Milendriel says:

    Dear Steve,

    Please stop butchering us so mercilessly. It hurts.



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  25. Keith Law says:

    The failure to mention the two teams’ defenses is a fatal error. You can’t evaluate their performances without considering defense; it pushes the meter firmly in Lee’s favor. And I say that as an unabashed Halladay fan.

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  26. Steve says:


    And you consider this article good analysis? Presenting a very small number of stats that Halladay leads in, alluding to the flawed analysis of Joe Sheehan in the comments and then whining about how disrespected Halladay is?

    You’re better than that, Dave. At least, usually you are. Obviously you have no desire to present anything even close to an even-handed debate on this topic.

    How is Lee’s expected win-loss measuring the Indians performance, Dave? Is Lee leading by such a huge margin in RA+ because of the Indians lineup? He’s leading in Runs Prevented by a large margin because of Shin-Soo Choo’s hot 2nd half? His PRC lead is because of Asdrubal Cabrera’s surge from the right side of the plate?

    And of course you ignore that Halladay has a much better defense behind him, but then why present anything that would hurt Doc’s case, right?

    You honestly think Derek Lowe is the 7th best pitcher in baseball this year? Please, tell me if you honestly think that. Because that’s what WPA/LI says.

    You’re pumping up WPA/LI because it’s what this site features. Unfortunately, it’s not a very good stat.

    Where is your objectivity, Dave? Where is the objectivity in this article? There is none. It doesn’t discuss ANY of Lee’s advantages. It is, plain and simple, a bad article. It talks about runs upport without looking at their individual starts and how a few huge games by the Indians ramped up that RS number. It ignores the NDs that Cliff should have won. It ignores that Lee’s “expected” win-loss record still murders Halladay’s.

    It ignores every single point in Lee’s favor, and then argues that Halladay should win the Cy Young because he has more Ks and his numbers are more sustainable.

    It’s garbage, plain and simple.

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  27. Steve says:

    “The failure to mention the two teams’ defenses is a fatal error. You can’t evaluate their performances without considering defense; it pushes the meter firmly in Lee’s favor. And I say that as an unabashed Halladay fan.”

    But that would mean presenting a piece of evidence in Lee’s favor and actually turning this article into something resembling fair analysis, instead of a piece that solely functions to pump up Halladay while ignopring all of Lee’s accomplishments.

    It’s like when Sports Illustrated has their “Indians Uprising” cover, or when some small blog gives their case for why the Roayls will win 110 games next year.

    The same group of people who laugh like hyenas at Joe Morgan for worshipping wins and batting average would rather use raw Ks and IP than PRC, runs prevented and Pitcher VORP. Outstanding job, fellas.

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  28. Spuds Buckley's Walk-Off Bunt says:

    It is appropriate that Eric Seidman is the magic and performance expert at, because this article is a fantastic guide on how to pull an argument out of your ass.


    Don’t forget to tip your waitresses, folks.

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  29. Milendriel says:


    Nowhere in the article does Eric say he thinks Halladay should win the Cy Young award. The very first sentence of the article shows the opposite. Sure, there’s some snark that follows, but it’s meant to show that the gap between Lee/Halladay is closer than many people think. Eric uses certain stats to show this, implying that these are the stats one should look at to build an argument in Halladay’s favor. Also nowhere in the article is there any “whining” about Halladay being disrespected.

    I suppose Lee isn’t mentioned enough to your liking, but guess what? This article isn’t about him. It’s about Halladay. You can find articles about Lee at this site by looking through the archives. Here’s one:

    Hey look, it’s written by the same author as this one! Eric even mentions a “dearth of articles focused on Cliff Lee” and seeks to rectify that. There’s no mention of Halladay at all. Where was your outrage back then at him only using pro-Lee metrics? Maybe, just, maybe, he’s objectively giving props to both players. I think it’s funny that you accuse Eric and Dave of being biased when you’re the one writing multi-post diatribes filled with strawmen (not to mention some pretty crappy statistics).

    A final word: Lowe is 10th in the majors in tRA and 9th in FIP. He’s had a fantastic season, and very few people have acknowledged it because, like you, they’re hung up on his lack of “name value.”

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  30. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    I don’t have a dog in this race, Steve. If I had a vote, there’s a really good chance it would go to Lee, but I don’t, so I’m not overly worried about it.

    My entire point is that your case is built based on stats that are useless for supporting your case, and you don’t understand what WPA/LI does, so your criticisms of it aren’t valid.

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  31. Steve says:


    Lowe has had a fine season but he’s not the 7th best pitcher in baseball. Also, why would you use fielding independant stats for Lowe, a guy who relies so heavily on his defense? It isn’t a coincidence that Lowe’s hot streak coinciced with stone-footed Jeff Kent being replaced with Blake DeWitt at 2nd base. Like the original author, you’re completing ignoring the value of the superior defense behind Lowe who, surprise surprise, is a groundball pitcher, just like Halladay. Shocking!


    Again, you knock stats without providing any basis for your criticism. How is Runs Prevented not valid when comparing two pitchers? PRC? PRAA? Again, you’d rather use raw Ks and IP? Of course you’re not going to accept any criticisms of WPA/LI, it’s what this site features.

    WPA/LI is a Tom Tango stat, and I respect Tango, but I don’t think it gives a good indication of value for pitchers, because leverage of innings is essential when you assess who has performed better.

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  32. Steve says:

    Oh, and Lee is now leading Halladay in WPA/LI among starters (Halladay’s relief innings push him ahead).

    And why argue raw IP and CGs?

    Lee’s IP/GS: 7.21
    Roy’s IP/GS: 7.33

    So approx. every 3 starts, Halladay gets one more out than Lee. That’s such a miniscule difference.

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  33. Roman says:

    Quality not quantity, Steve. It applies in which stats one leads, it also applies in posts… I think the point here is that it is a toss up, and Lee’s W/L stats have given him more publicity this season. Imagine if Halladay had 23 wins?

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  34. Steve says:

    Halladay hasn’t pitched well enough in 23 starts to get 23 wins, no matter which stat you look at, even if you give him the “outstanding” run support of Lee.

    Lee has quality and quantity. He leads in traditional metrics and advanced metrics. He’s having an amazing season, and when he inevitably wins the Cy Young (and he will), he will be fully deserving of it.

    Also, as Keith Law noted, everyone is ignoring the superior defense of the Blue Jays. Lee has a mediocre defense behind him and he’s still leading the league in pretty much everything.

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  35. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Despite your claims, Steve, I’m not pushing WPA/LI. David has never asked us, nudged us, or pushed us to promote any statistic or any part of fangraphs. He basically hired us and said “write about baseball”, which is what we’re doing.

    To be honest, I’d happily have a discussion with someone who had something resembling an open mind about the various qualities of different statistics in evaluating pitching. You are not that person. Your mind is made up, and that makes continuing this discussion rather pointless.

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  36. Steve says:

    I’d happily be open to your opinions if you would actually back them up with any sort of evidence instead of just saying “this metric is crummy, this metric is useless, this one is great.”

    I’ve read Tango’s (and some others) critique of Win Shares, especially about how they treat defensive contributions (btw, I was using THT’s Win Shares, not the Bill James variety), I’ve read the entire bbtf thread about the “battle of the uber-metrics (WARP vs Win Shares),” I’ve read about Dan R’s WAR stat and his theories about the deficiencies of the other “uber” metrics, etc. I’ve read the problems people have with BP’s definition of the replacement level, how people generally bash FRAR and FRAA in favor of PBP-based metrics (which we only have data on for so many years), and I’m always willing to learn more. But when someone just says “No, that metric is flawed, you should use this one,” it doesn’t add much to the discussion, and that kind of argument isn’t exactly going to sway me.

    If you’d like to explain why you don’t think stats like PRC, pitching VORP, PRAA/PRAR, WPA, Runs Prevented, WARP1/WARP3, Win Shares/WSAB (both BJ and THT variety), Dan R’s WAR(P) and so forth are adequate tools for evaluating pitching performance, I’d be happy to listen, and you could send it to my e-mail if you don’t wish to clutter up this comments section any further. If you’ve already outlined your points in an earlier post (either on this site or any other), direct me to it and I’d be happy to read it and consider the points you raise.

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  37. Doug says:

    Steve is right, Lee is so far superior to Halladay that it is amazing this discussion is even taking place. The only metric that shows halladay might be better is one created and pushed by this site. Dave is the biggest Anti-ERA guy on earth, then one of his blog posts the other day on USSM, he uses ERA to “prove” silva is the worst mariner pitcher. He is a hypocrite, as evidenced here by his blatant dismissal of stats that prove Lee is better than Halladay. They just want some sort of sabermetric Cy Young champion. Lee is the next breed of dominant pitcher and they hate to admit this because they didnt predict it like most Indian fans saw.

    Your biases are pathetic.

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  38. Steve says:


    Did Indians fans think Lee would be good this year? I thought he’d suck.

    However, I will say that when everyone was calling his amazing April a fluke, I had noticed he was commanding all his pitches better than ever before and his approach and poise were worlds better than in 2007, and I figured he’d finish the season as a Top 10 pitcher instead of flaming out like many expected.

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  39. Roman says:

    I wouldn’t mind reading another article on “the best pitching stats” …I don’t think another post would hurt… whats that called, diminishing returns or something?

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  40. Milendriel says:


    I used fielding independent statistics, which… here it comes… don’t take fielding into account! That means that by ignoring the “superior defense” behind Lowe, I’m actually doing him a disservice, and he STILL rates as a top 10 pitcher. But again, you’re so unwilling to admit you’re wrong that you contradict yourself here. I also like how you completely ignored the rest of my post.

    Doug: “Dave is the biggest Anti-ERA guy on earth, then one of his blog posts the other day on USSM, he uses ERA to “prove” silva is the worst mariner pitcher.”

    Um, Dave didn’t write that blog post on USSM. Try again.

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  41. Steve says:

    Milen: I know about fielding independent stats. Stop trying to sound like you’re talking down to me.

    I’m saying that using fielding independent stats for a guy who is INCREDIBLY reliant on his defense is…here it comes…stupid!

    I ignored the rest of your post because it was drivel. Derek Lowe doesn’t have any “name value”? I’d say he has a lot of name value. He’s a very well known pitcher. He is by no means the 7th best pitcher in all of baseball this year, something you and Dave both refuse to comment on. If you’d like to methodically explain how Lowe is better than Peavy and Dempster and Haren and Webb, please, go ahead and do so.

    Why would I admit I’m wrong? Wrong about what, Lee being better than Halladay this year? I’m not wrong. He is better.

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  42. Milendriel says:

    Again, the fielding independent stats UNDERRATE him and STILL say he’s a top 10 pitcher. I’m talking down to you because you clearly contradicted yourself: the point about ignoring defense goes against you and you act like it helps your argument. Anyway, I don’t need to compare him to those guys or say who’s better because he’s performed at or around their level this year. But, as an example for your enjoyment, he’s been vastly better than Peavy: 33 more innings with a better FIP and tRA. You are simply wrong about Lowe and YOU have not presented any evidence to support your argument. All you’ve said is that he simply can’t be the 7th best pitcher, which to me sounds like a name value assessment.

    It’s funny you accuse me of writing drivel when you’re the one hacking away at strawmen:

    “Look, I get it, agreeing with the CW is boring. Everyone who uses “newflanged bloggerific anti-Joe Morgan” stats needs to just go against the grain whenever possible, because that’s how you get ahead, by shaking things up, right? Albert Pujols as the best player is boring, let’s argue for Berkman or Manny instead, because it’s exciting!”

    You also didn’t even bother to understand my post. You’re not wrong about Lee being better than Halladay. You’re wrong about Dave being biased (which is patently absurd), Eric being biased and whining about Halladay not getting respect (he wrote a nice post about Lee which I linked to), and Eric saying Halladay should win the Cy Young (he not only didn’t say that, he said Lee should win it in the very first sentence of the article). You ignored the rest of my post because you are wrong and unwilling to admit it.

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  43. Steve says:

    He didn’t say Lee should win the Cy
    Young. He said that “Lee should win the Cy Young because he leads in x, y and z,” which were all stats that Halladay leads in. He said that Lee *will* win the Cy Young, which is true. Everyone knows that Lee has the Cy Young pretty much locked up. But the snarky way that he worded that sentence would show that he believes that Halladay has had the better season, which is what he is arguing for, is it not?

    “The Cy Young Award in the American League is more than likely going to go to Cliff Lee, and deservedly so. After all, he leads all starters in WPA/LI, has the highest K/BB in baseball, the lowest WHIP, the most innings, the most complete games, ranks third in strikeouts… oh wait, that’s Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays. ”

    That is him saying that Lee deserves the Cy Young? To me, that is saying that *Halladay* deserves it. He says it more than likely WILL go to Cliff Lee, which is a pretty undeniable fact. So how am I wrong, again?

    I didn’t say Lowe can’t be the 7th best pitcher this year. I said he isn’t. What does name value matter? How much name value did Lee have going into the year? You’re getting so caught up in your own argument that you’re completely ignoring mine, and good job comparing him to Peavy, by far the worst of the names I mentioned.

    Derek Lowe isn’t the 7th best pitcher this year. You want an argument for why it’s silly to look at fielding-independent stats when looking at Lowe’s season? Look at his splits on bb-ref. His K/9 is far, far higher in his losses, and while his BB/9 is also a bit higher, it’s nowhere near the same as the discrepancy between his K/9 rates in wins and losses. What is the biggest difference? His BABIP, of course. This is true of all pitchers, they perform better when their defense performs better, but would you expect most pitchers to have a much better K/9 in their inferior starts? Lowe is successful when his defense is efficient and he’s unsuccesful when his defense fails him. You’re ignoring the fact that a superior defense allows Lowe to change his whole gameplan, allowing him to pitch to contact in tight situations when earlier, with Kent and other butchers like Nomar behind him, he’d have to rely on striking guys out. You act like his defense doesn’t affect his K and BB numbers, but it most certainly does. When his defense fails him, he has go for the K more often, he has to nibble more, which accounts for both the higher BB/9 and the higher K/9, but that K/9 still can’t overcome the high BABIP, and as a result Lowe gets shelled when his defense is unreliable, just like every other groundball guy who relies heavily on his infield defense. I’m sure you’ll dismiss all of this talk of “gameplanning” as Hoodoo because it can’t be quantified into an easy to digest number, and it’s obviously impossible that a defense could have an intangible effect on a pitcher, right?

    Dave may not be biased in favor of one pitcher or another, but he is certainly biased in favor of certain statistics, and he refuses to explain why he believes certain stats are “bad” or “wrong” while the ones he uses are somehow superior.

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  44. Steve says:

    In the time since I posted my last message, I have created a definitive super-stat called “Pitching Runs, Wins, and Pennants above Average Median League Level Formulated Indisputably Because I Said So,” or PRWPAMLLFIBISS, pronounced as “Power Pam-El Fibiss,” which incorporates all a pitcher’s raw stats, rate stats, pitch/Fx data, play by play information, makes adjustments for league, park, quality of opponent’s faced and defense, and includes a comprehensive analysis of each start/appearance by each pitcher.

    It ranks Lee 1st by a large margin, Halladay 2nd, then a large gap to Lincecum, who ranks 3rd, and finally Derek Lowe, who ranks 819th, below Radhames Liz, Edward Mujica and Cory Lidle.

    All other metrics are stupid and irrelevant, though I will now leave before I give any evidence as to why I hold such an opinion.

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  45. Steve says:

    And how is Lowe underrated by fielding independent stats? When I referred to his “Superior defense,” I didn’t mean as compared to Lee or Halladay or Peavy or Whitey Ford, I meant in comparison to HIMSELF, i.e. when he had guys like Kent and Nomar behind him.

    In his losses, Lowe’s numbers are this: 65 2/3 IP, 53 Ks, 17 BBs, and 9 homers. Now obviously, those homers hurt him a lot, but I’m certain that his fielding-independent numbers would look a lot better than his ugly 5.89 ERA, wouldn’t they? So in that case, his FIP wouldn’t underrate him at all.

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  46. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open it and prove everyone right. Words to live by, Steve.

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  47. Steve says:

    More attacks without any evidence, Dave. Not that I’m surprised by your lack of anything that could actually add to the discussion at this point, however, as you’ve made it more than clear that you have no desire to do anything but knock any stat I use for support without providing a basis for your criticism and then provide a healthy dose of snark just to add to the overall arrogance of your posts.

    A fine combination, Mr. Cameron.

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  48. Steve says:

    “To be honest, I’d happily have a discussion with someone who had something resembling an open mind about the various qualities of different statistics in evaluating pitching.”

    What happened to that, Dave? I asked you for exactly that, I asked to be INFORMED by you, the guru, the wise master, please shower me with your wisdom about statistics. Are you going to follow your own dictum, or are you just going to keep being an ass? Because I’m fine either way, but if you actually want to show me some, you know, informed analysis of why the stats I’ve used are so inferior to the metrics you prefer, I’d love to look over it. I am in favor of more information, not less.

    Here’s your chance to inform the “fool,” Dave. I’m not just being snarky, I’d honestly be interested in reading your analysis of the different metrics I’ve provided and why you feel they don’t give an adequate picture of pitcher performance/value.

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  49. Dave Cameron says:
    FanGraphs Supporting Member

    The best way to convince someone to freely give some of their free time to have a conversation with you for your benefit is to not publicly claim they are biased ignorant asses.

    Think whatever you want of me, it doesn’t matter – I just don’t have any real desire to have that conversation with you.

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  50. Steve says:

    I never called you ignorant, Dave. Quite the opposite of that, I said I respect your opinions. You’re the one who called me a “fool.”

    I’m calling you an ass because I think you’re acting like one. You say you have a desire to engage in a reasoned debate about the merits of different statistical measurements, but when I try and take you up on it, you instead insult me and make no effort to actually provide any useful information or analysis.

    I’m sorry that your free time at midnight in front of your computer is too valuable to share with this humble fool. Would you rather I cut you a check? I think I’ll be able to live without receiving your wisdom, somehow. I’ll manage, and you know why? Becuase I’m a scrappy gamer, a dirt-dog with heart, courage and intangibles. Because my house has great chemistry and is chock full of character guys and veteran leaders.

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  51. Aaron B. says:

    Cliff Lee plays in a tougher home park plus with an inferior defense, especially in the infield, where more of Lee’s batted balls in play go: G/F ratio of 1.39:1. And Lee is still leading the league in most of the major “traditional” stats, “broken” sabermetric stats (like VORP, and thus, WARP, although I don’t know if the pitching VORP has an inaccurate run value for walks like VORP for hitters), and is so close to Doc in WPA/LI and K/BB ratio, it’s pretty much negligible.

    Look, I’m sure we all love Doc here. He’s the best pitcher in the AL, especially since Johan and CC left. But Lee’s PERFORMANCE this season has been better. Not blow-you-out-of-the-water-with-ten-sticks-of-dynamite better, but still better, as of this posting.

    Steve, I don’t know if you’ve read this or not (though you probably have, since you follow Tango’s work) but here’s why using WPA isn’t sound and why WPA/LI is a better (though not perfect) way of evaluating a player.

    Why WPA is up and sortable on fangraphs instead of only WPA/LI, I don’t know. Probably because people want to see the two components of WPA/LI.

    And it’s “fewer”, not “less”, when you talk about something easily countable like “Cliff Lee is giving up fewer home runs per nine innings than Roy Halladay.”

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  52. Aaron B. says:

    btw, it’s only 9 PM in Seattle…

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  53. Steve says:

    Aaron: Thank you. I’ve seen that before but I’m going over it again right now to refresh my memory about the components of WPA/LI and why it’s valuable as a metric.

    I know that the complaint about hitter VORP is that it doesn’t value walks highly enough, so how would that translate to pitcher VORP? Would it not punish pitchers enough for giving up walks? If so, it seems like both Lee and Halladay would have even better numbers using a “fixed” pitcher VORP since both are outstanding in BB/9, Lee being tops in baseball and Halladay only behind Mussina (and Slowey if he has enough innings) and tied with Mad Dog. Or does it give pitchers too much credit for issuing few walks? I’d be interested in seeing some discussion about pitcher VORP, if such a discussion exists.

    And you’re right, I forgot that Dave is a West Coast guy, so it’s only 9 PM over there.

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  54. Steve says:

    In that article, Tango says:

    “The only thing we are doing is realizing that baseball might not be a random game, and that a player might tailor his approach based on the base/out inning/score. We don’t know how much he does tailor his approach. That needs to be studied. ”

    To some extent, I think he has it right. Obviously players don’t only start trying when the Leverage Index is high, and even though “clutch” is always a taboo word, I would say that even if there is no such thing as a clutch player, or a clutch ability, there arfe certainly clutch hits. A game winning walk-off grand slam is a “clutch” hit, though the guy hitting it isn’t a “clutch” hitter.

    And yeah, in some ways it’s ridiculous that if the Blue Jays socre 20 runs in the first inning and Halladay goes on to throw a shutout, he barely gets any +WPA for it, whereas if he pitches a poor game but manages to “pitch just well enough to win” in a tight game, he’ll probably fair better by WPA. In a way it’s saying that after the Jays score those 20 runs, you could have Brian Tallet throw an inning of relief then sign Jose Lima from whatever independent-league team he is playing for to pitch the next 7 innings and you’d pretty much have the same chance of getting a win, but still, if Halladay pitches a shutout, it’s still impressive, even if he has a 20 run cushion.

    So I see the faults in WPA, though I think it has some useful components. Certainly it overrates closers a bit (I don’t think Lidge has actually been more valuable than Halladay, not even close), but it’s also possible that WPA/LI underrates them, because I do think there’s a good chance that Lidge has been more valuable than, say, Gil Meche, who beats him in WPA/LI. That’s just my opinion of course, but I think there is some merit in evaluating how players do in high leverage situations, especially for a “position” like closer that is paid to “thrive i pressure situations,” though occasionally those “pressure situations” include three run leads against the San Diego Padres with no one on base.

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  55. Steve says:

    Another interesting thing that Tango says:

    “On the other hand, WPA does serve a purpose, if you look at it from the pitcher. A pitcher is the one who puts himself in the position he finds himself. So, any bad timing, he’d have to answer to. ”

    In a way, a pitcher is “rewarded” for getting into more jams, as long as he gets out of them. Hence why Dice-K, with his ludcirous strand rate and very high WHIP (well, high for his ERA) and BB/9 has a much better WPA than WPA/LI. He gets into a lot of james, and then gets out of most of them. He’s manufacturing his own high leverage situations, and then taking advanatge of them insofar as he is boosting his WPA.

    However, as should be obvious by now, I’m a huge Tribe fan. I’ve seen every start by Cliff Lee, and the guy hasn’t gotten into very many jams this year. Now, when he does get into jams, he’s tended to get out of them, and sure, part of that is luck, but I don’t think you could say that Lee benefits from WPA for the same reason than Dice-K does.

    I mean, as far as not allowing baserunners, Lee and Halladay have both been great, right? If you add HBP to WHIP (and I don’t see why you shouldn’t), they both have a “new” WHIP of 1.11. Literally, Halladay leads by .001. However, to be perfectly fair, 3 of Roy’s walks are IBB, where Lee hasn’t issued an IBB this year. I don’t know if this is the case for Roy, but IBB tend to be a managerial decision, so it’s not really Roy’s “fault” that those 3 guys were on base. I would change my stance on this if I actually knew that Roy called for the IBB himself. Also, 18 of those hits allowed by Roy were HRs, as opposed to 11 for Lee. That doesn’t really speak to Roy being better, but it does mean he’s had less baserunners to deal with.

    Either way, you can’t compare either of them to Dice-K with his 90 walks, his horrid BB/9 and his 1.353 WHIP, right?

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  56. Aaron B. says:

    Not sure about VORP actually. There are dozens (scores? hundreds? maybe even thousands) of people out there more qualified to talk about that than I am.

    Gil Meche’s higher WPA/LI is probably more accurate portrayal of value, since most people would rather have ~200 innings of above average (111 ERA+, 3.65 fangraphs FIP) pitching than ~66 innings of great (and Lidge has been great this season: 235 ERA+, 2.42 FIP… man, Ed Wade must be kicking himself now) pitching.

    I think we both agree on Dice-K. I mean, I know the guy’s oozing “winner” this season (at least he is when hearing a lot of Sahwkz fans), but I hope people aren’t expecting the same RA, etc. against him if he does this again next season.

    Oh yeah, I hate WHIP. I can’t see why people would use it in a serious analysis. I know it’s pretty much ok, but so are OPS+ and Runs Created, and serious analysis should strive to be more accurate than that. At least you added HBP and discussed the homer portion of WHIP (thus addressing its two major problems).

    Lee’s three averages against: .251/.281/.341
    Doc’s three averages against: .239/.278/.348

    Unadjusted for league and park factors. Better than WHIP

    And being a stickler again, it’s “fewer baserunners”, not “less baserunners”.

    Another note:
    Grady Sizemore has had the most outstanding performance of any position player in the AL this season. Whether or not he’s the “MVP” is another matter… well, everyone has their own definition of “MVP” so it’s a moot point really.

    And finally: I’m somewhat surprised at the ad hominem attacks on this post. I guess I just expected better from people who think seriously and critically about this kind of stuff.

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  57. Steve says:


    I think which hypothetical pitcher is more valuable (200 average innings from a starter, though Meche has been above average, or 60-70 outstanding innings from a reliever) is a big problem for people within baseball, especially general managers. What is Gil Meche, or a Gil Meche-type pitcher, really worth? What’s the value of a good closer over a shaky closer-by-committee situation? Obviously, someone is going to grossly overpay K-Rod, and every advanced statistical analyst will scoff at it, but there IS some value to having a good closer…it’s just not worth the ~15 million that K-Rod is likely to command.

    I guess I have a bias as an Indians fan. I mean, I know that a “steady” closer is overrated, I saw the 2007 team do just fine with the decidedly mediocre JoeBlo, but I also saw the 2004 team absolutely implode in April/May with hacks like Scott Stewart and Jose Jimenez blowing games left and right, and I can’t help but think that if we just had Rivera, if we just had Nathan or even the overrated but usually reliable K-Rod, we could have been so much better, we could have been a playoff team (well, possibly).

    As far as Grady, I think a lot of people have pointed out that he’s probably the best overall player in the AL (though it seems like sort of a weak crop this year, doesn’t it?), but he does have some really weird home/road splits. I don’t read much into it, since The Prog isn’t anything resembling a hitter’s park, and it’s most likely a one-year aberration, but it’s worth pointing out that Grady is pretty average on the road this year and a monster at home.

    Also, isn’t it hard to believe that Grady has the 3rd best OPS on the Indians since the ASB? Choo and Shoppach are beating him. Obviously the pre-ASB stats are just as important, but I think a lot of non-Tribe fans would be shocked to hear that, unless they’ve been paying attention to just how good Choo and Shoppy has been lately.

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  58. Shawn says:

    As a Jays fan, it is absolutely painful watching arguably the best pitcher of this generation not get any recognition from the mainstream baseball media and fan base. And even more painful that we can’t get him to the playoffs. I actually find myself wishing sometimes that he’d get traded to the NL where he could obliterate the competition and make the playoffs every year.

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  59. Milendriel says:

    Again with the multiple posts in a row. Hilarious.

    Anyway, I’m getting bored of finding new ways to say “you’re wrong” that you’ll inevitably ignore, so this will be the last one. Regarding Lowe, your little bit of “evidence” reeks of selection bias. You realize that pitchers don’t pitch at the same level every start, right? There’s also noise from factors like run support, quality of opposition, and plain old luck. Even so, the sample sizes just aren’t big enough for you to make the claims you’re trying to make, especially when you don’t have any evidence to back that speculation up. There’s also no tie-in between your speculation and any sort of conclusion against Lowe being a top 10 pitcher this year. The stats are firmly against you and the best you can come up with is some rant about how his defense-independent statistics are skewed by his…defense? Do you even know what defense-independent means? If you don’t think those metrics are truly defense-independent, it’s going to take a lot more than a speculative argument founded on one piece of data taken from a small and biased sample filled with extraneous variables to win any respect for that theory. I have a better theory with better evidence: you are wrong.

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  60. Aaron B. says:


    I understand having bullpen stability is something that most GM’s want. I mean, even a lot of relievers these days want to know their “niche” in the ‘pen so that they get comfortable with it. It’s not the best thing in most cases (usually the only commonly-practiced bullpen… um practice, is bringing in a LOOGY or ROOGY against a lefty or righty, respectively, and even this simple platoon strategy is flawed) if one wants to optimize one’s leveraging of one’s relievers. I just think it’s probably better to have a guy who makes it a 3 inning game every five days than a guy who makes it an 8 inning game every 2-3 days.

    Also, according to Baseball-Reference’s park factors, the renamed Jake’s batting factor has been 106 this season, with a multi-year (I think the previous two years plus this season) factor of 103.


    I feel for you buddy. Hang in there… crazier things have happened than the Jays making the playoffs in the near future with Doc.

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  61. Aaron B. says:


    I can agree with you saying that Lowe’s been one of the top 10 pitchers in the NL (only… sucks that CC’s monster season is broken up into two leagues) this season. I’m not so sure there’s a compelling argument that Lowe’s been in the top 10 in all of baseball, but I’m willing to listen.

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  62. Steve says:

    Mlien: What evidence? Three stats? The only hilarious thing is that you think that three stats are conclusive of ANYTHING.

    And I was right, you completely ignore my argument and try to paint it as voodoo because it can’t be easily quantified. I’m sorry that you can’t ponder anything that isn’t absolutely concrete, but it’s pretty simple. Lowe doesn’t just have better “hit luck” when he has a better defense behind him, he’s also performed better with his rates. If you want me to do a start-by-start analysis instead of simply lumping it into wins, losses and NDs as BB-ref does, then I will, but I would bet that the data holds true.

    No stat can ever be truly “defense-independent” because the quality of a pitcher’s defense will change a pitcher’s approach. If you think Derek Lowe has the same gameplan with Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano as his keystone as he does with Ozzie Smith and Maz, then you really have no business discussing baseball with anyone. Defense-independent stats TRY to remove the defense from the equation, but you can never completely remove the impact of a pitcher’s defense from his stats. Especially a pitcher who depends a lot on his defense, like a groundball-specialist.

    Oh, and if Lowe was giving up more hits because his “stuff” was worse (which you allude to when you say that pitchers don’t pitch at the same level every start), why was he striking far more batters out? Wouldn’t he be more likely to get less Ks if he was simply a victim of “not having it” on that day? And yet he ended up with far more, in fact.

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  63. Steve says:


    WPA/LI has Lowe as the 3rd best pitcher in the NL, 4th if you count CC.

    I’m not saying that’s impossible. Lowe has had a really great run after the ASB and he started out hot in April, too. I’m just saying that when I look at everything else, it seems unlikely that he’s the 3rd best in the NL and 7th best in all of baseball.

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  64. Steve says:

    Here’s how Lowe fairs in some of those “broken” stats that I used earlier. For starters, PRC. If you don’t like PRC, you should take it up with David Gassko, because he invented the metric.

    Lowe is at 87 PRC, 13th in the NL and 27th in all of baseball.

    His xFIP is much better, 6th in all of baseball, but xFIP also says Josh Beckett is the 2nd best pitcher in all of baseball. I’m sure I’ll get attacked for relying too much on “name value,” but do we really think that Beckett has had a better season than Lincecum? Better than Lee? Hell, for that matter, better than Lowe? Since Lowe ranks well in FIP and xFIP, I don’t really think we should say that these metrics are “underrating” Lowe.

    Lowe is 20th in Pitching VORP and 30th in Runs Prevented. Both of those stats may be grossly underrating Lowe. WPA/LI and xFIP might be overrating him.

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  65. Bart says:

    @ Steve and others whining on and on about statistics

    You ever wonder how they determined who won the Cy Young before all those lame brained stats that you all mention were even thought up? Did they only focus on W-L back in the early days of the award? Because they didn’t factor in any of those stats you all bow down to, and kiss your own balls for, does that make those pitchers any worse or better than that history has shown them to be?

    So, lets get back to the old school way of things and leave all the pansy ass stats at home for those modern day idiots claiming to know all about baseball cuz of the numbers … what counts? The fact that Halladay has factored in 30 of his 32 starts (either win or loss) where as Lee has only done so in 24 of 30. Halladay has 8 complete games, Lee only 4. As a true pitcher you always want to stay out and be a factor in the game for as long as possible and Halladay instills that belief in his fellow players, coaches and opposition. When you play against Halladay you know you’re up for one of the harder games you’ll have to play in during the season and if you’re on his team you know that you’ve got a chance to win no matter what line-up the oppostion throws at you.
    To turn around from a 2-4 April … to only let opponents get 10 or more hits just twice in a season (Lee six times) against you … to hummiliate your opponents 201 times while only getting burned 18 times yourself … to carry yourself from the field in the way Halladay does and to be the face of a franchise in the way he’s been … that’s the mark of a true winner.

    You can whine all you like about stat this and stat that but you don’t know what it’s like to face a pitcher like Halladay (neither do I by the way but I would hang my head as I trudged out to face his onslaught of pitches.) He is the last of a dying breed as players and owners and fans get obsessed by cash and stats and cream their pants every time their favorite player gets mentioned in some lame internet news article. Give me a break. I’d rather loose those 11 games and have Halladay on my team any day than ride a 20+ win season the way Lee has been doing.
    If you really like the game of baseball then go out to a freaking ball park, start watching instead of analysing each number as they flash by on your GameDay screens. Live for the dust and grass, or unfortunately in Halladay’s case the patchy green carpet around him, and get your fucking faces away from that lame computer screen you’re staring at at this very second.

    Those are my two cents … now let the dissargreements roll on (looking for a couple Stevo) … I’ll read them when the season is over as I wanna catch as much of the real game as possible while drunkenly filling out that silly stat sheet sitting in the bleachers … if you see me at the ballpark, I like extra cheese on my nachos! (don’t forget the beer)
    take care all

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  66. Sky says:

    I’m not a big fan of WPA or WPA/LI for starters, for the same reasons I don’t like ERA — no accounting for ballpark and defense.

    If you look at defense-independent stats like FIP, xFIP, tRA, etc, Lee comes out a bit ahead on most, and Halladay’s advantage in IP and degree-of-difficult doesn’t quite make that up, although it’s pretty close. Toronto is actually a slightly better park for hitters than Cleveland these days, but both are right near average.

    Halladay certainly deserves nearly the same level of recognition as Lee does, but the real story should be how nobody’s at all close to these two guys. Calling Lee a no-brainer Cy Young winner isn’t using your brain.

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  67. Brent says:

    Barts’ post was the finest in satire.

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  68. El Rey says:

    Porque no te callas!

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  69. Joakim says:

    El Rey, estoy de acuerdo contigo totalmente.

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  70. Derek Jeter says:

    He never throws a ball over the middle of the plate. He goes corner-to-corner as good as any pitcher in the game. I’ve said it before, he’s probably the best starter in baseball.

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  71. Derek Jeter says:

    Above quote was regarding Roy Halladay, of course.

    Anyway, for people arguing about traditional statistics, how about the COMPLETE GAME?

    Roy had 9 this season. That is simply remarkable, in this era of pitch counts.

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  72. SP says:

    Since we’re talking about the Cy Young that Greinke locked up, I went back and looked at last year’s much closer race: Lee vs. Halladay.

    Boy this sure was a heated debate. I still think Halladay should’ve won. He was toe to toe with Lee in just about every category. He was also ahead in these: 9 CGs to 4 for Lee, 4.72 run support vs 6.13, 2 more starts, lower WHIP, 23 more IP, better K/BB, better K/9, lower P/PA, lower P/IP, way better GB/FB ratio, lower opp. OPS and OBP, way lower opp. BA, higher AGS (avg game score), the highest PRC (pitching runs created) – tied with Lee, best adjusted FIP – Lee was 6th, 2nd most quality starts in AL with 23 – tied with Lee, and a better ERC (Component ERA) and ERC%

    What put Doc over the top was the much much tougher competition and his awful run support as shown here: ( and here: (

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