Why Kershaw But Not Lee?

Finishing one out short of his sixth shutout of the season Wednesday night, Cliff Lee capped off a magnificent August by holding the Reds scoreless over 8 2/3 innings. He turned in the following numbers for the penultimate month of the regular season: 39 2/3 innings, 23 hits, 2 earned runs, 8 walks, 39 strikeouts.

He kept 48 percent of balls put in play on the ground and kept runners off base to the tune of a 0.78 WHIP. All told, his gaudy 0.45 on the month produced a 12 ERA-, meaning it was 88 percent better than the league.

And yet, Lee’s August paled in comparison to his June this season, when he posted a 0.21 ERA that, when normalized for season and league, actually represents the best mark for that month in the Retrosheet era. The Phillies broadcast displayed a graphic the other night showing that only three pitchers have won five or more games without losing, and with a sub-1.00 ERA in two different months: Walter Johnson, Bob Gibson and Lee. Even if the win-loss record qualifier was removed Lee would still find himself in limited company in this regard.

Overall, Lee has performed up to high expectations this year with the Phillies. Roy Halladay garners much of the attention in that dynamic rotation, but Lee has been fantastic. He has thrown 194 2/3 innings over 27 starts, with a 9.2 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 46 percent groundball rate and a 2.59 ERA supported by his 2.75 xFIP and 2.68 SIERA. His elite level numbers invite the question of why Clayton Kershaw, who has similar numbers, is getting plenty of award consideration, while Lee is consistently overlooked.

Seriously, take a look at their numbers next to one another:

Lee: 194.2 IP, 2.59 ERA, 2.68 SIERA, 9.2 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 46% GB, 5.5 WAR
Kershaw 198.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 2.72 SIERA, 9.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 44% GB, 5.8 WAR

Kershaw has better strikeout numbers but not a substantial lead. Lee can say the same in the walks department. They induce grounders at the same clip. Their ERA and estimators are right in line, and their innings pitched are almost identical, especially when you consider that Lee has made one fewer start. So why is it that Kershaw has jumped to the forefront of the ‘dethroning Roy Halladay’ conversation, while Lee is more of an afterthought for the Cy Young Award?

Most of it has to do with context. Kershaw is, in a sense, a big fish in a small pond on the lowly Dodgers. While the performance of the team leaves much to be desired, he stands out as one of their two bright spots. Plus, while MVPs tend to come from winning teams, Cy Young Award winners come from all over the spectrum — individual performance is weighted heavier than team results. Add to that how Kershaw has improved upon his numbers over the last two seasons and it just feels like he is doing more.

On the other side, Lee is producing his terrific numbers in the shadow of Halladay. It’s as if the Phillies already submitted Halladay as their award contender for the year, so fans and writers shouldn’t bother paying any attention to other pitchers on the same team. While Halladay still ranks as the best pitcher in the league, this makes it tougher for Lee and Hamels to stand out and, individually, garner the attention they deserve.

Kershaw exemplifies that sentiment. Give him Lee’s exact numbers — and as we explored above, they are practically one and the same right now — and he is a viable award candidate. But Lee probably isn’t a candidate with his own numbers unless he has a majestic September that rivals his June and August.

He has more work cut out for him since voters will have a tough time justifying a vote for a Phillies pitcher not named Roy Halladay.

Roy Halladay doesn’t have to win the Cy Young Award, but Lee should receive as much praise as Kershaw right now. Statistically, they are having just about the same season.




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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.


97 Responses to “Why Kershaw But Not Lee?”

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  1. mbrady16 says:

    Absolutely, I agree. My guess is Lee is overlooked now because he started off the season “cold”- i.e. didn’t dominate right away (according to ERA, but his FIP/xFIP were right in line), whereas Halladay was dominant from the get-go and took all of the attention. For some reason, Cliff isn’t accepted as simply one of the top-5 best pitchers in the game even though the best evidence available to us says he is.

    I really hope his perception isn’t skewed simply because of turning down the Yankees, that would be a shame.

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    • Yirmiyahu says:

      I don’t agree. I think Seidman has made a good argument for why Cy Young voters (and the media commentariat) should consider Cliff Lee the second or third best pitcher in the NL this year.

      While their numbers are close, Kershaw is beating Lee in every significant stat that non-sabermetricians look at:

      W’s, L’s, ERA, IP’s, starts, K/9, WHIP, AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS, FIP

      It’s really only by looking at SIERA and xFIP that you can consider Lee have better stats than Kershaw.

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      • mbrady16 says:

        I meant that I agree with him on his argument that Cliff is overlooked in lieu of Kershaw and Halladay, not that he’s better than either of them this year.

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      • Cliff Lee says:

        don’t I still pitch in a much more hitter-friendly park?

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      • Clayton Kershaw says:

        OH COMON Cliff! You already won one with the Indians.. and besides, did you know I get much less run support than you do? Hmm, you have Howard, Utley, Rollins, Victorino, Polanco, and Pence. Who do I have? Hmm, Jamey Carroll and Eugenio Velez.. And lets be honest here, your fastball will NEVER hit 99 on any given day and you just dont have the deadliest curveball in the majors. Im only 23 your like 30-something.. I deserve the Cy Young this year, hands down.

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      • Felix Hernandez says:

        Hey, fellas! Did you know that pitchers these days can win a Cy Young Award without having a sparkling W/L record? and while pitching in “pitchers parks”.

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      • Zach Grienke says:

        Yeah… what he said.

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      • Mat Latos says:

        I hate all of you. Come on, y’all – get behind tERA!

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  2. Stormin' Norman says:

    Wonder what the discussion would be if Hamels didn’t miss his a week or two with his injury issue. He’s been just as good (less strikeouts but more grounders) just with less wins.

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  3. OakParkErnest says:

    You’re the only person in history to refer to LA as a small pond!

    I totally get what you’re saying, but it still gave me a chuckle.

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  4. domingoes says:

    Lee’s splits are funny this year. He had a superb June and August in terms of wins and ERA but his July was a great month in terms of SO/BB. In 33 IP he had 40 strikeouts and only 5 walks for an 8:1 ratio. Lee gave up some extra home runs and had a high BABIP so his ERA was his worst of any month. His second best month in terms of SO/BB ratio was April, which was also his second highest ERA. His two lowest months in terms of xFIP were his two highest months in terms of ERA.

    All of this comes from small sample size, but when Lee has had a few starts where he went on a tear he has also run into the kind of luck that masks just how good he really should have looked during April and July.

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  5. bill says:

    Like people have said, a lot of it is variance. Lee has been extremely dominant in some starts and inconsistent in others. For example – 5 complete game shutout to Roy Halladay’s zero, and yet still a worse ERA and FIP.

    Plus it’s hard to vote for Lee when his own teammate has been better.

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  6. eric_con says:

    Is this really the perception of Cliff Lee, that he is overlooked? I’m a Phillies fan, so I have been watching all three of the Phils pitchers pretty equally. In my mind the main contenders for Cy Young right now are Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kershaw and Lincecum (not necessarily that order). Does Hamels have no shot?!

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    • novaether says:

      Hamels still has a shot, but he has to overcome Halladay and Lee to get there at this stage. Remember that the number of wins you have matters a lot in Cy Young voting, and Hamels only has 13. Lincecum is something like 12-11. The Cy is not going to a ~.500 pitcher.

      Also, you forgot Ian Kennedy.

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      • Breadbaker says:

        Yeah, that Felix Hernandez had no shot last year because of his wins total. Too bad, because his other stats were all pretty decent.

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      • jim says:

        felix also dominated in many other categories, and the voters understood how bad seattle’s offense was. he also didn’t have two teammates having better seasons, and another pitcher on a different team. not even close to an applicable argument

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  7. novaether says:

    The reason Lee has been overlooked, in my opinion, is that he doesn’t quite have the ERA and W-L record as Halladay. Of course, we know we have much better stats for determining skill, but that’s what the majority of baseball fans use. If Lee can finish the season with more wins than Halladay, I think he gets the Cy.

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    • Black_Rose says:

      Lee has five complete game shutouts; I love watching complete game shutouts. I hope that would be worth something to the voters, regardless that he tanked (ERA wise, not in FIP early in the season.)

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      • Ashley says:

        Totally agree. Plus I watched the Phillies game last night and they posted the stat that Lee hasn’t given up a run in 29.2 innings. That is amazing.

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  8. Justin says:

    Maybe a side point, but what component of WAR has Kershaw with more value (even if it is incremental)?

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    • domingoes says:

      Fewer HR and higher IP

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      • domingoes says:

        I’m pretty sure WAR is weighted FIP based on IP, so the fewer HR and higher IP lower his FIP just below Lee’s and the greater IP makes that count for a little bit more WAR as well.

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      • NEPP says:

        I wonder how much of that factor (the HRs) is based on playing in CBP versus Dodger Stadium.

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      • Yirmiyahu says:

        NEPP: despite reputation, Dodger Stadium is actually only slightly below average on it’s HR park factor (in fact, last year, it was actually above average). And the WAR numbers take park factor into account. The raw FIP numbers are converted to park- and league-adjusted FIP- before WAR is calculated.

        Even taking park into account, Kershaw still (barely) beats Lee in ERA and FIP.

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      • NEPP says:

        I wasn’t trying to be a smarta$$ about it, I was genuinely curious.

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      • Pop Tones says:

        Thanks, Giants and Padres!

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  9. Dick says:

    Kershaw pretty much has to shoulder the pitching expectations for LA (no offense to Kuduro)’ whereas Lee is part of an absolutely monstrous pitching rotation. I imagine that carries a lot of weight with the voters.

    Kershaw has also had to do his thing amidst all the off-field turmoil with the ownership issues.

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    • Ashley says:

      Just like Manager of the Year votes…managers of winning teams or teams that are expected to do well since the start of the season, don’t get the votes. Lee and the Phillies have been expected to do well since the beginning of the season whereas the Dodgers have been kinda shaky so Kershaw’s performance has been more noteworthy to many.

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  10. CircleChange11 says:

    So why is it that Kershaw has jumped to the forefront of the ‘dethroning Roy Halladay’ conversation, while Lee is more of an afterthought for the Cy Young Award?

    It’s as if the Phillies already submitted Halladay as their award contender for the year, so fans and writers shouldn’t bother paying any attention to other pitchers on the same team.

    I think you answered your own question.

    The same reason why Fielder gets mentioned for MVP, but not Braun.

    This year, in the NL, you could put the names of 4 pitchers on the wall and throw a dart at it and be fine with whoever it hit as CYA. Same thing with MVP.

    While his numbers are not as impressive as Kershaw, Lee, and Halladay, Ian kennedy is going to enter this discussion as well, even if it is just because he is the surprise candidate with a 17-4 3.03 mark. A strong finish could land him a 20-win season and sub 3-ERA. I’m not promoting pitcher wins and ERA, but those values have traditionally been a key indicator, and well, they are often an indication of a strong season.

    ——————————-

    In both fWAR and brWAR Halladay has set himself atop the list, followed by Lee and Kershaw (and Hamels). That’s really where the discussion for CYA. Kennedy positions himself somewhat in the mix with brWAR, but drops out in fWAR. Matt Cain does the reverse.

    I think a strong case could be made that it’s a 3.5 horse race: Hallday, Lee, Kershaw, and the pre-injury Hamels. While the injury doesn;t take away WAR value, it does take him out of the spotlight in the voters eyes. Kennedy could, in the minds of the voters, leadfrog Hamels and join the discussion as the “ace” of a division winning team.

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    • Eric Seidman says:

      Some times questions are rhetorical devices, haha — it was set up so that I DID answer the question. Otherwise, you hit the nail on the head. What’s funny to me is how Hamels misses two starts and suddenly he’s out of the convo. If he has 5 brilliant starts in September he’s back at the forefront.

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      • Wilson Valdez says:

        As long as the closeness of this race doesn’t give voters a reason to cop out and vote for Kimbrel.

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      • jim says:

        how is voting for kimbrel a cop-out? it’s a copout if they do it and all come out and say “we did it because of his saves and NOTHING ELSE AT ALL EVAR.” but kimbrel isn’t just the very deserving NL ROY, he’s the MLB ROY

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    • PopsBeRiffin says:

      Braun actually is getting serious MVP consideration. Some mainstream writers have said that they would choose him for MVP right now. Braun, Fielder, and Upton will finish as the top 3 in some order. I think Braun will win it. The voters will like his well-roundedness (as a hitter, not physically) due to the SB’s compared to Fielder.

      Meanwhile it will be a crime that Votto might not even crack the top 10.

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      • quinnmc89 says:

        So Kemp doesn’t finish in the top three, let alone get mentioned in your post? Are his stats just a facade? I would think (if the season were to end today) that there be no question that it would come down to Braun and Kemp, both of whom are having monster seasons.

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      • PopsBeRiffin says:

        I didn’t say Fielder, Braun, and Votto were my personal choices for top 3. I would personally have Votto 1st, Kemp 2nd, and Braun 3rd.

        But these voters like contenders, so Kemp will have a difficult time cracking the top 3 and Votto probably won’t crack the top 5.

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      • Ben says:

        I still think Kemp takes the MVP because the field is so diffuse. Every writer will have their number 1 votes split between fielder, braun, upton, and some kemp, but I think Kemp will bet #2 on everyone elses list.

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  11. ecp says:

    I too have wondered why Lee has not been mentioned. My conclusion is similar: There is a perception of “one per team” in peoples’ minds, and for the Phillies, that one is Doc.

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  12. Person says:

    Kershaw could win the pitching triple crown. He currently leads in wins and strikeouts and is second in ERA. I’m fairly sure that’s a nearly complete explanation as to why he’s getting more buzz/consideration than Lee.

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  13. Wilson Valdez says:

    I think the answer to Eric’s question is very simple. Most people still look at the Triple Crown stats, and Kershaw has the lead on Lee in all of them. As a matter of fact, he even leads Halladay in all of them. However:

    rWAR:
    Roy Halladay 6.4
    Cliff Lee 5.8
    Clayton Kershaw 5.5
    Cole Hamels 5.3

    fWAR:
    Roy Halladay 7.2
    Clayton Kershaw 5.8
    Cliff Lee 5.5
    Cole Hamels 5.3

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I was in th eprocess of typing the same information, only including Ian Kennedy (for fun).

      Halladay is the THE candidate. The other guys would acceptable choices, but if we are going to promote WAR as the single most important statistic (or combination of statistics), then halladay has shown (by both WAR methods) to be a good amount atop the list.

      I think somebody else hit the nail on the head when they pointed out the impressiveness of the 23yo putting up the type of season that he is. We all sorta expect Cliff Lee to be one of the top 3, but Kershaw’s kinda taking us by storm.

      I like to average brWAR and fWAR, and when you do that Kershaw and Lee are tied (not that I take the numbers to the right of the decimal seriously).

      I think th epoint could be made that Hamels is even under-appreciated given the season he’s having.

      So, going into the playoffs, PHL has 3 of the top 4 most valuable SPs. Nice.

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  14. Ken Bland says:

    I think the respect Kshaw has received is well deserved. Cliff’s overall numbers are indeed very similar, to both candidates, in fact. But he was so far back entering June, and then has had to push again, which was done with his last 2 starts, neither of which added to his ridiculous 5 complete game shutouts, but added 15 plus more innings of scoreless baseball. Earlier August brought him back in the race, but the last 2 starts have been what’s pulled him right around even.

    I don’t think the premonition of Doc being the Phils candidate is a factor. I just think he has been more consistent, and that’s easier with which to feel comfortable. Plus, Doc’s short outings against the Cubs and Nats, and not closing out Arizona are big deals when you are in a keen competition like this. They’ve essentially come at times when Cliff’s been in pounce mode.

    Cliff keeps rolling, and I think you’ll see him continue to garner attention.
    But the bottom line is he’s just now pulled about even, and I think that accounts for the perceived 2 guy race.

    All 3 guys are tremendous, and easy to root for. Lots of fun watching them.

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  15. NJ_Andy says:

    Isn’t part of it also Kershaw’s youth? It’s more impressive for a guy his age to put together a season like this than it is for a guy like Lee, in the prime of his career, to keep on keeping on.

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  16. vanimal says:

    Vance Worley is the Cy Young winner

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  17. Wilson Valdez says:

    Just saw this stat on Eric’s blog Brotherly Glove.

    “What’s even more amazing is Cliff Lee’s insane August 2.12 FIP is still higher than Halladay’s entire 2011 2.10 FIP.”

    Wow.

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  18. Xeifrank says:

    Is this a bit of a strawman? Who said “Kershaw but not Lee”? Who are these people that are overlooking Cliff Lee? I’m waiting for the “Lee but not Kennedy” article to come out. :)
    vr, Xei

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  19. Eric R says:

    “Plus, while MVPs tend to come from winning teams, Cy Young Award winners come from all over the spectrum — individual performance is weighted heavier than team results.”

    Looking at 1967 onward, the first year in which there wasa Cy young and MVP handed out to a player in each league, the average Cy Young winner came from a team with 89 wins and the average MVP came from a team with 92 wins.

    I think it is alot closer than it’d have to be to say one comes from winning teams and the other from all over the spectrum.

    Granted, the recent trends might be sending us that way [with five Cy Youngs going to players on teams with 81 or fewer wins in the last five years].

    Looks like the pretty big split recently [82 wins for the average CY winers team over the last five years, vs 90 for the MVP] was roughly matched [atleast in terms of the difference] from the first 10 years of my sample; 1967-1976, 89 wins for the CY and 97 for the MVP.

    Those middle 29 years, though, were almost identical; 92 for the Cy Young and 93 for the MVP.

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    • Alby says:

      A good cross-check study might be to check voting records involving very similar candidates — like Lee/Kershaw in a year without Halladay — to see if a consistent pattern emerges. Do voters consistently go with the candidate on the better or worse team, or is the data inconclusive?

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  20. Ed Ed and Eddy says:

    I know he switching leagues helps but Lee still has never come close to striking out this many batters per 9. can he keep that up for a 34 start season? maybe, but i except that # to be in the mid 8s.

    Plus, Kershaw is getting a lot of love because it prevents Dodger fans from jumping off a cliff. Let them have their moment.

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  21. Josh A says:

    I compared all the individual game scores for Halladay, Lee and Hamels on my blog the other day, and I discovered that while they virtually all have the same average game score, Lee’s standard deviation is significantly higher than Halladay or Hamels. He has the most 80+ game scores as well as the most under 50 scores this year.

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    • Bip says:

      I think it would be the same for Kershaw too. Kershaw has 3 games with 6 ER, one with 5 and three with 4, but he also has I think 10 games with 0 ER. More ways in which Kershaw is having a nearly identical season to Lee.

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  22. Andy says:

    While it’s true that we have pitching statistics that control for defense and parks, they aren’t completely infallible. So even if all the advanced stats are exactly the same for Lee and Kershaw, are we really willing to say that they have pitched the same? Maybe we trust the advanced stats more than the traditional ones, but that’s still a lot of faith in just a few numbers. On the other hand, because Lee and Halladay and Hamels play (for the most part) with the same defense behind them and at the same parks, (and on the same team fighting for the playoff spots, if that matters at all to voters) I think we can more easily compare their stats and say one has been better than the other. Once we decide Halladay has been better this season (if we do decide that), then there really is no argument for Lee to win the cy young.
    You might, however, be able to make some arguments for Kershaw being better than Halladay, while at the same time, others might argue Lee’s been better than Kershaw.

    So basically, assuming we’ve agreed Halladay has been better than Lee, I can see a Cy Young ballot where Halladay is 1st, Lee is 2nd, and Kershaw is 3rd, and I can also see a ballot where Kershaw is 1st, Halladay is 2nd, and Lee is 3rd, and a ballot where Halladay is 1st, Kershaw is 2nd, and Lee is 3rd, but I can’t see a ballot where Lee is 1st and ahead of Halladay… So that’s why I think Kershaw has a shot at winning the Cy Young, but Lee does not.

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  23. Scott says:

    For what it’s worth, FIP probably undervalues Kershaw because his BABIP is on the low side. However, over the last three seasons (I’m not including his first season because he didn’t throw a slider until his second season, and the batted ball data from season 1 doesn’t really match up with that of seasons 2-4, deal with it), in nearly 600 IP, he’s put up a .273 BABIP. He has done this despite playing with a below average defense. A few quick back of the napkin calculations show that his expected BABIP (using NL BABIP rates for hit trajectories) this season is .274, right in line with his actual BABIP (I’ve assumed in this case that Infield fly balls yield automatic outs, not a particularly outrageous assumption). Clayton may actually be one of those pitchers that has some control over his BABIP.

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    • Bip says:

      The articles on the new SIERA do posit that pitchers control their BABIP to some degree, one point being that high strikeout pitchers have lower BABIP. Also, if we accept that pitchers have any control over batted ball types then they obviously have control over BABIP. I think the best pitchers can either lower BABIP or neutralize it, like Halladay. (Halladay has a high BABIP but a lot of those are just groundball singles, and without men on base from walks, you’re not going to do much against a guy if your offense is reduced to groundball singles.)

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  24. Steve says:

    I wonder why no one’s talking about the elephant in the room. His career was slipping away in 2007, but somehow magically gained 1.5 MPH on his average fastball in 2008. Maybe his pitching coach, Carl Willis, helped him make “adjustments,” but one has to question if Lee received some other outside help to become who he is today.

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  25. Jordan says:

    The difference between halladay and kershaw:
    Halladay’s road era: 2.64
    Kershaw’s road era: 3.17

    Halladay wins the cy young.

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    • Bip says:

      So are you saying that CBP and Dodger Stadium are so different that Halladay’s 2.32 home ERA and Kershaw’s 1.80 home ERA can be completely explained by park factors and thus ignored?

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  26. Jordan says:

    Not ignored one bit. Kershaw has probably been the most dominant qualifying starting pitcher at home this season. He does pitch in a little bit more pitcher friendly park than halladay. Phillies just aren’t blasting HR’s this year with a combination of 4 all star caliber pitchers (some could argue 5 w/ worley had he started the season in the rotation), makes for a lopsided park factor this year in comparison to previous years. Halladay has just been more…consistent I believe. His k/bb rate of over 7 is going to potentially make history if he maintains that rate as well.

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    • Jordan says:

      Only 16 pitchers in the history of baseball have EVER had k/bb ratios over 7 for a season. Only 8 pitchers have done it since 1884. That list already includes halladay in 2010. Only 3 pitchers have done it twice in the modern pitching era. Maddux, Pedro Martinez, and Schilling. Only four pitchers total have accomplished the feat.
      Fun facts:

      The #16 guy on that list of 16: Cy Young himself.

      The only other pitcher to do it in back to back seasons since the 1800’s was Pedro Martinez. Coincidently, he won the Cy Young award both those years.

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    • Bip says:

      The fact that the Phillies aren’t allowing home runs at home is irrelevant to the park factor because they also would prevent home runs at a similar rate on the road, and the park factor is determined by comparing the performance of the same players at home vs. on the road.

      Also, while I agree that Halladay has been better, I don’t think the home/road splits are part of it. Kershaw’s xFIP on the road is better than it is at home, and his FIP is higher on the road because of home runs. However, the difference between his home run rates at home and on the road is too large to be explained by park factors, and it’s more likely that with only 13 HR allowed, the sample size is too small. His LOB% drops by 10% on the road, which makes it likely he has gotten some good luck at home and bad luck on the road. Last year actually his ERA was 90 points lower on the road due to some unsustainable HR suppression. This year his luck has just reversed.

      That’s why I think the home/road splits are irrelevant in this case. My vote goes to Halladay because of his 2.10 FIP, not because of any of that.

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  27. Jay Levin says:

    Why isn’t Cliff Lee getting more attention for third-place on the Cy Young ballot? Is that really the most interesting topic we can discuss today?

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  28. Travis says:

    I think it’s funny that Kershaw and Kemp might hurt each other’s chances. There’s no way a last-place team can get a CY Young AND an MVP.

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  29. Hansi says:

    Isn’t the object to win the game and not worry abbout an individual’s statistics?

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  30. Sultan of Schwwingg says:

    “Lee: 194.2 IP, 2.59 ERA, 2.68 SIERA, 9.2 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 46% GB, 5.5 WAR
    Kershaw 198.2 IP, 2.45 ERA, 2.72 SIERA, 9.6 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 44% GB, 5.8 WAR”

    Not much said about the difference in stadia. All I see when I look at those numbers is how historic a season Lee would be having if LA signed him instead.

    Lee’s has had a better season of the two, easy. How he has pitched in that PA bandbox is ridiculous.

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  31. Ben says:

    FWIW, I think the average Fangraphs contributor/commenter doesn’t give the voters enough credit. I’m not saying they look at advanced stats (although I’m sure some do), but I think there’s a strong movement away from Wins-Losses, even within mainstream baseball folks. ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts all factor in (and maybe this is the wrong place to say so, but I still think there’s a good deal of validity to those stats), but any intelligent person should realize how utterly meaningless a pitcher’s record is. Obviously Felix’s win last season is evidence, but beside that, every article I’ve read (well, almost every article) that discusses Cy candidates puts a major caveat next to wis-losses.

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  32. R.Alldred says:

    Hey come on! MLB is Involved in the Bankrupt LAD Franchi$e $ale coming up. ANYthing to boo$$$t the value of the team by putting the Ker$haw name in the forefront is going to bring “big Pre$$ Publicity” Let’s face it, …………WE all know Clif Lee is the Best pitcher and Roy Halliday is Dynamic. Ask the hitters, cheeez! Kershaw is having a “flash-in-the-pan” season.

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  33. larry-2nd st says:

    well it dont matter much what philly pitcher is better,because they are with
    phillies and as far as espn is concerned if you dont play on either the boston or new york or any other american league team you do count. we have the best team in baseball,and we know it and they know it to. so get
    with program,they willfind any reason to down play the phillies.and they should change the the name for E S P N to A L E S P N, AMERICAN LEAGUE
    E S P N.they dont carry the national league as much as the AMERICAN
    LEAGUE,NOW THINK ABOUT THAT. BORN AND RAISED IN SO. PHILLY

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    • jason says:

      Wow, you think that way? Imagine how we feel on the West Coast. I only watch that channel as needed. A big game, they can have the rest. They don’t provide sporting news, they provide propaganda for their next telecast.

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    • jim says:

      i don’t know what ESPN you watch, but the national media is very much as in love with the phillies as with the yankees and red sox.

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  34. King Cole says:

    and the headline of the very next article should be: “Why Lee, but not Hamels”

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  35. Ben says:

    Sounds familiar….

    Tim Lincecum, San Francisco 11 12 9 100
    Chris Carpenter, St. Louis 9 14 7 94
    Adam Wainwright, St. Louis 12 5 15 90

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  36. Trotter76 says:

    Seeing Kershaw’s numbers made me remember Mike Podhorzer’s “Bold Predictions” on this site back in March:

    http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/20-bold-predictions-for-2011/

    Clayton Kershaw‘s ERA exceeds 4.00
    Though he has posted an ERA below 3.00 the past two seasons, his xFIP has never been below 3.80. No one has the skills to keep their HR/FB ratio at the 6.3% rate that Kershaw’s career mark is at right now. Once that rises, his ERA will jump as well. He improved his control last season, but there’s always the chance that his development does not continue in a straight line and he regresses in that area. Worse control, plus luck neutralization, and suddenly Kershaw is staring at a 4.00 ERA.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!! I laughed then and I laugh now.

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    • Jeff says:

      The HR/FB ratio may be the worst used SABR stat/concept. There have been numerous starting pitchers and even more relief pitchers that have kept that number below the average mark. Take a look at Matt Cain. It is complete garbage to keep insinuating that it’s not possible to do.

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  37. Brocos says:

    After Monday’s Cliff Lee performance, another course of the award has been built.

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