Crazy Sportswriters: Vote Revocation Petition Edition

Well, OK, we’re not calling for them to lose their voting privileges. It’s not quite that egregious. Not George-King-in-1999 egregious. But it’s still a little ridiculous that three voters decided either Josh Beckett or C.C. Sabathia just weren’t good enough this year for a Cy Young vote.

Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News and Jorge Ortiz of USA Today each listed Sabathia, Lackey (the AL ERA leader at 3.01), and the Indians’ Fausto Carmona on their ballots, while Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News omitted Sabathia, listing Beckett, Carmona, and the Twins’ Johan Santana.

Just as a reminder, here’s a comparison of the five pitchers in question:

  1. Sabathia: 19-7, 3.21 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 241 IP, 209 K, 37 BB
  2. Beckett: 20-7, 3.27 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 201 IP, 194 K, 40 BB
  3. Lackey: 19-9, 3.01 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 224 IP, 179 K, 52 BB
  4. Carmona: 19-8, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 215 IP, 137 K, 61 BB
  5. Santana: 15-13, 3.33 ERA, 1.07 whip, 219 IP, 235 K, 52 BB [corrected]

In what universe was Santana better than Sabathia? Or Carmona better than Beckett?

I do think voters should lose their voting privileges if they’re not willing to abide by the rules of the award (i.e. not voting for Japanese players for ROY despite the clear rule that they are eligible, or refusing to vote for pitchers for MVP, etc.). This is simply a judgment call. An inexplicably bad judgment call that raises the question of whether these men should be employed in their current positions, but one they’re certainly entitled to make.

59 comments… add one

  • Paul did you read Feinsand’s reasoning behind leaving Beckett of his ballot? It was interesting and it was at least well thought out. Not to say that I necessarily agree with it but at least it wasnt a knee-jerk thing.
    The problem is that there are no “rules” or criteria set for these awards which makes them open to a wide range of interpretations. We see that every year. Its like Jeter for MVP last year, in what world should he be 5th on the ballot? That guy didnt really have an arguement to support his case though.

    sam-YF November 14, 2007, 9:55 am
  • A starting pitcher or DH by definition can’t be the MVP of a team. The DH only plays “half” of the game, while the starter only sees action every 5 days. How can a player who only plays a portion of the game be the MVP?
    Just because someone is eligible for an award doesn’t mean he deserves it.

    Jersey November 14, 2007, 9:57 am
  • Sorry Jersey, I dont think you are right on that one. There are many examples of teams that wouldnt win a season without their top ace and (to a lesser extent) their DH.

    sam-YF November 14, 2007, 10:00 am
  • A starting pitcher or DH by definition can’t be the MVP of a team.
    How, “by definition”, can they not be the MVP of a team? Are you saying it’s against the rules? Clemens in ’86 would disagree with you.

    Atheose November 14, 2007, 10:00 am
  • I agree with Sam. Ortiz in ’05 is a great example of a player who carried his team all season. Alex Rodriguez was clearly the better player that year (he led Ortiz in pretty much every stat), but Ortiz was still deserving.

    Atheose November 14, 2007, 10:01 am
  • A DH’s offensive season could be so far above the next player’s as to make him the most valuable player in the league. Barry Bonds’s 73 homer season comes to mind. If he had been a DH, I still think he would have deserved an MVP. And as Paul has pointed out in the past, if you tally the number of actual plays a pitcher is directly involved in, you start to see that a starting pitcher has much more of an effect than 1/5 of the time.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 10:07 am
  • We see that every year. Its like Jeter for MVP last year, in what world should he be 5th on the ballot?
    Actually, that idiot Joe Cowley put Jeter 6th on his ballot. What was worse was that he argued playoff contenders got a boost in his mind, but he put David Ortiz ahead of Jeter when the Red Sox were nowhere near playoff contention at the end of 06.
    He was on the Mike and Mad Dog show and they just tore his lame excuses to shreds.

    Jay-YF November 14, 2007, 10:10 am
  • I’m not opposed to a DH winning the MVP, but in my view, his numbers have to be so far beyond that of others in order for it to happen. I remember when they were talking about Ortiz in 05 and talking about how he would go into the clubhouse in between innings and watch tape of the pitcher he was facing.
    That’s great, but if he were a position player, he wouldn’t have that luxury. So in my view, the voters got it right in 05 by subtracting some points for Ortiz not playing the field.

    Jay-YF November 14, 2007, 10:13 am
  • You may question their judgment, but it seems ridiculous to me that these votes might raise questions about job fitness. Carmona and Lackey had lower era’s over more innings than Beckett. They could make a reasonable argument that your focus on peripherals (ks, whip) is beside the point: the issue is who allowed fewer runs over more innings. Agree or not, I wouldn’t call it outrageous. And keep in mind Carmona is a sinker baller. So his k rate/whip may not be as strong as Beckett’s, but he iss(i presume) s getting more gb outs. To sum, I don’t agree with their voting, but it’s not entirely unreasonable. Suggesting they be canned for it? That is.

    YF November 14, 2007, 10:17 am
  • the voters got it right in 05 by subtracting some points for Ortiz not playing the field.
    I don’t think anyone subtracted any points from Ortiz for not being a position player; I think Alex Rodriguez won outright:
    ARod: 48 HR, 130 RBI, .321 BA, 21 SB
    Ortiz: 47 HR, 148 RBI, .300 BA, 1 SB
    ARod edged him out 331 to 307. Considering ARod was better in every category except RBI’s, I don’t see how you don’t vote for him over Ortiz.

    Atheose November 14, 2007, 10:21 am
  • Where did you get Santana’s line for in this post? Because its completely wrong. Here is his actual one.
    15-13, 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 219 Innings Pitched, 235 K’s, 52 BBs.
    Much better than the numbers you posted for him. I dont think won-loss numbers should be given as much weight as they are in the Cy Young voting. Santana didnt deserve to win the award this year but I do think he could plausibly be included in the top 3.

    Pete November 14, 2007, 10:28 am
  • I’m not arguing that VORP is the end-all, but it is a respected stat and guess who are the top 3 in pitching VORP in the AL?
    Sabathia
    Carmona
    Lackey
    in that order.
    Beckett follows.
    Again, this season was a very close race among a lot of very good contenders. The writers actually did a good job when you see who ended up winning. In fact, Nate Silver over at BP thinks that i’ts a mark of progress that they gave more value to innings than the fact that Beckett had 20 wins.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 10:42 am
  • Carmona and Lackey had lower era’s over more innings than Beckett.
    There’ve been several mentions in various places about the number of innings pitched in relation to the CY, and speculation about the Sox going to a 6-man rotation. Could a 6-man rotation (regardless of how likely that actually is) take all Red Sox pitchers out of CY contention, since they’d pitch fewer innings?

    pastorsteve November 14, 2007, 10:44 am
  • I don’t think it would take them out of contention Steve. In this case the Innings Pitched was more of a tie-breaker, considering the other statistics were so close.
    However, if there’s another close Cy race it might hold them back. Good point.

    Atheose November 14, 2007, 10:46 am
  • interesting point, pastorsteve.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 10:47 am
  • Oop, copied Justin Verlander’s line by accident. Corrected it for Santana’s actual numbers.
    Starting pitchers and designated hitters absolutely can carry a team to the point where they are the MVPs — or their numbers can be so overwhelmingly good that they are MVP, depending on which definition you accept.
    Clemens in ’86 carried his team. Pedro in ’99 had perhaps the greatest single season by a pitcher of all-time. So there are definitely cases. To disqualify someone on your own, apart from the rules set out for the voting, should disqualify you from being able to vote. Again, you can’t question the judgment calls, at least not on that fundamental level. Just my opinion, of course.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 10:59 am
  • I read Feinsand’s blog, and I just don’t see it. He says Carmona’s and Lackey’s numbers were better than Beckett’s, but the only one he cites is quality starts.
    So, basically, Lackey and Carmona had a higher QS% and lower ERA, and that did it for him. Meh, it’s simplistic, but the voters have never been accused of deep, analytical reasoning. Beckett beats them in the numbers he controls the most: walks, strikeouts, hits, etc.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 12:28 pm
  • But Paul he considers those things more important than the peripheral numbers and I can understand why. I think if the roles were reversed and Beckett had the advantages that Lackey and Carmona had these would be what SFs would cite as reasons that Beckett should get the votes. As has been pointed out ad naseum, stats can be looked at in ways to support almost any (reasonable) arguement.

    sam-YF November 14, 2007, 12:32 pm
  • Paul, you put a lot of creedence in a stat like WPA, especially when discussing the merits of Ortiz’s value. My understanding is that this is a stat very much based on the timing of a player’s accomplishments. Ortiz gains value in relation to other players because he more frequently gets the big hit at the big moment. Couldn’t a counter to your peripherals argument be that Fausto and Lackey did a better job of pitching well when a run was on the line than Beckett? They let up less runs per 9 than Beckett did despite walking more batters and striking out less. According to pure stats they should have given up more runs but they didn’t. Maybe their timing was just a little better. Just like Ortiz’s timing was better than A-Rod in 2005.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • > Beckett beats them in the numbers he controls the most: walks, strikeouts, hits, etc.
    But then Santana is back in the conversation.

    attackgerbil November 14, 2007, 1:07 pm
  • Just for curiosity, I looked up runs support for the four:
    Lackey 4.49
    CC 5.10
    Carmona 5.28
    Beckett 6.42

    attackgerbil November 14, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • Well, MVP is an award dependent first on your definition of MVP. My contention is and always has been the MVP should go to the most valuable player (not trying to be snarky), as opposed to the best-numbered player. Sometimes that coincides (like this year), sometimes it doesn’t (2005). Cy Young is pretty clear cut as just a “best pitcher” award, so the metrices change.
    Among those five, Beckett was second in K/9 to Santana, second in K:BB to Sabathia, tied for second in WHIP to Santana, second in BAA to Santana, second in OPS against to Carmona, third in H/9 to Carmona and Santana and second in BB/9 to Sabathia.
    It’s an interesting case because Beckett didn’t lead in any notable category except wins, which is the only category run support is really relevant for (and is counteracted by stength of opponents, as TJ notes). I’m fine with Sabathia as the winner; he deserves it and comes out ahead of Beckett in all the key stats. But Beckett is ahead of Santana in wins, ERA, walks, BB/9, K:BB and OPS against, while he’s ahead of Carmona in wins, WHIP, Ks, walks, K/9, BB/9 and K:BB.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 1:52 pm
  • Carmona is ahead of him in OPS against, ERA, GIDP, HR/9, groundball rate, etc. All said, these pitchers both had comparable years.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • If you are like me and want to stare at statistics for no good reason other than to go insane, go here for a table of AL starters, <3.50 era, >14 decisions. Wouldn’t fit on this page.

    attackgerbil November 14, 2007, 1:56 pm
  • Are GIDP and GB% measures of the dominance of a pitcher? They signify a reliance on defense, as well as a decent number of baserunners, which are both minuses when looking at the dominance of a pitcher (which is basically what the Cy is about once it gets past wins and ERA).
    What Gerb’s chart really emphasizes is that had Bedard not been injured, he should have won the Cy, hands down.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 2:02 pm
  • being a groundball pitcher helps explain reduced power numbers against. No?

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • also, would you argue that Wang, when he pitches a complete game shutout with 3 k’s, is not being dominant that game?

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 2:11 pm
  • Oh, absolutely, they’re better than high flyball numbers. But that’s more for predicting future results and gauging the type of pitcher one is, I think. When you’re comparing, as we are, Carmona to Beckett — a pitcher without abnormally high flyball numbers but with excellent strikeout numbers — I think the matchup is to Carmona’s detriment.
    Of course, Carmona’s ridiculously young and strikes out batters at a high enough rate where he won’t have any problems winning a Cy at some point because voters will (rightfully) be wowed by the 20+ wins and sub-3 ERA. His dominance, regardless of how he achieves it, will speak for itself.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 2:14 pm
  • also, would you argue that Wang, when he pitches a complete game shutout with 3 k’s, is not being dominant that game?
    I would not argue. But I would say he’s less dominant than a pitcher throwing a CG shutout with 10, or even 6 or 7 Ks.
    This quickly breaks down to how much we value a ground-ball-producing machine. Carmona, it should be noted, struck out batters at a better clip in 2007 than Wang, who was at a career high last year. I don’t want to shift this into another “How good is Wang?” debate, as I think we can all agree that he’s a unique case among the entire history of the game when it comes to ground ball pitchers. Carmona is less so because of his better K-rate.

    Paul SF November 14, 2007, 2:19 pm
  • I guess the larger picture for me is that I don’t subscribe so whole-heartedly to DIPs stats. I do think pitchers have a certain control over the way in which balls are hit off of them.
    heading out now.

    Nick-YF November 14, 2007, 2:23 pm
  • To oversimplify things, when you’re a pitcher it’s harder to get the batter to swing-and-miss than it is to get them to make contact with the ball.

    Atheose November 14, 2007, 3:22 pm
  • I can certainly see a case for Carmona rated over Beckett – certainly not anything someone should lose their job over. Sorry, all this reads like sour grapes whereas yesterday we could agree that the writers got it right. Of the top four (or five) a legit case could be made for all of them, depending on your preferred stats of choice. The writers, as a group, got this one right.

    NH Rob November 14, 2007, 5:10 pm
  • Guys, I appreciate your discussion on the topic, especially when I consider the insane emails I have received from angry Sox fans since Tuesday.
    The bottom line for me was that Ssabathia was a clear-cut winner. When it came to the next two spots, I thought Lackey, Carmona and Beckett were very close. The two guys had 19 wins to Beckett’s 20, but wins are the stat that pitchers have the least control over.
    Peripheral stats like strikeouts don’t so mucch for me, and part of that is that I have watched a guy like Wang have great success over the past two years without striking a ton of guys out. You don’t need to strike batters out a lot to be a great pitcher, and this award is about being the best pitcher.
    Lackey won the league’s ERA title, which to me, earned him a spot on the ballot. Then when it came down to Carmona and Beckett, the quality start total and percentage (26/32 for Carmona, 20/30 for Beckett) and the fact that in three of the four games I saw Beckett pitch with my own eyes, he wasn’t very good … it all added up to me listing Carmona third.
    Beckett is a great pitcher. Like I told the Globe, had I been given the chance to vote on Nov. 1 instead of Oct 1., I would have listed Beckett first and left the next two spots blank, because nobody else deserved to be in the conversation.
    You guys have a great blog. Keep up the good work.

    Mark Feinsand November 15, 2007, 10:03 am
  • Couple of typos in there. Sorry.

    Mark Feinsand November 15, 2007, 10:06 am
  • Wow, just goes to show the power of the blogosphere. On such an mundane topic the print reporter stops by to explain himself, and twice in one week. That’s impressive on so many levels.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 10:13 am
  • Thanks, Mark, for the explanation. Even though I am a Soxfan, I personally didn’t have the same response as many other SFs. This wasn’t a Pedro Martinez ’99 situation.
    I do have an issue with the “he wasn’t great against the Yankees” argument, though. Simply put, the Yankees beat up on almost everyone, and they saw Beckett more than any of the other guys. I also imagine Beckett’s quality start ratio has something to do with the opposition he faces in the AL East, as well, which is tougher on pitchers. Sabathia and Carmona were in a division with the three weakest offensive clubs in the AL, certainly it is as fair to hold this against them as it is to hold the Yankees’ performance against Beckett’s qualifications.
    Again, I see nothing wrong with Sabathia winning the award. But the context of Sabathia’s and Carmona’s excellence MUST include the fact that their team played 60% of their in-division schedule against the dregs of the AL. The Orioles, the worst of the East, still scored nearly forty runs more than the third-best of the Central, the Twins. Did you factor this in to your vote, and if not, why not?

    SF November 15, 2007, 10:21 am
  • SF – are there competition-adjusted stats (in general)? I know ERA+ adjusts for parks, but not competition. It would be interesting to see.

    Lar November 15, 2007, 10:27 am
  • SF, you could also say that the Orioles scored more runs because they faced less quality pitching. Indeed, the Central appears to have better pitching overall (Santana, Indians, Verlander) in the league. Where’s the causation in that case?
    This was an extremely fair decision. And I can see Mark’s point. Forget the QS – Carmona had a much better ERA in more innings pitched. That alone is a legit criteria. Further, he says the obvious about November. I don’t think he should be second guessed, and it’s a bit trivial to do so. His decision didn’t change the vote and it’s one the writers, as a whole, got right.
    It’s pretty amazing to me that in three weeks, Sox fans can go from celebrating a Series sweep to moaning about a close Cy Young vote and ripping a writer publicly and in emails. That’s kinda sad really.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 10:41 am
  • I am asking a serious question to Mark to gain insight, nothing more. I have no beef with his vote. But since he came to the site and went on the record with an explanation I wanted to ask a follow-up. Nothing wrong with that, I don’t think.
    And you generalize way too much about SF reaction to the award: perhaps you didn’t read the part of my comment where I say I have no issue with who won the award?

    SF November 15, 2007, 10:45 am
  • BP has a stat about the quality of batters faced by pitchers.
    The average batter who faced Beckett this past season was hiting .267 with an OBP of .338 and a slugging precentage of .420 coming into the ab.
    Carmona’s batters .263/.334/.413.
    Interestingly enough, Beckett was kind of in the middle of the pack. There were certain starting pitchers from the Central, for instance, that on average faced better hitters.

    Nick-YF November 15, 2007, 10:55 am
  • It’s sad that ANY Sox fans would go from celebrating a ring to writing Mark “insane emails”. And yesterday one of the bloggers here was calling for credentials to be revoked because of their votes (who I’d reckon is a bit more educated than the average fan). That’s a bit insane too – as were some of the comments in that thread.
    Here I’m just responding to the continued criticism and questioning, especially after Mark stopped by to explain himself. Sure you can do it. It’s a free blog in a free country. But, IMHO, it’s just a little sad most especially because the overall vote was sound.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 11:02 am
  • Rob, you are lumping my serious and legitimate question to a sportswriter kind enough to make himself available in with a different type of complaint or rant. I have no complaints and am not interested in ranting. I really couldn’t have been less upset about Beckett not winning the Cy Young.
    Lay off the broad generalizations, ok?

    SF November 15, 2007, 11:05 am
  • Sir,
    You are now making broad generalizations of me. I said, in my opinion, that it’s sad that any Sox fans, and I mean ANY – even one, would be so fired up about a Cy Young vote three weeks after a World Series sweep. I’m sorry if you feel like “I’m lumping you in” there, but I didn’t say ALL Sox fans are reacting this way. Whether or not you’re lumped into that opinion I’ll leave up to you to decide. Though, second-guessing Mark based on the quality of batter in the Central, I don’t think I can read you to mean you had NO problem with the vote, no matter how much you say otherwise.
    Between the Sox, C’s, and Pats, this is the greatest time, ever, to be a Boston sports fan. If anyone is finding anything to complain about, to use Mark’s words, that’s a bit “insane”.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 11:18 am
  • I am not “second-guessing” him. I want to know if he considered that in his vote, that’s all.
    He expressly says he considered Beckett’s performance against the Yankees, and I’d like to know whether or not he was consistent with the other pitchers and their opposition. I think it’s a fair question. It’s not an accusation of anything, or a complaint, since I don’t even know his answer.

    SF November 15, 2007, 11:29 am
  • Thanks, Mark, for dropping by and offering your insight. It’s always appreciated.
    It’s true, those four pitchers were indeed very close. I think in another year they all would have had a clear shot at winning the Cy Young. I stand by my assertion that Beckett and Sabathia were the clear choices, and that Sabathia probably had the better regular season, but I can appreciate the differing view — even if I think it’s wrong. ;-)
    Rob, you need to stop being combative. SF asked a perfectly legitimate question, with no scent of complaint, and you went off on him, then became indignant when he corrected you.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:31 am
  • One thing I heard a lot is “Sabathia outdieled Santana three times,” which is impressive, no doubt. But Minnesota had the league’s third-worst offense, while Cleveland had the sixth-best, so there should be an expectation that Sabathia would have an easier time in those games than Santana (how else to explain a 15-13 record despite the numbers Santana put up?).
    Looking at their numbers against those respective teams, it looks like many pitchers would have outdueled Santana when he faced the Indians. His ERA against them in six starts (SIX starts!) was 4.38. Sabathia’s against the Twins was 1.51.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:39 am
  • SF -
    How does Mark’s hypothetical answer change anything?
    If he says ‘yes’ – are you satisfied?
    More importantly, if he says ‘no’, is his vote somehow ignorant or tainted?
    I don’t think it doesn’t matters either way. Based solely on ERA and Innings, two very important criteria to judge a pitcher, there’s a case to be made of Carmona over Beckett.
    Paul -
    This is going off on someone:
    “An inexplicably bad judgment call that raises the question of whether these men should be employed in their current positions, but one they’re certainly entitled to make.”
    Do you take that back, or do you stand by that sentiment?

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 11:40 am
  • I do take that back, yes.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:47 am
  • It was a flippant comment, made in jest, and I shouldn’t have made it.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:48 am
  • You do realize that you’re inferring causation when you use ideas like “out-duel” when in fact you’re talking about correlations.
    That’s the problem with bringing up the quality of the opposition. Did the hitters hit well because the pitcher(s) pitched poorly? Or did the pitcher(s) pitch poorly because the hitters hit well?
    Santana is a perfect example. By all accounts, he’s perhaps the best pitcher in the league. But in order to explain why he pitched so poorly against the Indians in 2007 (6th best offense) you also have to explain why he pitched better against the Tigers (2nd best offense) – 3.65 ERA – and facing both 6 times.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 11:50 am
  • especially after Mark stopped by to explain himself. Sure you can do it. It’s a free blog in a free country. But, IMHO, it’s just a little sad most especially because the overall vote was sound.
    Look, “NH Rob”, you qualified your comments with the “after Mark stopped by” line, which refers to only one comment, mine, which came after Mark stopped by. Then you say it’s “especially sad”. You are a classic goal-post mover, just like many we’ve had before. What a coincidence, just like the shared IP addresses that have shown up on your comments under various names. Can you stop treating this site as a playground for your own fraudulence?

    SF November 15, 2007, 11:52 am
  • That’s my point, Rob. It’s difficult to truly outduel another pitcher because the way you pitch has little effect on the way the other pitcher pitches. In any case, Santana was not Santana against the Indians, which lowers the value of using those matchups as a key peg of the Cy Young voting — particularly when you use that as a strike against Beckett (Sabathia outdueled Santana, but Beckett struggled against NYY).

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:52 am
  • The post is also entitled “Crazy Sportswriters”.
    I’m sorry if SF thought I was generalizing to him. But I do stand by my opinion that it’s sad if ANY Sox fans are upset about a award vote three weeks after a Series sweep – so much so that a writer is getting insane emails. Even then, Pedroia just won an award he deserved.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 11:54 am
  • SF -
    I think you’re being needlessly combative and indignant yourself (Pauls’ words) right now, even while generalizing about me based on other visitors you’ve had. I understand you guys want to police this blog, but it’s seems you’ve got some baggage there.
    Where can Mike and I send copies of our drivers’ licences? Or do you want to come visit us sometime?
    Paul -
    I gotcha. But how can you expect Mark to discount his personal observations. That’s not all he used. His primary criteria is sound.
    But secondarily, if all the writers use something better than wins, the votes are going to be pretty informed from this point forward.

    NH Rob November 15, 2007, 12:08 pm
  • SF — the games against the Yankees were not the primary criteria for my vote, but rather a small part in the overall picture. It’s hard to think of a pitcher as the best in the league when you see him perform on a lower level three out of four times. Yes, it was against the Yankees, which should be accounted for, but it happened nonetheless.
    When I matched up Lackey, Carmona and Beckett, it was very, very close. I could have listed Beckett third and felt fine about it, but I decided that Carmona edged him by a hair. The 26 QS out of 32 games really stayed with me.
    Lackey’s second-place vote came primarily from his winning the ERA title with an impressive 224 IP, and the fact that he anchored a staff that won its division despite essentially having three viable starters.
    Beckett’s 20 wins were certainly impressive, but the fact that Wakefield won 16 and DiceK won 15 in very average years told me that wins on the Red Sox might not have been as hard to come by. The fact that Lackey received two less runs per game and still won 19 also impressed me, and the two Cleveland pitchers also had more than a run less than Beckett.
    I did factor strength of division into the equation, to answer your question, but as usual, you can make the numbers look any way you want them to.
    Beckett didn’t pitch well against the Twins. If they’re as bad as you claim, shouldn’t this be held against him? He went 5-1 against the bottom two teams in the East, accounting for a quarter of his wins.
    Lackey went 10-1 against the three West teams, a major reason why the Angels won the division. Say what you will about the West, but all four teams had better records than the bottom two teams in the East. He also went 4-0 with a 0.58 ERA against Seattle, which was Anaheim’s primary competition for the division. That’s stepping up when it counts.
    Sabathia had 11 wins against the Central, but his 1.51 ERA in five starts against the Twins — with most of those games coming against Santana — showed that he could get up for big games. He was 3-1 against the Tigers (the main competition), and while his ERA was high (5.29), it was bloated from one seven-run beating he took. Toss in the fact that he allowed two runs in 21 innings over three starts against Boston, Seattle and Cincinnati yet didn’t record a win in any of the three, and you can see why he failed to win 20. The run support just wasn’t there as often as it should have been.
    I don’t want any of you to think that I didn’t consider Beckett strongly. From the moment I found out that I was voting for Cy Young, I monitored the top 10-12 candidates on a daily basis and my list dwindled down as the weeks went by.
    Erik Bedard was my runaway favorite in the beginning, but his injury cost him a shot. I had Sabathia, Carmona, Lackey, Beckett, Dan Haren, Kelvim Escobar, Chien-Ming Wang and JJ Putz all in contention into September, but in the end, I went with the three I voted for.
    I am somewhat surprised that there has been so much negative reaction from Sox fans, especially following a World Series title. This isn’t a case like 1999, where a voter left Pedro off because he didn’t think pitchers should be voted MVP. I didn’t exclude Beckett for any reason other than that I felt he was fourth on my list, albeit by a very small margin. If each pitcher had one more start, he very well could have cracked my top three.

    Mark Feinsand November 15, 2007, 11:11 pm
  • As for the idea that there should be “rules” or criteria for these awards, if we did that, you wouldn’t need voters. You could just go solely based on stats, which wouldn’t be right, either.
    I found it interesting that the players chose Sabathia over Beckett, too.
    I’d say 99 times out of 100, the voters get it right.

    Mark Feinsand November 15, 2007, 11:13 pm
  • Excellent work Mark. Glad to know you’re a Yankee beat writer!
    I’d only disagree with the 99 out of 100 comment. Unfortunately, it’s been more often than that, but I think this sort of open commentary will only make the votes that much better in the future. Would you support the BWAA requiring some sort of explanation with the votes?

    Mike YF November 15, 2007, 11:23 pm
  • I can’t speak for the yahoos who have nothing better to do than send you nasty emails, Mark, but from my perspective, the World Series win has little to do with discussing the voting. It would be very difficult to have a conversation — on this site, especially — if every time we started to disagree, we said, “Well, we won the World Series, so never mind.”
    It’s not a matter of being negative. It’s a matter of having a fun conversation about the voting and making our cases with the stats. Obviously that requires some disagreement, which can sound like complaining especially because we’d love to see our players get as much hardware as they can get, but I’d gladly take Beckett losing the Cy every year if it means he beats his main competitors every time he faces them in the postseason. ;-)
    Thanks again for dropping by. You make some compelling points, and it’s clear you take what you do very seriously. That’s refreshing — and encouraging — to see.

    Paul SF November 15, 2007, 11:26 pm
  • “It’s not a matter of being negative.”
    This from the individual who titled the post “Crazy Sportwriters” and encouraged people to ask whether they deserved their jobs.

    Mike YF November 15, 2007, 11:30 pm

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