CC Sabathia had a great season, there is no denying that. With a 3.18 ERA, 21 wins, 197 strike outs, an opposing batting average of .239, and 1.19 WHIP, he dominated the offense of opposing teams throughout the entire season.
He didn’t win the Cy Young award, however, losing to a pitcher with a meager 13 wins. How could this be?
Roy Halladay, the National League Cy Young winner, thinks this is a shame, telling the New York Times “I think the guys that are winning and helping their teams deserve a strong look, regardless [of their numbers].”
And he is not alone, as the Win statistic has historically been the dominant number determining which pitchers win the award.
If we look a bit more closely at what the award means, however, this statement is simply mind boggling.
For instance: what more can a pitcher do than keep the opposing team to a lead leading .212 batting average? Or limit the earned runs to 2.27?
What more exactly, can a pitcher do to “help his team”?
According to what Roy told the Times, “sometimes the run support isn’t there, but you sometimes just find ways to win games.”
And how exactly do you do that Mr. Halladay?
Give us just one example of how you were able to “find ways to win” a game this season that did not involve your team mates scoring runs to support you.
Please, take your time.
We can wait.
We ask, Roy, because as you know, pitchers in the American League have absolutely Zero offensive impact.
The pitcher’s only job is to keep the opposing team from scoring runs. In 2010, Felix Hernandez had a “very, very impressive” season, to quote you. Felix did, in fact, minimize the opposing team’s offense better than any other pitcher in the Major Leagues, which then allowed his team’s offense to do their job.
Unfortunately for the Mariners the offense didn’t do their job, putting up the worst numbers seen in the American League since the introduction of the Designated Hitter almost 40 years ago.
Not a single pitcher in all of the Major Leagues had less run support last season than Felix, and as a direct result of this dismal offense, many of Felix’s brilliant performances resulted in losses for him. In fact, he had 12 starts in which he allowed only 2 or fewer runs, but still did not win.
Which of those numbers is more indicative of Felix’s season, the 12 games he didn’t win, or the less than 2 ERA?
To say that the Mariners lost those 12 games because Felix didn’t “find a way to win” is pretty much the stupidest thing that could ever be said about baseball.
Yes, thats right, the stupidest thing ever.
It makes as much sense as blaming those 12 losses on the team’s bus driver, and you, Halladay, should know this. You, of all people, to be suggesting that the pitcher with the best record not be given the award for most outstanding pitcher is nothing less than shameful.
Why should a stat which depends so heavily on the offensive lineup have any bearing at all on the CY Young vote? (Let alone being the most important factor.)
The answer: it shouldn’t.
And in 2010, finally, the award is being given to those pitchers who actually had the most impressive seasons, rather than those who were lucky enough to get run support.
Congratulations King Felix, you won this one fair and square.