Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dear MLB Writer's Association of America

Or whoever votes for the NL Cy Young Award. It is ridiculous that all the Cy Young talk has been about Brandon Webb and CC Sabathia. Both are having great years, but both are trailing The Freak and right now he's disappearing into a cloud of dust while Webb's thrown a shoe and CC missed a couple strides.

OK, maybe I'm biased because I am a die-hard, break-stuff-when-they-lose-while-contending Giants fan. But the stats back up Tim Lincecum's candidacy more strongly than I ever could. He is leading the world in Ks with 225 and the NL in ERA with a sparkling 2.54 after last night's gem against Arizona. He now trails Webb's NL-leading 19 wins by only 3 and his 1.18 WHIP is within a couple walks or hits of everyone in the league except possibly Cole Hamels' 1.06 (but he's not in the discussion due to only 12 wins and an ERA over 3.00). To put an airtight seal on his resume, The Franchise checks in at 4th in IP with 198.2, which means he will break 200 IP unless he is shutdown for some reason.

The only argument left for Webb is his 19 wins; the rest of his numbers aren't even close. I think the bloom is off his rose due to the last couple disasters, especially the nationally televised implosion against the Bums. Sabathia has been awesome, but I don't understand the logic that he gets rated only on his finish because he switched leagues. All of a sudden he gets a mulligan on his slow start? That doesn't seem right. But the side you take in that debate is irrelevant because Lincecum's got CC beat either way. Compared to Lincecum's line, Sabathia offers 15 wins, 2.77 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 217 Ks, and 217.1 IP. Plus he has 9 - nine - CGs and 5 shutouts while Lincecum has none of either. However, Lincecum has only 20 fewer IP so Lincecum has put only an insignificantly heavier burden on his bullpen.

Here's where the argument gets a little complicated: when you look at Sabathia's NL-only argument. He has been phenomenal since the trade. Nine wins, 6 CGs and 3 shutouts have come since he donned a Brewer cap. He has a 1.42 ERA, 94 Ks, 95 IP in 12 starts, and an insane .99 WHIP. But here's the twist - if you take his NL-only numbers, you CANNOT look at them in a vacuum. You must put them up against Lincecum's NL-only numbers. That means Tim has 7 more wins, 131 more Ks, and 103.2 more IP. While CC's ERA and WHIP are significantly better than Lincecum's plus he gets points for his CGs and shutouts, that doesn't make up for the deficiency in Ks and IP.

The idea that Sabathia gets credit for his NL-only ERA and WHIP but his entire season's worth of the cumulative stats is not only unfair, but it is inconsistent and flawed logic. If Sabathia competes on his half-season, then he competes on a half-season of every stat and not just the ones where its helps his cause. You simply cannot say that the Ks, wins, and IP from Cleveland count but the hits and runs he gave up do not. Therefore, either way you slice it Lincecum has been better than Sabathia.

But even if you think it's still close, there's one bullet left to consider. And for this one, we can bring the other "contenders" into the picture i.e. Webb, Hamels, Ryan Dempster, Edinson Volquez, Chad Billingsley, Johan Santana, Ben Sheets, Aaron Cook, and as far down the list as you wanna go. Tim Lincecum pitches for the San Francisco Giants and HAS ONLY 3 LOSSES. Consider that. My boys in Orange and Black are led by Aaron Rowand w/13 HRs. Benjie Molina is the only player w/more than 70 RBI and he has 82. Only 2 players have scored more than 52 runs ALL YEAR. I love the Giants, but this is a woeful offensive squad (I still love watching them because they hit enough, run a ton, and pick it clean) as their 63-80 record attests. I'm serious when I say SF's offensive MVP this year has been Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

Santana (7 Ls), Sheets (7 Ls), Cook (9 Ls), and Dempster (6 Ls) pitch for offensive juggernauts. Hamels' (9 Ls) Phillie offense may have gone a bit cold, but the numbers still rank it as elite and it includes Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Jimmy Rollins. Webb (7 Ls) and Billingsley (10 Ls) pitch in front of offenses that spent half the year raking. Coincidentally, Webb has started to struggle as Arizona's offense has ground to a standstill while Billingsley has gotten red-hot after a couple weeks of having Manny Ramirez in the lineup. Only Volquez has faced a simlilar plight and he has 5 losses (plus his ERA, Ks, and IP prohibit him from being a serious contender anyway). In other words, Tim Lincecum has half as many losses as any serious challenger despite pitching in front of the worst offense (and team).

But what is really crazy is that I don't hear anyone outside of San Francisco even arguing for Lincecum. Everything I read or hear is about Webb and Sabathia. The race isn't even close but the guy who is running away with it isn't even being discussed. This is not the MVP award where your team should be good to be eligible to win it. This is the Cy Young where a bad team helps the player's cause and yet The Freak doesn't seem to be on ESPN or Fox Sports' radar.

Hopefully the people who vote are paying attention.

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