Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 9, 2005
BASEBALL: Cy Colon

I have to say, I was surprised and disappointed in the AL Cy Young vote for Bartolo Colon, a vote that signals the continued sway of W-L record to the exclusion of all else. Yet again, anti-statistics sportswriters prove themselves to be slavishly devoted to a single statistic. Johan Santana was clearly still the best starting pitcher in the league, but given the absence of a dominant starter, I would have given the award to Mariano Rivera, who had a remarkable year (albeit one that exceeded his usual standards mainly just because 2/3 of the runs he allowed were unearned).

Posted by Baseball Crank at 6:59 AM | Baseball 2005 | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

No question. Johan deserved the Cy again. His offense was so pitiful, that he would have had to be superman to win more than 16. Colon's team put up great run support all year.

Posted by: jmag at November 9, 2005 11:15 AM

Would have gone with Santana, but much rather have Mo over Colon.

I expected this though.

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 11:31 AM

This was a foregone conclusion unfortunately. This has to be the worst Cy Young since either Pat Hentgen in 1996 (the only good year of his career and a less than stellar line-up of candidates; Rivera came in 3rd that year with an 8-3 record and 5 saves in 108 innings!) or Bruce Sutter in 1979. Nothing against Bruce but even back then 6-6, 2.33 and 37 saves was not exactly unreal. Phil Niekro came in 6th that year and lost 20. I think that in years like this you just give it to either the best other starter whose numbers may not be as sterling but everyone knows is a better pitcher (Santana) or the nastiet guy/reliever (Rivera). At least it is a moral victory for fat guys. Sid Fernandez would be proud. Probably downed 4-5 hot dogs to celebate.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 1:04 PM

Niekro should probably have won the award in both 1978 and 1979, or barring that JR Richard in 79.

Posted by: The Crank at November 9, 2005 1:47 PM

Jim,

I assume you mean Hentgen was "bad" in the sense that he may be one of the worst pitchers, career-wise, to win the award. If that, then I agree.

But if you're arguing that he was undeserving that season, I can't agree. He led the AL in innings pitched (265+ in a strong hitter's season), and was second only to teammate Juan Guzman in ERA and ERA+. But Hentgen threw 80 innings more than Guzman.

The voters got the right guy that season.

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 2:07 PM

My point about Hentgen was sort of 2-fold. Hentgen was certainly an unremarkable pitcher, much more so than Colon. However, my main point was the competition was not so good and his OK numbers happened to be the best that year. 20-10 with 3.22 ERA does not win the Cy Young very often. That year #2 was Andy Pettitte at 21-8/3.87 #3 Rivera 8-3/2.08/5 saves #4 Charles Nagy 17-5/3.41 #5 Mike Mussina 19-11/4.87 then Alex Fernandez 16-10, Roberto Hernandez 6-5 and Ken Hill 16-10. Other than Mussina it was the best Cy Young appearance for every other pitcher. I mean look at those names! Ken Hill?! Are you kidding me?! '96 was a good hitters year but not nearly to the extent some following years were and Hentgen never would have sniffed a Cy Young award with those same stats until, well, this year. I was just saying this was as down a year stats and star-wise since the Hentgen award.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 2:24 PM

I think until 2000, 1996 was the best hitters year in the AL since 1936. Have to look it up, but that's my recollection. The ERA was 5.00.

Happens somewhat often in extreme hitters years. Look at '87 in the NL, when the ERA jumped over four after years in the mid threes. Same lack of a dominant starter and Bedrosian won!

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 2:37 PM

Just checked it: 1996 AL ERA was 5.00. That's the second highest for a league in the 20th Century. Only 1936 AL -- 5.04 -- was higher.

Hentgen was damn good that year.

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 2:42 PM

Hentgen was fine. Just find another year he would have won it is all I am saying. He would have, in general finished no better than 3rd in any of the next 9 year and only would have had a shot in 1993 against the only 20 game winner that year, Jack McDowell (who would win simply by virtue of a much cooler nickname):

'97 Clemens 21-7/2.05/292K
'98 Clemens 20-6/2.65/271
'99 Martinez 23-4/2.07/313
'00 Martinez 18-6/1.74/284
'01 Clemens 20-3/2.75/182
'02 Zito 23-5/2.75/182
'03 Halladay 22-7/3.25/204
'04 Santana 20-6/2.61/265

Other than Zito (and who knows where that train is going) that is a pretty impressive list of guys who had incredible years. Perhaps '96 was above average offensively even in the context of the past 15 years but not so much so that Hentgen is taking a trophy from any of those guys. Maybe you are a Jays fan. I am not trying to say Hentgen did not deserve the Cy Young that year; he did. However, for whatever reason the stats and stars were down that year. It is just somewhat parallel to this year: Randy Johnson got old, Schilling was injured, Pedro, Mulder and Hudson went to the NL, Zito only found himself for a third of the season, Halladay got hurt, etc. It was a perfect year for a guy who is really just good like Colon to win it.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 3:20 PM

To continue on with the point it is akin to Zoilo Versalles winning the MVP in 1965. I wasn't born until 1966 so I never saw the man play. I do know that he hit .273/.319/.462 with 19 hrs and 77 RBIs. What the hell happened to everyone else in 1965? There is no other season Zoilo is winning the award with those stats (the only other season he even received a vote was in 1962 and he came in 21st). He was an OK player that had a good-ish year for a good team when everyone else was clearly either injured or having a down year. Did Zoilo deserve to win it in 1965? I have no idea but it sure looks like a case of right season at the right time getting him an award he never would have won otherwise.

I am not saying Pat Hentgen's Cy Young is that extreme; he pitched well in a tough year and that was good enough and fortunate enough.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 3:30 PM

The one difference between Versailles & Hentgen is this: Hentgen WAS the best picther in the AL in '96, whether he was good thereafter or not; Versailles was not even close to the best player in the AL. That would have to be Yaz, Norm Cash or Sam McDowell. At a quick glance, looks like Sudden Sam would've gotten my vote.

Whatever. I'm not a Jays fan and I agree with you that Hentgen was mediocre. I just think he deserved the award that year. You say you agree. Not sure what we're arguing about!

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 4:51 PM

My point has just been that Colon is a soft winner of this award due to circumstances that he benefitted from (injuries, age, departures). He may or may not be deserving (unlike Hentgen) of it. Hentgen was also a beneficiary of normally strong pitchers not showing up in '96 and he pitched well enough to win the Cy Young. Colon in almost any other year with his stats from this year is not winning the award. Same for Hentgen. Hentgen was certainly the best pitcher in '96 while Colon can have several arguments made against him. I just find the years similar because a pitcher who is far from outstanding is winning the award because of a general lack of competition.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 5:02 PM

Well, now we're off topic. I don't have the Win Shares book at hand, but looking quickly at the stats, I'd say the two best players in the AL in 1965 were Tony Oliva and Brooks Robinson, plus possibly McDowell (Yaz and Norm Cash were the best hitters, but both missed significant time plus playing for noncompetitive teams). Versailles may have benefited from the fact that Oliva and Robinson both had better years in 1964 - Oliva's homers dropped in half from his Rookie of the Year season, and Robinson was the MVP in '64.

Posted by: The Crank at November 9, 2005 5:29 PM

Topic evolution. Don't tell people in Kansas.

Zoilo won the MVP because the competition was not at normal levels. Colon did as much this year with the Cy Young and so did Hentgen and arguably Sutter (although Sutter may have benefitted also from his perceived uniqueness). This could make for a good topic of its own as there are certainly other instances of less than stellar ballplayers having adequate years and making off with the goods because no one else anted up.

Posted by: jim at November 9, 2005 6:25 PM

Topic Creep Continues:

1965 AL Win Shares:

Oliva -- 33
Versailles -- 32
Don Buford -- 30 (still on the ChiSox at that point)
Colavito -- 28

And among those others we've mentioned:
B. Rob -- 26
Sudden Sam -- 25
Cash -- 24
Yaz -- 21

I'll have to assume from this that Zoilo & Buford had some good defensive numbers. McDowell hit only .126 which probably hurt his toral WS.

Assuming Bill's metric is good, Versailles is not a bad choice at all.

Posted by: Mike at November 9, 2005 7:28 PM

Exactly. Put his stats in another year when better players performed to more normal levels and old Zoilo is exactly what he really is: a decent player with no chance of winning the MVP.

Posted by: jim at November 10, 2005 2:44 PM
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