Cy Young Ponderings

On the heels of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance announcement of the AL Cy Young Award and Tao of Stieb’s ballot, I though I would chime in with my own two cents on the subject. Of course, any year that Roy Halladay doesn’t win is a damn shame and that would make it the fourth in a row where he was at least in the Top Five pitchers in the league.

Now while there is an enormous amount of weight placed in a pitcher’s win/loss record, ERA and strikeouts, let’s take a moment to delve into the overlooked or neglected categories that Cy Young votes should be taking in to consideration.

First of all, if the win/loss record is such a significant part of the ballot then I urge the Baseball Writers of America to at least glance over at the pitcher’s run support category. While C.C. Sabathia’s 19 wins are impressive, even more so were the 7.9 average runs that the Yankees managed to give him in support. One can only imagine what Roy Halladay’s win total would be if the Blue Jays could score nearly eight runs for him every time.


Naturally, Zack Greinke pitching for a weak Kansas City Royals team is at the bottom of the heap when it comes to run support (4.83 runs), and followed closely behind are Felix Hernandez (5.66 runs), Justin Verlander (6.15 runs) and Roy Halladay (6.18 runs).

The next stat is something that ESPN calls “tough losses” which are defined as a loss in games that are quality starts. Depending on what your school of though is on the quality start, this is another point for debate on who is more deserving for the Cy Young. In this situation, the quality start is a bit irrelevant because there are no brownie points with voters for pitching five innings and giving up three runs or less.

But if you are curious about who the most tortured starting pitchers are in the American League when it comes to “tough losses” of course it’s Zack Greinke and Roy Halladay with four a piece.

More intriguing though than the tough loss statistic is the the situation in which the starting pitcher exited the game. Surprisingly, the relievers after Roy Halladay only coughed up one win that should have been his (on May 25th when they blew a five-run lead).

Finally, one final area that should be looked at is the level of opponents that the pitchers faced. Automatically, Roy Halladay is given the advantage because he faced the cream of the crop in the American League more than another other candidate. Doc had a combined 11 starts against the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels compared to Greinke’s three and Hernandez’ six. So in that respect, Halladay has pitched more often against higher-calibre opponents thanks to the MLB’s oh-so balanced schedule.

By looking at all these stats, one could be accused of trying to work the numbers in favour of their candidate and in a way that’s true. I’ve come with grips that Roy Halladay will not be taking home the Cy Young hardware this year, but I just want folks to know that he at least deserved to be in the top three pitchers for consideration.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Cy Young Ponderings

  • October 20, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    What drives me bonkers is the voters who feel that the Cy Young award should be given to a pitcher on a playoff contending team.

    This is the best pitcher award, not the MVP for pitching.

  • October 20, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    I know Peter, it really is irrelevant if the candidate's team made the playoffs or not. But some folks might be more apt to look at Sabathia because he plays for the Yankees AND he has 19 wins.

    Luckily the BBA got it right and C.C. only actually received 2 points, and it was a unanimous choice for Greinke.

  • October 21, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Halladay has a chance to be the most overlooked player of his era when everything shakes out. And it's directly related to his lack of Cy Young Awards. Halladay lacks a sexy season where he is indisputably the best pitcher in baseball for that particular year stat-wise. People just don't tend to see players in a 3-5 year window, which is a shame because I would be very hard pressed to find another pitcher that can match Halladay's accumulated stats over the last five years. He is so consistently dominant, even voters take him for granted. He's almost too boring in his greatness, which is a damn shame.

  • October 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    BK, when people look back in 25 years, it's sad to say but Roy Halladay will not stand out in their minds. Unless he makes it to 300 career wins or picks up another couple of Cy's before he's 40, Doc is going to be an afterthought.

    You're right, it IS a damn shame!

  • October 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Wow. What a difference a year makes! What do you guys think now? Halladay forgotten? LOL

  • October 12, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Anon, I'm just happy to see Halladay getting the recognition he deserves. He basically has the Cy Young locked up, and could add a World Series collection to his trophy case. Not bad for a season's work!

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