Thread: NL CY YOUNG
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:11 AM   #392 (permalink)
JohnAndrew
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OK guys, I'm back for more this morning.

I was doing a little research last night, and I think I came across something particularly damning that will likely be held against Gio...and as much as I like to pump up sabermetrics, it actually has to do with something much simpler than that.

Before I get into that, however, I want to preface this by saying that while I semi-regret participating in this trainwreck of a thread, I'm actually kind of happy it happened because it's helped me better understand what the voters appear to be looking for and based on that, I feel a bit more comfortable anticipating what'll happen when the ballots are finally counted.

So, without further ado...

Yet Another Exhibit on Why Gio Gonzalez Might Not Be As Close to the NL Cy Young As Some People Think

After last night's 6-inning outing, Gio's 181 and 1/3 innings pitched puts him safely at 11th-place in that category for the National League. Kershaw and Dickey, at 199 and 2/3 and 198 respectively, will both give it a go tonight.

While 11th place in the National League sounds...well, fine, I guess, it got me thinking -- where have the Cy Young award winners of the past landed in that category? Here's what I found:

National League
2011 - Kershaw - 3rd
2010 - Halladay - 1st
2009 - Timmy Jim - 3rd
2008 - Timmy Jim - 3rd
2007 - Peavy - 4th
2006 - Webb - 2nd
2005 - Carpenter - 2nd
2004 - Clemens - 8th
2003 - Gagne - Out the Top 10
2002 - Johnson - 1st
2001 - Johnson - 2nd
2000 - Johnson - 3rd

American League
2011 - Verlander - 1st
2010 - Hernandez - 1st
2009 - Greinke - 5th
2008 - Lee - 2nd
2007 - Sabathia - 1st
2006 - Santana - 1st
2005 - Colon - 7th
2004 - Santana - 2nd
2003 - Halladay - 1st
2002 - Zito - 5th
2001 - Clemens - Outside the Top 10
2000 - Martinez - 7th

So, since the year 2000, exactly two pitchers have finished outside the top 10 in innings pitched and went on to win the Cy Young. One was a closer; the other is a guy -- perhaps you've heard of him -- Roger Clemens ("Show me a guy who's done something!" Well, here he is. I think that line of thinking resonated with voters exactly one time in the past twelve years, and that point in time, he did indeed do something: he had five Cy Young awards under his belt at that time.).

Outside of that, there are three other guys who finished outside the top 5 in innings and went on to win. One of them -- and there's that name again -- was Roger Clemens. One of them was Pedro in the year 2000, whose campaign that year is probably one of the filthiest on record. Absolutely stupid, video game-type numbers. Unreal. That leaves Bartolo Colon in 2005, and all it takes is a little Googling to see how, in retrospect, people felt about that decision.

So I'll say this: this isn't the final nail in Gio's coffin by any means. He's still got a handful of starts left to help him build up his innings count. But we have to acknowledge something here, because I've been told I've been "nitpicky" for pointing out things like how he walked 5 Mets last night. Blah blah blah he was squeezed out of the strike zone. OK, that's cute. This is still the same guy who's walked the 6th-most batters in the American League. Last night wasn't some anomaly that we can cast aside because he happened to get ejected several days ago and the umpires might, might be trying to prove a point to him (reluctantly giving you the benefit of the doubt here).

The thing is, when you tend to walk a lot of guys, your pitch count goes up. Way up. And when your pitch count goes way up, you can't go as far into games as you'd like. This seems to be the way things go with with Gio. For the Nationals' purposes, it's obviously worked: they give him lots of nice run support, he gives them 5-6 really solid innings, and he turns it over to a great bullpen to seal the win. And they've won 19 games that way. That's great! But when the voters look at his resume a few months from now, and Gio hasn't logged quite as many innings as the National League workhorses, I have a feeling they won't let it slide so easily.

Again, he's still got time to build his case. Perhaps the voters are willing to overlook his lack of innings pitched if he puts together a very strong September and improves the numbers he's got now. But based on what I've found with the innings pitched, the outlook, in my opinion, is actually a little bit bleaker for him than what I was thinking before he took the mound yesterday.
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