Blog Entry

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

Posted on: November 19, 2009 5:05 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2009 5:36 pm
I would have voted for Chris Carpenter, but I can't say Tim Lincecum doesn't deserve the National League Cy Young Award.

I can say I can't believe two voters didn't even put Carpenter on the three-man ballot. Thirty of the 32 voters had the same three names, in some order (Carpenter, Lincecum and Adam Wainwright). Two had both Lincecum and Wainwright, but not Carpenter. One of those,'s Keith Law, said that he turned in a ballot with Lincecum, Javier Vazquez and Wainwright, and called his pick of Lincecum a "no-brainer." The other non-Carpenter voter was Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus, who put Wainwright first, Lincecum second and Dan Haren third. Carroll wrote that he discounted Carpenter for the same reason.

Law and Carroll rely heavily on statistics, so I'm not surprised by their choices. Law said he discounted Carpenter because he threw fewer innings than the other two pitchers.

It's true, Lincecum led Carpenter in innings, 225 1/3 to 192 2/3, a difference that was entirely a result of Carpenter's early-season injury. Lincecum made four more starts, and both pitchers averaged about the same number of innings per start (6.9 for Carpenter, 7.0 for Lincecum). It's also true that while Carpenter's ERA was considerably lower (2.24 vs. 2.48), Lincecum led in Zack Greinke's favorite stat, FIP, or fielding-independent pitching (2.37 vs. 2.81).

Fine. If you want to take Lincecum over Carpenter, I understand. If you want to take Lincecum and Wainwright over Carpenter, I sort of understand.

If you want to leave Carpenter off the ballot completely, you've lost me.

Was Carpenter helped by the Cardinals' superior defense? Probably, but Lincecum was helped by pitching at AT&T Park, where his ERA (1.88) was significantly lower than his ERA on the road (3.21).

Carpenter was the league's dominant pitcher in the second half of the season, going 10-1 with a 2.06 ERA. And while the Cardinals were a much better offensive team than the Giants, Carpenter's run support was almost identical to Lincecum's (5.84 vs. 5.83).

The two voters who saw Lincecum the most, the voters from Nothern California, both put Carpenter first on their ballot.

But my point isn't that Lincecum isn't deserving. He is.

There were three deserving candidates in this race. Any of the three could have won.

Law and Carroll didn't necessarily cost Carpenter the Cy Young. Even if both had listed Carpenter third, Lincecum still would have had enough votes to win. But it is in interesting that they were the two voters that helped turn the race.

In the past, there would have been two voters (normally newspaper beat writers) from each National League city. As newspapers have gone out of business, stopped covering baseball or prohibited their writers from voting, there weren't enough qualified voters in some cities. The BBWAA, which gives out the awards, has given some of those votes to writers like Law and Carroll, and like Scott Miller and me. Scott had an NL Cy Young vote, and I had a National League MVP vote this year.

In interests of full disclosure, Scott's Cy Young ballot had Lincecum first, Carpenter second and Wainwright third.

You'll read in some places that the selections of Greinke and Lincecum as Cy Young winners are an indication that baseball writers are more reliant on new statistics, since neither one led his league in wins. To some extent, that may be true, but in this case, it's more a case of traditional baseball writers handing two votes to the guys who always preferrred the stats.


Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: February 20, 2012 5:30 pm

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 15, 2012 5:35 am

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

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A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 6, 2011 12:31 am

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

Since: Dec 2, 2011
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A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

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Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 3:43 pm
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 5:07 am

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

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Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: November 22, 2009 2:03 pm

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

That is the point. no one is saying lincecum wanst deserving of the cy. what i am saying is that javier vasquez and dan haren should have never been on the ballot. All three carp wainwright and lincecum had an arguement. vasquesz did not. keith law is an idiot period. 

Since: Aug 28, 2009
Posted on: November 20, 2009 11:52 am

A worthy winner -- or 3 worthy of winning

No one is really calling robbery, here, Lincecum is very deserving. Leaving Carpenter off the ballot is questionable.

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