Tag:Trevor Cahill
Posted on: August 30, 2010 12:14 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 8:45 pm

Handicapping the AL Cy Young Award race

Cy Young award As August draws to a close, the candidates to win awards are beginning to take shape. The AL Cy Young is shaping up to be quite a race with several young pitchers in contention for the award.

Young pitching has taken the majors by storm lately, so it's only fitting that some new names enter the Cy Young race for the first time, spearheaded by Clay Buchholz and Trevor Cahill, although the wizened, grizzled, 30-year-old CC Sabathia may have something to say about who grabs the hardware.

One of the more difficult things to do in properly evaluating the winner of a Cy Young race is to figure out which metrics to look at. ERA has become a rather maligned statistic lately, although when evaluated in its sole function, is a great barometer of what a pitcher did with a specific team in a specific park in a specific year. And given awards tend to be all about what actual production was, one could argue that ERA is a primary indication of a player's performance.

However, there's also Fielding-Independent Pitching (FIP) which strips out most variables, giving you a better indication of a pitcher's true talent, focusing mainly on strikeouts and walks. xFIP normalizes homer rate, which gives you an idea of a pitcher's true talent with all variables stripped out, including home and road ballparks. What FIP and xFIP primarily do is give one an idea of what is most likely to happen from here on out in a pitcher's production.

So you have two metrics: one evaluating what actually happened, and one evaluating a pitcher's actual production. Given awards aren't about long-term success and are specifically geared to one-year wonders, whether aberrations or not, ERA shouldn't be eliminated from the evaluation process. Discounted, sure, but not eliminated.

One thing that can be eliminated, however, is wins and losses. Those have absolutely no bearing on a pitcher's effectiveness, and the voting process is starting to realize the foolhardiness of voting for wins as 2009 Cy Young victor Zack Greinke can attest to with a 16-8 record.

Without further ado, your top AL Cy Young candidates in alphabetical order:

Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz
Boston Red Sox
15-5, 146 2/3 IP, 101 K, 55 BB, 2.21 ERA, 4.19 xFIP

Buchholz has been a revelation for the Red Sox this season, taking the next step toward being a front-of-the-line rotation member. After struggling with inconsistency -- both mechanical and mental -- over the last few seasons, Buchholz has finally found himself comfortable on the mound and that's translated to results. He has done very well in inducing soft contact that defenders can gobble up, but it's not entirely positive yet whether that's a repeatable skill or simple luck. It's probably a combination of both. Buchholz has the easiest road to victory, with a commanding ERA and a wins ledger that should crack 18 provided the 26-year-old doesn't fall apart down the stretch.

Trevor Cahill Trevor Cahill
Oakland Athletics
14-5, 155 2/3 IP, 88 K, 46 BB, 2.43 ERA, 4.12 xFIP

Unlike Buchholz, Cahill doesn't have the gaudy strikeout numbers which will harm him in a campaign otherwise remarkably similar to Buchholz. He has a ton of BABIP-fueled luck, largely because of the spacious park he calls home and the strong fielding corps behind him. Cahill figures to eventually morph into one of the better starters in the league, but at least for 2010, his success is based on a house of cards as he has no reliable strikeout pitch and doesn't force batters to chase pitches out of the zone.

Felix Hernandez Felix Hernandez
Seattle Mariners
10-10, 204 1/3 IP, 192 K, 56 BB, 2.47 ERA, 3.26 xFIP

Now we're getting into people with truly dominating statistics. Hernandez has already broken the 200-inning barrier with over a full month to go. That's all sorts of crazy, as is his K-rate a certainty to break 200. He's combining that with strong command, but his win-loss record sets him back, especially in an environment where a fair share of voters still value wins and losses. Such are the perils for playing for one of the worst teams in the majors, and a historically-bad offense.

Cliff Lee Cliff Lee
Texas Rangers
10-8, 179 2/3 IP, 156 K, 12 BB, 3.26 ERA, 3.26 xFIP

The 2008 Cy Young champion still has a strong chance at taking home the hardware, but his time so far in Texas hasn't been Cy-worthy. He has a 4.50 ERA in Texas, although his xFIP is still in the low 3.00's. A big reason why is the increased clip in home runs allowed which may be due to his new home park. His win-loss record leaves a lot to be desired as well, largely due to his turn in Seattle. Let's take a moment, however, to appreciate how good Lee has been: a low xFIP exactly the same as his ERA not only shows just how good he's been, but that he's pitched well without much luck, unlike Buchholz and Cahill. In addition, the 12 walks allowed is not a typo. Lee is this author's top choice for the Cy.

David Price David Price
Tampa Bay Rays
15-6, 164 2/3 IP, 154 K, 65 BB, 3.01 ERA, 3.98 xFIP

Price doesn't have much over Buchholz and Cahill, although he's been decidedly less lucky which is reflected in ERA. The difference in xFIP is marginal enough that makes one wonder if there's any reason he should stand over Buchholz and Cahill. Remember, not only are we looking for true talent, but we're also looking at what a pitcher actually did, luck and randomness included. Lee and Hernandez have the most compelling cases so far, win-loss record be damned, but Buchholz and Cahill hold the edge otherwise.

CC Sabathia CC Sabathia

New York Yankees
18-5, 194 2/3 IP, 160 K, 62 BB, 3.14 ERA, 3.83 xFIP

Sabathia has changed his game lately, inducing more groundballs while keeping the rest of his game constant. As a result, batters are making less hard contact off of Sabathia, and with a powerful Yankees team behind him, dominates the wins ledger with 18. His ERA is low enough and overall durability high enough that he presents a legitimate challenge for the top spot with strong cases in every category. No other pitcher on the list has the blend of wins, innings, BB/K, ERA and xFIP than Sabathia, which may be all that's needed to claim the award. The best chance to keep the trophy away from a member of the Yankees may rest in their division rival's Buchholz. If that ERA stays rock-bottom through the end of the season, that ERA plus what figures to be around 18 wins should present a compelling enough case to win the award. Until then, however, Sabathia has to be considered the favorite.

Just missed the cut: Jon Lester, Francisco Liriano, Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson

 -- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: July 6, 2010 7:07 pm

Weaver gets All-Star nod

Jered Weaver Joe Girardi has righted one of the All-Star wrongs, naming Angeles right-hander Jered Weaver as the replacement for CC Sabathia, the New York Daily News' Mark Feinsand tweets .

Sabathia is starting Sunday, meaning he won't be eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game two days later. The rule should also make Oakland's Trevor Cahill ineligible to pitch in the game, meaning another pitcher will be added in the next week.

Cahill and Sabathia will pitch against each other tonight in Oakland.

Besides being the hometown pick, Weaver has been the Angels' ace this season, going 8-3 with a 2.82 ERA and an American League-best 124 strikeouts.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 5, 2010 8:22 pm

Pettitte added to All-Star team

Andy Pettitte Andy Pettitte is officially an All-Star. Joe Girardi announced the move after Boston Clay Buchholz was put on the disabled list on Monday.

Girardi told reporters that Pettitte was the next pitcher on the players' ballot.

It's Pettitte's first All-Star selection since 2001.

With CC Sabathia and Oakland's Trevor Cahill out of the game because he'll start on Sunday, here's hoping Girardi has taken care of "his guy" (as Charlie Manuel would say) with Pettitte and adds Anaheim's Jered Weaver to the staff when it's time to finish filling out the roster.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 5, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 7:40 pm

Injuries taking toll on All-Star rosters

Mat Latos As happens every year, injuries will make several snubs All-Stars anyway.

SoCal's aces should get a chance to play in Anaheim based on recent injuries.

Boston's Clay Buchholz is headed to the 15-day disabled list, while Milwaukee's Yovani Gallardo is not going on the DL yet, he will not be available to pitch in next Tuesday's All-Star Game, Brewers manager Ken Macha told MLB.com's Adam McCalvy .

"Throwing in the All-Star Game? No," Macha said. "I'm saying that, best-case scenario, he's probably going to be doing no baseball activities for a least 10 days. … He's not going to pitch in the All-Star Game. You can't have a guy walk off the mound one week and then put him in [the All-Star] Game the next. No."

Gallardo could still go on the disabled list, though, with his strained left rib-cage muscle. He is scheduled to see the team's doctor on Monday. The Brewers brought outfielder Lorenzo Cain up from Triple-A Nashville to be at the park in case Gallardo is put on the disabled list.

Gallardo, certainly deserving of his All-Star spot, could make way for Mat Latos. The Padres' right-hander is 9-4 with a  2.62 ERA and leads the National League with a .963 WHIP.

On the American League side, there are at least thee spots on the pitching staff because of Buchholz's injury and the new rule stating that keeps pitchers from starting on the Sunday before the All-Star Game and in the game itself. That rule will take the Yankees' CC Sabathia and the A's Trevor Cahill from pitching in Anaheim.

Joe Girardi will reportedly replace Sabathia with Andy Pettitte, while Anaheim's Jered Weaver should get one of the spots to appear in his home park. Weaver leads the AL in strikeouts with 124 and is 8-3 with a 2.72 ERA. Other possibilities are Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez and Andrew Bailey.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com