13 November 2004

AL Cy Young, Managers of the Year...

Johan Santana won the first unanimous AL Cy Young Award since Pedro Martinez in 2000, getting all 28 1st place votes on route to his richly deserved first such honor.

SANTANA 20-6, 2.61 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 265 K, 54 BB, 10.46 K/9, 228 IP, .192 OBA

Santana was, simply put, the best pitcher in major league baseball in 2004 (and kudos to Rich Littles Fantasy Baseball Club owner for sticking through his rough first few starts...)- better than Clemens, Schilling, Johnson- in other words, a bunch of guys seemingly twice his age. Here are the results of balloting:

PITCHER (1st place votes, 2nd place votes, 3rd place votes) Total pts.

Santana, MIN (28, --, --) 140
Schilling, BOS (--, 27, 1) 82
Rivera, NYY (--, 1, 24) 27
Martinez, BOS (--, --, 1) 1
Nathan, MIN (--, --, 1) 1
Rodriguez, ANA (--, --, 1) 1

I'm not really sure what the 24 writers voting Rivera third were thinking, nor do I know exactly which fruitcake New York writer voted Rivera second. The question is- what happened to Brad Radke? How DID Rivera seperate himself from Joe Nathan? First thing's first...

Re: Brad Radke... overshadowing? Listen, it's my view that the MVP is approximately 99% a study of performance. In 2003, much to the dismay of many who categorized it ridiculous a last place team could harbor an "MVP," Alex Rodriguez was the most valuable player in the AL. He had the most valuable- ie, he was the best. It's pretty elementary to me. Giving it to a guy for, say, carrying a team is to reward him for either
a) having a crappy GM, or
b) his teammates being prone to injury, or
c) both.

It's dumb and illogical. This year, the "story" candidate just so happens to have been the most valuable guy as well- Vladimir Guerrero. No, it's not Gary Sheffield- though the argument about how he "carried" a struggling 200 million dollar team surrounding him with hitters like Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui is the Yankee-fan delusion on a very hilarious scale. Oh well. No way he wins- he's an asshole too, so who cares. Maybe he shouldn't have tanked games earlier in his career.

Anyway, I have a point here- that's my interpretation of the MVP award- I know it's not popular. That being said, there is no room for interpretation in the Cy Young Award. The Cy is not an award for best pitcher... carrying a pitching staff. It's not, of course, the reward for the best pitcher... on a playoff team. Best pitcher. Period. They don't always get it right though. It's part of the reason why Randy Johnson lost, Radke didn't show up, and Rivera finished ahead of Radke, Martinez and Nathan.

Radke had a great year, posting a 3.48 ERA with a low WHIP (1.16), 219.2 IP, only 26 BBs, an average amount of strikeouts and had a career best .683 OPS against. His 5.50 K/BB ratio was great too. BUT! He went 11-8. Sorry Brad. Us Cy voters have a raging (and illogical) hard-on for W/L records. So you're out.

Now, as for Nathan v Rivera. Rivera came in first for one reason- saves. He lead the league. So now I have a question. Why do the goddam writers constantly not only pick on one stat to make their decision, but always pick the wrong one (W/L for Cy, SV for Cy, RBI for MVP, errors for GG)? Weird. Anyway, here are Nathan and Rivera's 2004 lines. Reminds me of the Clemens/ Johnson comparison. One was much better, and lost out.

RIVERA 4-2, 1.94 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 53 SV, 66 K, 20 BB, 7.55 K/9, 78.2 IP, .225 OBA, 3 HR

NATHAN 1-2, 1.62 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 44 SV, 89 K, 23 BB, 11.07 K/9, 72.1 IP, .187 OBA, 3 HR

Not saying Rivera wasn't brilliant yet again... he just wasn't better than Nathan. Or Pedro. Or Radke, or maybe even Hudson (maybe). Oh well. Such are these awards. Here was my AL ballot:

  1. Santana, Johan- MIN

  2. Schilling, Curt- BOS

  3. Radke, Brad- MIN

  4. Martinez, Pedro- BOS

  5. Nathan, Joe- MIN

  6. Rodriguez, Francisco- ANA


Not to simply nod in agreement here, but you have to give credit where it's due- voters avoided the Phil Garner trap, went with the obvious choices (obvious for a reason), and got the Manager of the Year awards right. Bobby Cox, ATL (NL) and Buck Showalter, TEX (AL) were well deserving. In fact, I still think Cox is easily the best overall manager in major league baseball, and probably one of the best of all time. Mazzone doesn't hurt either.

My one "worry" was that Phil Garner would win- he managed only half a season. He took over for a clinically braindead manager and got a very talented team to play to their ability. Wow. Inspiring. Not to mention a number of embarassing gaffes down the stretch (fucking up a double switch in the second-to-last game of the year, then repeating the retarded blunder in the playoffs). And not for nothing, but Garner is supposedly the guy that scuffed the ball for Mike Scott in the 1986 NLCS against the Mets when he played 3rd base for these same Houston Astros. That's what everyone says at least.

______________________________ |