Argh. OK, so enough of this “didn’t have time” crap. Chris Carpenter had but 15 wins this past season, one less than the 16 I said he’d had. Brandon Webb was indeed named the Cy Young Award winner today, after finishing the season with 16 wins, which tied him at the top of the National League.
My pick, Trevor Hoffman, finished second by 26 points, yet received 12 first-place votes to Webb’s 15. It was Webb’s 7-3 edge on second-place votes — and, more importantly, his appearance on 29 of the 32 ballots, compared to just 23 of 32 for Hoffman that sealed it. Chris Carpenter also was named on 23 ballots, but only two of them placed him first.
I would love to see the breakdown of votes, similar to the way the Associated Press releases its college football votes each week.
Anyway, when I had the time, I looked at the numbers for Webb and Carpenter more closely. And they were, it turns out, surprisingly close:
I added Hoffman’s stats as well, though they’re hard to compare, because of his different role. The Padres’ closer allowed less than a baserunner per inning (he hit one batter this season), which in his role is more important than allowing just over more than one per inning as a starter, as Carpenter and Webb each did. I’m not saying Webb is a bad choice, because in a year like this, with no clear frontrunner, it’s hard to say whose mediocre numbers (in relation to other cy Young winners) are better than the other guys’.
I just think that if I had a vote, I would’ve cast it for Hoffman, who had a direct part in 46 Padres wins, more than twice as many as Webb’s 18 — counting no-decisions that the Diamondbacks won, since a starting pitcher can have a big impact in close games. That Arizona won only two of Webb’s nine no-decisions is interesting (they went 18-15 in games he started), if misleading, because the scores in those seven team losses were 3-2, 5-4, 1-0, 4-3, 11-7, 7-6 and 4-2. And both wins were by one run.
For comparison, the Cardinals went 21-11 in games started by Carpenter, winning 6 of 9 games in which he got a no-decision. The losses were by scores of 3-2, 7-6 and 8-7.
How to put Hoffman into this argument is hard to say, because by the nature of his role, he’ll pitch in way more wins for the Padres than in losses. However, looking at his stats, we see the Padres lost all five games in which Hoffman blew the save, plus a sixth game in which he came into a tie game to pitch the 10th and took the loss. In the nine games that featured an appearance by Hoffman but not a win, loss or save for the closer, San Diego went 9-4. So of the 65 games in which Hoffman pitched, the Padres won 55 and lost 10. That puts the Padres’ winning percentage in “Hell’s Bells” games, we’ll call them, at .846. In Webb games, Arizona was .545 and in Carpenter games, the Cardinals were .656.
I’m not sure if those percentages mean anything, as I said, because of the different nature of a starting pitcher’s role vs. a reliever’s. But there they are.