2018 AL Cy Young

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Yelich and Betts are 100% locks, deGrom 99%--no point in polling those. This one's somewhat contentious, although I suspect Snell has a clear edge. Including more names than necessary--realistically, three or four would do.

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Blake Snell 5
Justin Verlander 4
Chris Sale 1
Blake Treinen 1
Gerrit Cole 1
Luis Severino 0
Trevor Bauer 0
Corey Kluber 0
Edwin Diaz 0
Mike Clevinger 0
Carlos Carrasco 0
other 0


clemenza, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 12:33 (one month ago) Permalink

this is kind of a weird season, there are a lot of "buts" for each guy that voters traditionally have trouble getting past. my suspicion is that it will go:

Snell -- he was so on in the final stretch and the number of games he won over that stretch was pretty nuts. People are gonna love those 21 wins but the 180 innings gives me a little pause.
Verlander -- I bet for the voters those 290 Ks and IP number put him slightly above Sale in the end
Sale -- in a full season he wins it
Kluber -- if he didn't already have a pair of Cy Young awards i could imagine him finishing higher
Cole -- amazing season but he'll suffer via Verlander comparisons in a couple of those categories

omar little, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 17:25 (one month ago) Permalink

i'd have to drill down and don't have the time. The WARs differ on Snell.

If I cared about polls I'd think NL MVP is up for debate. Yelich is a lock for Dumb Sportswriter Tradition reasons, aka Player With the Best Teammates.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 31 October 2018 17:36 (one month ago) Permalink

He almost won a Triple Crown, which involves two important categories that have nothing whatsoever to do with his teammates. In September, his team went 19-7, to emerge as the division winner when they could just as easily have missed the playoffs; Yelich went .370/.508/.804 during that stretch, with 10 HR and 34 RBI. There may have been...what's that word again?...there may have been some causation going on there.

clemenza, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 18:15 (one month ago) Permalink

Snell should win this -- his ERA+ is higher than anything Kershaw ever put up save for one shortened season when he threw less than 150 innings. But it will be a very interesting vote. Would you rather have a very good AND durable SP or one who is dominant for 2/3rds of the season? If Sale wins, will great SP routinely win the CY with 150-170 IP? Starter innings continue falling, so this might be inevitable in the next ten years either way.

WAR doesn't properly address durability -- it assigns the same value whether you put up 6 WAR over 2/3rds of a season or a full season. But "roster certainty", for lack of a better term, matters in the real world. Health is a skill, not having to scramble to fill roster spots for injured players makes running a team easier, knowing who will be available in September and in the playoffs, all of these things provide value to a team.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Thursday, 1 November 2018 09:31 (one month ago) Permalink

fuck the Triple Crown

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:05 (one month ago) Permalink

fuck September, all the games count

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:05 (one month ago) Permalink

I think those two comments amount to drilling down for you.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:13 (one month ago) Permalink

drill this

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:14 (one month ago) Permalink

That drilling down comment did make me laugh. In all the time I've been on here, I can't remember you ever assembling a bunch of numbers to back up something you've said. Not once. (And if I'm wrong, please provide a link and I'll take the comment back.) You assert things all the time. As far as I can tell, drilling down in your case amounts to clicking on Fangraph's WAR leaderboard, clicking on some other site for a few minutes, then going back to Fangraph's WAR leaderboard for a second look.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:23 (one month ago) Permalink

saves time

you really are the ultimate in replacement level

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:40 (one month ago) Permalink

In other words, "No--I've never actually backed up anything I've ever said on here; it's all second-hand."

Thanks.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:49 (one month ago) Permalink

Don't forget to include some of your funny spellings in your reply--"sez," "wrrrrong," that kind of thing. That never gets tired.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 11:51 (one month ago) Permalink

have fun playing with your dipshit awards til Oscar time

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 12:27 (one month ago) Permalink

OSCARS 2006 (started by Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius) on board I Love Everything on Jan 5, 2006)

OSCARS 2010 (started by Your Favorite Saturday Night Thing (Dr Morbius) on board I Love Everything on Nov 17, 2009)

Oscars 2016 (started by skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius) on board I Love Everything on Nov 5, 2015)

Oscars 2017 (started by The Hon. J. Piedmont Mumblethunder (Dr Morbius) on board I Love Everything on Sep 2, 2016)

Like that?

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 12:34 (one month ago) Permalink

stfu you braindead mediocrity
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius)

Something else you regularly do: make a ridiculous, unsupportable statement, get called on it, and run to the second-thoughts thread. You seemed to suggest just above that I have some kind of Academy Awards fixation. I stopped taking the Academy Awards seriously in 1980, and except for a handful of specific nominees, haven't cared who wins or doesn't win for just as long. If I have nothing to do the night of the show, I may watch some of the broadcast.

Meanwhile, you start Academy Awards threads--one, two, three, four. There's a disconnect there.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 19:54 (one month ago) Permalink

plz stop

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 19:57 (one month ago) Permalink

i have no idea who is going to win, or even who should win. i also didn't get a chance to watch many of these guys pitch very often (i generally just watch cardinals games so i don't get to see too much AL action)

Bauer has an interesting case, though, although 12 wins and so many other plausible candidates means i doubt he'll crack the top 5. buuuut he was second in the league in ERA (2.21), and there's just as much space there between him and Snell (1.89) as the third place (Verlander, 2.52). but Bauer led the league in FIP (2.44), with Snell down in fifth at a still-elite 2.95. by xFIP they come out about the same. their strikeout, walk rates are about the same.

just mentioning all that because if in an imaginary world where i'm a GM and i can sign either Snell or Bauer for the same cost next year, it's a toss-up, even though Snell will probably do quite a bit better in the cy young vote

in conclusion, vote lucas giolito

Karl Malone, Thursday, 1 November 2018 20:14 (one month ago) Permalink

(ok actually in imaginary world i'm gonna take snell. but still)

Karl Malone, Thursday, 1 November 2018 20:15 (one month ago) Permalink

other things being equal, bauer's 70-grade assholery earns snell my vote

mookieproof, Thursday, 1 November 2018 21:00 (one month ago) Permalink

plz stop

Ditto. For three or four years, I ignored all the idiotic stuff you misattributed to me. I won't anymore. If you act civil--which you were doing a pretty good job of for a while--or, better yet, just don't engage at all with me (overtly or implied), we won't have a problem.

As always, I want to look at game logs before deciding who had the best year. I think this year, in the AL, that might really make a difference. Snell was phenomenal, but I suspect he really threaded the needle on a lot of under-seven-inning starts. So the things NoTime posted above, but applied to Snell vs. Verlander/Kluber.

clemenza, Thursday, 1 November 2018 21:25 (one month ago) Permalink

When I go through game logs, I like to look at the most basic thing of all: how many times did a starting pitcher give his team a good chance to win the game? The quality start isn't very useful, because it lets in games where a guy gave up three runs. You could call that quality in the PED-era, but making your team score at least four runs to win a game today doesn't seem like anything special. Then you have to decide where to set the inning bar, and that's where Snell's season becomes tricky.

I've always counted starts where the guy goes at least 7 and gives up 2 or fewer runs--to me, that's a quality start. Using that (and adding Kershaw's and Verlander's MVP seasons for purposes of comparison):

deGrom – 18/32
Scherzer – 14/33
Kluber – 14/33
Verlander – 10/34
Snell – 7/31

Kershaw (2014) – 17/27
Verlander (2011) – 19/34

Snell only went 7 innings seven times this year, and all seven times he gave up two or fewer runs. If you drop the inning requirement to 6, Snell moves all the way up to 19/31--he had 12 starts of 6/6.1/6.2 innings where he pitched very well. But Verlander moves to 23/34 (Kluber to 18/33...and deGrom, 23/32).

(Sidebar: at least by this method, deGrom's season was right there with the two MVP seasons. Percentage-wise, he was better than Verlander in 2011.)

So...When I complained about the way Counsell used his starters, the general feeling around here seemed to be that that's the game now, get used to it, the days of starters pitching into the seventh are gone. (Or maybe just in the postseason, I don't know.) If that's your viewpoint, I think you can make a case for Snell, but even there, Verlander's even better--he had 13 starts of 6/6.1/6.2 where he gave up two or fewer runs. If you use the seven-inning threshold, Kluber's the best.

Snell will probably win, and if you don't dwell on the IP, it's not difficult to lay out the case for him. Game logs would give me pause...but truthfully, I still don't know what the right answer is (and I haven't even included Sale; with at least three other really good candidates, I can't see voting for a starter who fell short of 162 innings).

clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 17:11 (one month ago) Permalink

7+/2- for Sale: 8/27
6+/2- for Sale: 14/27

Doesn't compare with the others--and, again, because of the injury, he didn't pitch six innings or more after July 27.

clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 17:24 (one month ago) Permalink

i'd give it to verlander

ciderpress, Saturday, 3 November 2018 19:04 (one month ago) Permalink

i totally agree that other things being equal, more innings is better, but snell can only pitch the innings his manager allows him to. and what if the extra innings aren't that good? verlander had a 4.60 ERA in the sixth inning this year and a 4.85 ERA in the seventh. maybe letting him pitch 33 more innings than snell actually hurt his team.

that's something of an outlier -- the other guys we're discussing got worse, but not by so much -- but while your seven-inning/two-run benchmark feels nice on a per-game basis, it's just as arbitrary as celebrating the guys who hit the 17-homer/23-steal mark. we have stats that better capture players' contributions.

i'm not saying snell's the correct answer -- certainly b-ref and fangraphs differ on his value -- but creating your own arbitrary quality-start metric isn't a huge improvement on simply going by wins

mookieproof, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:06 (one month ago) Permalink

very good points. and here's another way to look at it:

2nd time through order (sorted by wOBA)
https://i.imgur.com/cv6wtUc.png

3rd time through order (sorted by wOBA)
https://i.imgur.com/kRcsLxc.png

verlander and snell are similarly dominant the 2nd time through - wOBA in the .230 range. they're also similarly much worse the 3rd time through - .wOBA around .310. the difference is that verlander's manager kept him in for 51 innings, while snell's manager pulled him earlier.

(interestingly, Carrasco and Cole both got better as they progressed through the order for the third time)

Karl Malone, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:22 (one month ago) Permalink

for anyone that's curious, here's the first time through:

https://i.imgur.com/YVGgelx.png

Karl Malone, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:27 (one month ago) Permalink

It is arbitrary, I agree, but I think it's a reasonable bar on that basic question: did you give your team a good chance to win? I wouldn't use it on its own to decide anything--I like to look at everything--and most years it's going to turn up the same result as WAR, or ERA+, or any other basic starting point. I check it, though, and see if anything interesting turns up. This year, I think it does at least underscore Snell's limitations. (Or his manager's handling of him in relation to how you win awards. He's bound by what his manager does, no argument there.)

verlander had a 4.60 ERA in the sixth inning this year and a 4.85 ERA in the seventh. maybe letting him pitch 33 more innings than snell actually hurt his team.

That's a great point. I feel like the AL Cy Young this year does reflect something about the way things are changing.

clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:27 (one month ago) Permalink

How did Kluber fare there?

clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:31 (one month ago) Permalink

oh shoot, i don't how i forgot to add him in. let's see...

first time through the order: .278 wOBA (seventh out of 8 pitchers), 2.33 ERA (sixth)
second: .282 wOBA (sixth), 3.06 ERA (seventh)
third time: .242 wOBA (first), 3.02 ERA (third)

here's a link to the leaderboard, which will hopefully work

Karl Malone, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:36 (one month ago) Permalink

anyway, i still have no idea who should win. i'd say probably NOT snell, though, especially looking at how lucky he was the first time through the order (1.01 ERA vs a .218 wOBA). he was very, very, very good first time through the order, but so was gerrit cole, and he gave up twice as many earned runs.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 3 November 2018 20:37 (one month ago) Permalink

So Kluber was clearly stronger than Snell or Verlander the deeper he got into the game. Which just scrambles everything up a little more.

clemenza, Sunday, 4 November 2018 05:44 (one month ago) Permalink

I'd disregard Kluber for his division. Twelve of his starts were against the White Sox, Royals, and Tigers -- three of the four worst AL offenses.

Andy K, Monday, 5 November 2018 16:39 (one month ago) Permalink

this must exist somewhere, but there has got to be a way to account for strength of competition, both with batters and with pitchers. real plus-minus in basketball attempts to do this (also accounting for the strength of teammates)...I'm surprised a version in baseball hasn't gained acceptance

k3vin k., Monday, 5 November 2018 16:50 (one month ago) Permalink

FWIW Snell faced the Red Sox 4 times, Yankees 3. Indians and Astros twice.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 5 November 2018 21:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Blue Jays three times but whogivesafuck.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 5 November 2018 21:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Took another stab at this with the top 3.

http://docs.google.com/document/d/1jmJtaOs89orWIUxY6PeZ78K1ANEBWvEHocdNF6euw98/edit?usp=sharing

Verlander and Kluber pitched more innings because they pitched more games, not because they went deeper into games--they only threw 14 innings between the three of them after the 7th inning. Verlander pitched the best, but you're looking at 4.2 innings. Hardly seems worth noting--just like everyone else, they're all seven-inning pitchers, more or less.

In those first seven innings...

1) Snell had the best ERA+ by a good margin
2) Verlander had the best WHIP by a good margin
3) Verlander's K/BB ratio was a little better than Kluber's and a lot better than Snell's
4) Verlander and Kluber threw an extra 30 innings each

Elsewhere, Snell led the league in ERA, ERA+, and H/9. (And wins.)
Verlander led the league in combined WAR (BR/Fangraphs), WHIP, strikeouts, and K/BB.
Kluber led the league in BB/9.

Verlander and Kluber threw one shutout each, Snell had none.

I guess it comes down to Snell's ERA+ vs. Verlander's K/BB, and how much credit you give to Verlander for the extra 30 innings (again, a function of pitching more often, not pitching deeper into games).

So I still have no idea. It's a coin toss. Either one is fine.

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 01:39 (one month ago) Permalink

The point above about strength-of-opposition seems worth looking into in a close contest.

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 01:48 (one month ago) Permalink

it looks like baseball prospectus has some useful quality of competition stats for pitchers. it's not easily linkable, but here's a summary:

Snell:

opposing AVG: .253
opposing OBP: .320
opposing SLG: .423
oppOPS: .743
oppTAv: .265
oppRPA+: 104
PPF: 100
PVORP: 38.4

Kluber:

opposing AVG: .223
opposing OBP: .257
opposing SLG: .367
oppOPS: .730
oppTAv: .262
oppRPA+: 101
PPF: 104
PVORP: 38.1

Verlander:

opposing AVG: .247
opposing OBP: .318
opposing SLG: .421
oppOPS: .739
oppTAv: .263
oppRPA+: 103
PPF: 96
PVORP: 57.8

oppTAv is opponent's True Average, a measure of total offensive value scaled to batting average. Adjustments are made for park and league quality, as such the league-average mark is constant at .260.
oppRPA+ is the opponent's player's runs per plate appearance, relative to the league average - 100 means average, 120 is 20% better than average, etc.
PPF is Pitching Park Factor. 100 is average, above 100 is a higher run scoring environment, below 100 is a lower run scoring environment.
PVORP is Value Over Replacement Player as a pitcher

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 November 2018 02:12 (one month ago) Permalink

yaaaarg, i got kluber's stats totally wrong. here's the corrected version:

opposing AVG: .250
opposing OBP: .316
opposing SLG: .413
oppOPS: .730
oppTAv: .262
oppRPA+: 101
PPF: 104
PVORP: 38.1

there. that makes a lot more sense.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 10 November 2018 02:16 (one month ago) Permalink

PVORP OTM, IMO.

Andy K, Saturday, 10 November 2018 03:14 (one month ago) Permalink

Verlander allowed fewer baserunners (8.45/9, including HBP; Snell allowed 8.82) and struck out more batters (12.2/9 vs. 11.0/9), yet Snell's ERA was 0.63 lower. Possible explanations:

Home runs: Verlander did give up more (1.2/9 vs. 0.8/9--12 more HR in ~35 innings)
How many inherited runners scored: I don't think Baseball Reference has this data...does someone keep track of it?
Sheer luck?

The quality-of-competition data looks fairly even to me: Snell (.253/.320/.423), Verlander (.247/.318/.421). Snell's opposition was a little better, but a few percentage points over a couple of hundred innings can't mean that much, can it?

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 15:03 (one month ago) Permalink

One obvious explanation: many more GIDP for Snell (Snell had a 15-3 advantage in ~35 fewer innings). Sabermetrics gives credit to the defense there, right, not the pitcher?

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 15:10 (one month ago) Permalink

So 1) Verlander was better at not allowing baserunners, and 2) he struck out more batters, but when people were on base, Verlander 3) gave up quite a few more home runs, and 4) Snell (or his team) started a lot more double plays. I don't know what the prevailing wisdom is, but I wouldn't be that confident in saying Snell was just a lucky bystander in all those double plays. He definitely wasn't a lucky bystander in not giving up the extra 12 home runs.

I know that's a reductive version of a whole bunch of factors, but based on that reading of why Snell was better at run prevention, I'd have to go with Snell. (At which point, you circle back to the extra 35 innings Verlander gave his team...)

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 15:21 (one month ago) Permalink

"Bequeathed Runners Scored"--I'd like to see this data before I cast my vote. If that were to show that Snell clearly got a lot more help from his bullpen in cleaning up what he'd left behind, I'd consider voting for Verlander. If not, I'll go with what I wrote in the previous post and vote for Snell.

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 16:43 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 12 November 2018 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

I bequeathed my vote to Snell. Murky, but I think he was the best (with the possible exception of Sale).

clemenza, Monday, 12 November 2018 00:35 (one month ago) Permalink

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 00:01 (one month ago) Permalink

Treinen?!

Anyways - right guy won!

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 November 2018 04:32 (one month ago) Permalink

I almost wonder if someone hit the wrong Blake button. Not that he didn't have a great season--more or less as good as Gagne's big year--but those days are gone forever, right?

The real vote may be just as close as this one.

clemenza, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 04:50 (one month ago) Permalink

If you were to go by this piece (different writers, mind you), I'd look for Verlander to win today.

https://www.mlb.com/news/a-case-for-each-al-cy-young-finalist/c-300615304

clemenza, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 12:30 (one month ago) Permalink

wow, Blake Snell won! honestly didn't expect that. barely beat Verlander (169 to 154). Kluber in 3rd with 71.

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 23:53 (one month ago) Permalink

https://i.imgur.com/nZXLDlf.png

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 23:53 (one month ago) Permalink

i was expecting Verlander to win too; but am pleasantly surprised ol' Snelly Cat got the votes!

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:01 (four weeks ago) Permalink

i guess he's the first cy young winner with less than 198 innings pitched, too

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:06 (four weeks ago) Permalink

first in a non-strike season, at least

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:06 (four weeks ago) Permalink

The actual vote is basically identical to ours proportionally.

Do the same writers vote for each league? I hope so--it will spare us whining about how Snell won because of his wins.

clemenza, Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:07 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Congratulations, Ian Snell.

Andy K, Thursday, 15 November 2018 03:06 (four weeks ago) Permalink

the votes rotate, and no writer votes for more than one award per year

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:22 (four weeks ago) Permalink

I didn't think it was the same voters...The two Cy votes seem fairly consistent to me, although with deGrom and Scherzer, you're looking at tiny margins. Scherzer and Verlander had more innings, better WHIPs (in those two categories, Scherzer and deGrom were essentially tied), and had the flashy strikeout seasons; deGrom and Snell had big ERA advantages and pitched for lesser teams.

clemenza, Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:47 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Chris Sale is the only pitcher ever to finish in the top 5 in AL Cy Young Award voting in 6 consecutive seasons (2013-18). The only other pitchers to do that in either league are Greg Maddux (7), Clayton Kershaw (7), and Roy Halladay (6). Sale also finished 6th in 2012.

— Red Sox Notes (@SoxNotes) November 15, 2018

mookieproof, Thursday, 15 November 2018 15:05 (four weeks ago) Permalink

You can add Scherzer to that list too; 1st/5th/5th/1st/1st/2nd.

clemenza, Friday, 16 November 2018 05:10 (four weeks ago) Permalink


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