2018 AL Cy Young

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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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

Blue Jays three times but whogivesafuck.

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Monday, 5 November 2018 21:12 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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

clemenza, Saturday, 10 November 2018 01:48 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

PVORP OTM, IMO.

Andy K, Saturday, 10 November 2018 03:14 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

"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 (nine months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 12 November 2018 00:01 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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

System, Tuesday, 13 November 2018 00:01 (nine months ago) link

Treinen?!

Anyways - right guy won!

Mad Piratical (The Cursed Return of the Dastardly Thermo Thinwall), Tuesday, 13 November 2018 04:32 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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

Karl Malone, Wednesday, 14 November 2018 23:53 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:06 (nine months ago) link

first in a non-strike season, at least

Karl Malone, Thursday, 15 November 2018 00:06 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

Congratulations, Ian Snell.

Andy K, Thursday, 15 November 2018 03:06 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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 (nine months ago) link

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

clemenza, Friday, 16 November 2018 05:10 (nine months ago) link


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