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"Lou is not talking about mechanics when he goes out to the mound,"
~Chicago Cubs pitching coach Larry Rothschild

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Another CY for Santana?

Johan Santana has quietly had another Cy Young worthy year in the American League. I don't think he'll get. It seems to me that the award has already been given to Bartolo Colon, but if you look at the numbers, none of the guys being considered have pitched better than Santana. The only reason Santana won't get it and Colon will is because of wins, which are heavily dependant on the run support a pitcher gets. All the other numbers point to the Twins ace as the best pitcher in the American League.

ERA: This is the most important stat when judging a starting pitcher. (Remember what Graham taught us the other week kids!) Now, Santana doesn't own the league's best ERA, but his 3.05 is only three points behind the leader, Kevin Millwood. The White Sox Buerhle and Garland boast ERA's of 3.21 and 3.41, respectively. The current favorite to take home the Cy, Bartolo Colon, is at 3.46. Not bad, but only 8th in the AL and higher than all three of the other candidates.

WHIP: Santana is the only starter in the AL with a WHIP under 1.00. In fact, it's not even that close. Colon comes in at #2, but is only at 1.15. Garland is trailing narrowly at 1.16 and Buerhle sits at 1.21.

All the other stats (other than wins) favor Santana as well:

Johan Santana-220 (leads MLB)
Bartolo Colon-145
Mark Buerhle-132
Jon Garland-100

On Base Avg:
Johan Santana-.252 (leads AL)
Bartolo Colon-.288
Jon Garland-.296
Mark Buerhle-.300

Opp. Slugging %:
Johan Santana-.348 (leads AL)
Mark Buerhle-.383
Bartolo Colon-.390
Jon Garland-.393

Other important stats such as: Innings pitched, Walks, and Complete games, have very little difference between the four pitchers.

Kevin Millwood who leads the AL in ERA comes in last or second to last in all of these other categories. For that reason, I didn't include him in the comparisons. His 8-11 record, even though it's not his fault, automatically eliminates him from Cy Young candidacy in the voters eyes.

Because the voters tend to give the Cy Young to the guy with the most wins, it almost certaintly will be Colon. Even though, Santana has better numbers in all other measurable categories. Until voters stop putting so much emphasis on misleading won/loss records, the Cy Young award won't always go to the best pitcher in the league.

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