Sunday, November 21, 2010

Viva King Felix!!!

Seattle's Felix Hernandez took the American League Cy Young Award this week, and despite all the whining from the peanut gallery (ahem, New York and Tampa), King Felix was the right choice.

Obviously, with a record of 13-12, Hernandez wasn't even in the running in terms of wins, but we did learn from last year's winner (Zack Greinke) that the voters are beginning to understand that wins are by no means the most important statistic. If fact, wins are completely subjective; a pitcher could literally have a 0.00 ERA with no hits, walks, or hit batsmen, and end his season with zero wins.

On the other hand, it's conceivable that a player could have an ERA over 5 and win twenty games. Neither of these scenarios are likely, of course, but that fact that they are technically possible should set the alarm bells off in your brain: wins are practically useless as a statistic.

Felix Hernandez had the lowest ERA in the league (just .06 runs better than our own Clay Buchholz) at 2.27, and the highest WAR (6.0), all while pitching more innings than anyone in the American League.

Of course, the whining coming out of New York and Tampa Bay is predictable, since they can claim the third and second-place players, but the reasoning behind their arguments is bordering on absurd:

Keith, I expected better from you, but I guess I'll have to ask you to leave the sports talk to those who have done the research and actually UNDERSTAND the statistics. You could just as easily argue that Price and Sabathia (I presume he was referring to them) actually had the benefit of knowing a good lineup - a PENNANT CALIBER lineup, if you will - would bail them out if they turned in an occasional stinker. Hernandez? Not so much. HE was pressured to give up ZERO runs every time he pitched, and STILL not always get the win.

I also had someone make the argument that Price should have won because "he was young and carried the team on his back." Umm, okay... except King Felix is YOUNGER THAN PRICE, and Price was responsible for 19.7% of the Rays' total wins, while Hernandez was responsible for 21.3% of the Mariners' total wins.

So I guess the point here is this: despite the fact that the BBWAA has learned that there's more to life than a sparkly win-loss record, fans have not. I guess it's up to their peers to educate them, one stubborn traditionalist at a time.

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