In this year’s National League Cy Young race, charm was in the eye of the beholder.
A citizen’s tally would expose their worths.
Should the award reward run-prevention above all else? What’s to be said for taking on a heavier load, specifically in this day and age? And where does pure supremacy in the areas most in a pitcher’s control– that don’t always translate to a low period– consider?
Preferably, there would be a pitcher who encapsulates all of these qualities, and that’s how you get consentaneous winners. However, as Mike Petriello incisively laid out for MLB.com in September, there were no Justin Verlanders or Sandy Alcantaras in this race.
There were the workhorses: Logan Webb, Zac Gallen and Zack Wheeler; the strikeout artist, Spencer Strider; and the period leader, Blake Snell. A tier listed below, Kodai Senga and Justin Steele were deservedly in the discussion with lower Periods than all but Snell but eventually failed by tossing less innings than the aforementioned five.
When I received my voting project around the end of August, I feared the day when I would have to turn my ballot. When it came time to choose my leading 5, though, it was an easier decision than I anticipated, thanks to Snell’s strong finish and a viewpoint behind my thought process.
You can discover the final results and all 30 tallies through the BBWAA, but here’s how I voted:
1. Blake Snell
2. Logan Webb
3. Spencer Strider
4. Zac Gallen
5. Zack Wheeler
Missing a runaway winner, I wished to reward the pitchers who mastered their elements of the video game.
Snell led the National League with a 2.25 PERIOD, but he likewise strolled the most batters– the first time that has actually ever happened– a failure of a pitcher’s most basic requirement that, for a time, I believed would disqualify him from the top spot on my ballot. His command issues prolonged his innings, reduced his outings and put more stress on the Padres’ bullpen, ending up 36 innings– or about 6 starts– behind Webb’s MLB-leading 216.
However Snell was so dominant in the innings he remained in the game, it didn’t matter.
Surveying the Giants’ clubhouse, Snell was the most typical answer I got for the filthiest pitcher they faced this season. Opposing hitters batted a paltry.180 versus him, while just Strider (36.8%) struck them out at a greater rate than Snell (31.5%), allowing him to strand 86.7% of all those free base runners, the most in the league.
Snell was simply the best at the most important part of the video game. His ERA was a full point lower than Webb’s (3.25) and he would have needed to permit 33 earned runs over the 36 innings separating them in work to even that space.
Webb, on the other hand, was more trusted and arguably a lot more crucial to his group. The Giants’ piecemeal pitching does not work without Webb taking the load off their overworked bullpen every fifth day. Officially, Webb completed 4th in the NL in age, while no other Giants pitchers even threw adequate innings to qualify.
The only other pitcher who worked deep into games as often and efficiently was Gerrit Cole, the runaway winner in the American League. Webb’s 24 quality starts (6+ IP, 3 or less ER) were tied with Cole and three more than runner-up in the NL (Wheeler), while he led all of baseball with 12 ultra-quality starts (7+ IP, 2 or less ER), three more than the next-closest in the NL (Gallen).
Those numbers aren’t reflected in his 11-13 record, thanks to getting the least run support in the majors, but they weren’t ignored by then-manager Gabe Kapler.
” I think what he’s done is most likely the most difficult part of everything a pitcher does, which is to be durable and reputable, pitch deep into video games and cover innings for a group,” Kapler said late in the season.
” I think innings is a huge consider this. I don’t think Cy Young ought to be just about rate statistics. I believe it certainly needs to include counting stats. And probably the most notable counting stat ought to be innings because you’re covering those for your team, and that makes you important to your group.”
If there was one area where Webb fell short, he was very often great however rarely fantastic.
As somebody who observed nearly all of his 32 starts, Webb did not have the dominant performances that define a Cy Young season.
On the other hand, Strider, the finest purveyor of swings and misses on either side of the Mississippi, is perhaps the game’s most electrical beginning pitcher. On the all-time single-season leaderboard, Strider’s strikeout rate ranks right below two of the best pitching seasons in history, 2001 Randy Johnson and 1999 Pedro Martinez.
The two Hall of Famers, nevertheless, weren’t simply elite at generating swings and misses out on; they likewise prevented runs. Strider finished with a 3.86 ERA, which would have been the highest mark for any Cy Young winner in history. He was, however, a lot better than anyone else at missing out on bats in a period that values the strikeout above all else, that the tally would have felt empty without him.
The most challenging, and least consequential, option was how to rank Gallen and Wheeler, who quickly vanquished Steele and Senga for the final spots by throwing substantially more innings, in overall, and taking down more impactful ones as their teams pursued playoff areas in September.
Wheeler was the most valuable pitcher in the majors, according to FanGraphs WAR, but Gallen beat him out in innings pitched (210 vs. 192) and AGE (3.47 vs. 3.61).
And ultimately, the Cy Young is a results-based award, not a predictor of future performance.