How can we fairly decide the Cy Young Award especially in 2015?
It’s that time of year when the members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) will cast their votes for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Cy Young Awards for both the American and National Leagues. Each writer votes for ten players (position or otherwise) for the MVP and five pitchers for the Cy Young, ranking their top choices for each.
This is no easy task; there is no specific criteria for either award. Members of the BBWAA each consider many questions, including: Are the awards purely statistically based? Is there a certain element of personality that makes one player more of an MVP than another? Can an MVP or Cy Young award winner come from a losing team? Should the pitcher with the most wins automatically win the Cy Young Award, or should each statistic be given the same consideration?
For an MVP, it becomes more of a subjective decision about the player as a whole. Was he a leader on the field and in the clubhouse? Does he have top statistics in the league both offensively and defensively?
The Cy Young Award is equally challenging. For some writers, wins are still looked at or used as some sort of tie-breaker. Others will rely on mathematics and statistical analyses of the pitcher’s performance.
It is not reasonable to choose the Cy Young winners solely on wins or even by choosing the guy with the lowest ERA. The Cy Young Award should be based on the pitcher’s all-around performance, with emphasis not necessarily on one particular statistic.
Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz explained a very reasonable method to make sense of the madness on a recent episode of MLB Network’s The Rundown. What Smoltz suggested on MLB Network was that equal value be placed on each of the six core statistics for a pitcher: wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP and opposing player’s batting averages against the candidate.
To read how Smoltz’s predictions turned out and why I think his system is superior to any other you can read the remainder of my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:
*In loving memory of one of my favorite people and one of my favorite Cy Young Award Winners – the last player to win over 25 games in a season (27 in 1990) … my friend, Bob Welch! RIP!