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View Full Version : ESPN Cy Young Predictor Formula vs. Common Sense



EvanJ
05-05-08, 09:47 AM
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/features/cy

The AL Top 10 has four closers:
Jonathan Papelbon (2-0, 9 saves, 1.76 ERA)
Francisco Rodriguez (0-0, 13 saves, 3.29 ERA)
Joe Nathan (0-0, 11 saves, 0.69 ERA)
George Sherrill (1-0, 11 saves, 4.97 ERA)

I'd make a case that you could make a group of four other AL closers who combined are better than the above four. My list would include three closers with 0.00 ERAs (Mariano Rivera, Joakim Soria, and Troy Percival) with no obvious fourth choice (Huston Street, C.J. Wilson, and Bobby Jenks are the other AL closers with at least 6 saves). If I choose Jenks (who has a better ERA than Street and Wilson), I have four closers with a combined ERA of 0.57, which is better than any of the first group. The first group has a combined ERA of 2.63.

Here are some changes I would make to the formula:

1. I would change wins from 6 points to 3 points, losses from -2 to -3, and also give 3 points for quality starts. That would help pitchers who got a loss or no decision from a quality start and hurt pitchers who rack up wins while not pitching well. I would also not give a reliever a deduction for a loss if he did not give up any earned runs in the game.

2. I would charge a penalty for a blown save in which the closer gave up at least one of his own earned runs and/or not give a pitcher any points for a win if he blew the save first. If Pitcher X pitches 1 inning (worth 5/9ths of a points), allows 0 earned runs, strikes out Q amount of batters (worth 1/12 each), and gets a save (2.5 points), his Cy Young Predictor score for the game could be 0.5 points worse than Pitcher Y who pitched much worse. Pitcher Y could also pitch 1 inning, allow 3 earned runs (-1 each so -3 total), also strike out Q amount of batters, blow the save (no penalty other than not getting the 2.5 points for a save), and get a win (6 points).

3. Since middle relievers will never win the Cy Young Award, this change would make the formula less accurate at predicting the award but better at comparing pitchers regardless of role. I would give a reliever 0.5 points per out for a relief apperance of at least 1 inning with this bonus not exceeding 3 points in a game and only being awarded if the pitcher allowed no earned runs and only if the pitcher did not get a win or save from the appearance.

Rocketman
05-05-08, 09:59 AM
It's one month into the season. Chill and wait till we get to August before even considering this tool.

EvanJ
05-05-08, 12:28 PM
I know that leading in the formula now doesn't guarantee that you will be anywhere near the top after the season and that the top starters can move way up after a good game early in the season, but I still look at the formula every day. Each writer votes for three players for the Cy Young Award after the season, but even if I had to vote for ten players (like for the MVP) I would be reluctant to vote for anybody with an ERA over 4.00. Last year Joe Borowski was 9th in the AL Cy Young Predictor (ahead of Wang who won 19 games) despite having an ERA of 5.07.

Here are more changes I would make:

1. ERA penalty deductions- 15 percent for an ERA of 4.00-4.49, 30 percent for an ERA of 4.50-4.99, and automatic exclusion from the Top 10 for an ERA of 5.00 or higher.

2. Rather than changing the Victory Bonus after every game based on the division standings, I would just leave it out until September and then award it to all pitchers on a team once that team has clinched their division.