King Felix didn’t run away with the AL Cy Young balloting. David Price came close with 111 points to Hernandez’ 167. Even CC Sabathia managed 102. But the important stat: Hernandez received 21 first place votes… much more than Price (4) and Sabathia (3). In political terms, that’s a mandate.
Hernandez 13-12 record is certainly up for discussion as a Cy Young award winner. His win total was 18th in the league. EIGHTEENTH! Can we safely say that win totals are becoming less important as a evaluator of a pitcher’s talent. More precisely, is this mode of thought becoming more mainstream? There’s no doubt that stat-heads and sabermetricians have been degrading wins as a statistic to quantify a pitcher’s ability. So much so that one year ago, pitchers in both leagues won the Cy Young award over pitchers with better win totals (the AL’s Greinke with 16 wins and the NL’s Lincecum with 15).
If the writers are so willing to forgive Hernandez for his 13-12 record (granted, he was pitching for the last place Mariners), are they becoming more stat-savvy? Or are we reading too much into this? If we give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re putting some thought into this, why are we still using the save statistic to evaluate relievers? The save, in my opinion, is a much more antiquated, misused, and manipulated stat that is very situation-based. If there’s a grand movement among the baseball pundits to see the true value in baseball players, let’s re-evaluate the save statistic, overhaul it, or scrap it altogether. But I digress.
I don’t dismiss wins as a stat. It has a valued tradition in baseball and yes, it does have some value in telling baseball’s story. I’m interested in seeing what will happen one year from now. Will wins have a major factor in determining the 2011 Cy Young award winners?