Cy Young voters got it wrong
Sorry, but I don't see how a pitcher who goes 13-12 can win the Cy Young Award as Seattle's Felix Hernandez did Thursday. It means, essentially, that win-loss record is no factor. A 13-12 record is so mediocre that it could not have been considered at all by those who chose Fernandez. So does that mean he still would have won the award if his record was 12-13 and all of his other numbers were the same? The answer would have to be yes. What if he went 9-15? Again, it would have to be yes because 13-12 was apparently eliminated from consideration.
It's true that Hernanez is a heck of a pitcher. It's also true he pitched on a lousy team that lost 101 games. He shouldn't be penalized for that. But he can't be rewarded for it either. No one can think or assume he would have posted a better record on a good team. You can't speculate or estimate that he would have gone, say, 20-10 if he had played for the Yankees or Rays or Rangers. And I still contend that it's much easier to pitch when your team is 25 games out first place in September with no hope of a playoff spot than it is when you're pitching must-win games in the heat of the pennant race. You could argue that after the first few weeks of the season, Hernandez didn't pitch in a game that truly meant anything. Meantime, Tampa Bay's David Price and the Yankees' CC Sabathia pitched in critically meaningful games all season long.
It's one thing if there were no viable candidates besides Hernandez (13-12, 2.27 ERA), but certainly Price (19-6, 2.72) and Sabathia (21-7, 3.18) had worthy Cy Young numbers.
What this proves is that the stat geeks -- those who consider Moneyball to be the bible of baseball and sabermetics to be their gospel -- have taken over the baseball world. It's all about WHIP and OPS and a bunch of other abbreviations that no one knows how to figure out. It's not about baseball, where games and awards are won on the field with bats and gloves. It's about fantasy baseball, where games and awards are won on paper with a calculator and slide rule.
Things such as ERA and opponent's batting average and strikeouts and walks per nine innings, of course, should be considered when picking a Cy Young, but shouldn't a pitcher’s record count, too? In fact, shouldn't victories count as much or more than most numbers? The issue I have is victories apparently were not counted at all. How else can you explain a starting pitcher with the fewest victories in a full season and a pitcher who was one game over .500 winning the Cy Young Award?
It's a new day in baseball. A sad day.