Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Sabathia-Hernandez Debate

It's AL Cy Young Day! Hoorays! Anyway, here's something I started a while back and forgot about, then revived before it becomes even less timely. Hopefully I caught all the tenses and things which needed changing now. Alright, here we go.

There's a spirited yelling match currently going on between the old-school writers who believe that the Cy Young award should be given to the grittiest player regardless of results (Because "You can't trust them statistics.") (Also: This player is David Eckstein. Even though he doesn't pitch) and the sabermetrics crowd, who want the award to go to whoever their Excel spreadsheet says it should (These caricatures are completely hackneyed by this point. Sorry for any groan-induced pains reading them may have caused). So, with bedlam gripping the nation as we wait to see who will finally be deemed the best by a small sample of the BBWAA in the voting this afternoon, I have decided to submit a completely unscientific entry that proves absolutely nothing to the discussion. You're welcome.

Most of the disagreement is coming from the 'Wins' statistic. Sabathia (Record of 21-7) led the league in wins, which, it should be noted, are technically something a team earns, rather than an individual player. Hernandez had a record of 13 wins and 12 losses. Which does not sound all that impressive. However, Sabathia also led the league in run support, the runs his offensive players, who he has no control over (Unless he is injecting them with steroids between innings), scored in his starts, whereas Hernandez finished dead last in this, as his teammates are still hoping that someday a coach will tell them which end of the bat they are supposed to hold. This may have had some slight impact on that 'Wins' statistic. So, to complicate things further, I am now going to match up game logs, and keep Sabathia's statistics from each game, but give him the run support Hernandez received in his corresponding start. To make things slightly tipped in Sabathia's favor (And balance out park effects, which are completely ignored here, a bit), it shall be assumed that all run support was scored while he was still in the game, and all relievers who followed him gave up no runs. Also, his runs allowed will be used rather than his earned runs, because, at the heart of it all, the concept of an 'earned' run is fairly convoluted and stupid. Either it scores or it doesn't. Anyway, there are many, many flaws in this method which prevent it from being a tool that is actually useful, but it seems like fun, so I'm going to do it. Basically, pitcher wins are a stupid stat, so I am using a fairly stupid method to point that out. Feel free to point out its flaws in the comments!

Format: Start #: Seattle Runs-Sabathia Runs Allowed, Decision (Pitcher record)

1: 5-5, ND (0-0)
2: 4-0, W (1-0)
3:11-1, W (2-0)
4: 4-4, ND (2-0)
5: 1-3, L (2-1)
6: 3-1, W (3-1)
7: 0-3, L (3-2)
8: 5-6, L (3-3)
9: 5-1, W (4-3)
10: 1-6, L (4-4)
11: 1-5, L (4-5)
12: 4-3, W (5-5)
13: 1-2, L (5-6)
14: 4-3, W (6-6)
15: 5-0, W (7-6)
16: 2-1, W (8-6)
17: 7-2, W (9-6)
18: 4-1, W (10-6)
19: 4-1, W (11-6)
20: 2-4, L (11-7)
21: 2-4, L (11-8)
22: 1-4, L (11-9)
23: 0-3, L (11-10)
24: 0-2, L (11-11)
25: 2-3, L (11-12)
26: 1-2, L (11-13)
27: 6-0, W (12-13)
28: 4-5, L (12-14)
29: 3-0, W (13-14)
30: 3-6, L (13-15)
31: 4-0, W (14-15)
32: 2-3, L (14-16)
33: 0-7, L (14-17)
34: 3-1, W (15-17)

So fictional CC Sabathia pitching for the Seattle Mariners with a perfect bullpen put up a 2010 record of 15-17, tying for the major league lead in losses. Now, this is an imperfect exercise, but it does nicely show how poor the reasoning behind voting for Sabathia this year is. Still have doubts? We can move onto some advanced statistics that matter immensely if you'd like. Hernandez led Sabathia in innings pitched, strikeouts, and runs allowed (Like, he gave up fewer runs). To vote for Sabathia, one has to announce to the world that the only statistic they care about is pitcher wins, and nothing else matters to them. Considering this is what mainstream media writers often like to accuse statistically-minded people of doing (If you sub in, say, VORP for pitcher wins), well, I find this rather amusing. Even though the writers who vote for Sabathia will never understand why.


your mom said...

I'm very glad you're alive. Could you please write something interesting SOON? Thank you! Love, your mom

UncleRick said...

Continue ignoring your mother. Good work!

UncleRick said...

I hope the reason you haven't been blogging about the recent winter meeting acquisitions of the much beloved Boston Red Sox is you are hard at work on the great American novel. Another acceptable excuse would be you are reviving your weird music career...