Open-Mindedness and Overreach

Let me elaborate on that last point a bit. I’m not sure who has votes on the A.L. Cy Young this year, so it’s hard to guess at who is going to win. I seem to think Felix has a better chance than most do, but that’s really neither here nor there. My point is, I think the “old-school” writers made a mistake by even picking this fight, in the long run.

If I had to guess, I’d imagine that a lot of this is an angry response to last year’s Cy Young results, especially since Adam Wainwright would have won in the National League if Keith Law hadn’t voted for Javier Vazquez. I think that caught a lot of people off guard, and there’s been a more conscious effort to get out in front of that in the A.L. voting this year. The problem the anti-Felix crowd is having, though, is that they’ve picked such an absurd hill to plant their flag on, in the long run they’re undermining their goal, no matter if they win this battle. After all, Felix is having a great year by most traditional measures, the only stats that don’t flatter him are his win-loss record.

In another case, that may be compelling, but of course, this isn’t a normal case, as Hernandez is pitching for a team with one of the worst offenses in the history of the game. Writers like Ken Rosenthal recognize that the case against Felix rests on the presumption that he should be penalized for having a bad offense. That’s a pretty tough argument to swallow for anyone who isn’t hell-bent on resisting change to the way we talk about baseball statistics, and the more people like Paul Hoynes dig in on this point, the more obvious it becomes to everyone else that their position is completely vapid.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

2 thoughts on “Open-Mindedness and Overreach

  1. Joseph

    I think the problem is many people view the Cy Young Award as the MVP for pitchers.  That being the case, voters look at win totals and even whether that pitcher pitched for a contender. That really shouldn't be the case.  The Cy Young Award is supposed to be awarded to the best pitcher in each respective league.  It should be equivalent to the Silver Slugger award given to batters.  With that definition, Felix Hernandex should easily win that award.

    The problem is Felix has not been the most valuable pitcher because his team is so bad.  If there was a most valuable pitcher award, it would probably go to Price or Sabathia in the AL.

    Simple solution is make the current MVP only applicable to batters (since 99% of the time a batter wins it) and introduce a new most valuable pitcher award.

  2. mister d

    I think you'd be better off separating MVP from best position player. We've had pitchers win the MVP in the past, but for some reason Swisher was not in contention for the 2009 Cy Young.

    I'd propose a Cy Young award for best pitcher, a Babe Ruth (or Hank Aaron, or Ted Williams) award for position player, and then MVP for the player, pitcher or position, who made the biggest difference for his team. We could ignore the standings of the first two awards, but it should absolutely be a factor for the MVP.  

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