Jack McDowell Weighs In On The Cy Young Awards, Fails

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McDowell, who is now a "blogger" and "covering" the White Sox at a Chicago media outlet, is actually a winner of the Cy Young himself. He did so while winning an impressive 22 games for the team he now blogs about. Great! Surely this makes him an expert on the subject, and he will be able to provide wise insight on the winds of change that led the normally asinine writers to go a sterling two for two in picking the Cy Young winners in 2009! Or not.

It's not a very long post by any stretch, I'd just like to highlight a few snippets of wonderful ineptitude:

The slippery slope we must watch out for is starting to de-emphasize wins vs "stuff." Obviously both Cy winners would have benefitted and probably pushed their win totals into the 20's with more offensively productive teams behind them.

So when you mention pitchers who had their win totals bloated by superior offensive teams behind them, you're quite clearly referencing yourself the year you won, right? That's the year your White Sox teammates gave you nearly 5 runs per game, a number that would make the adorable Tim Lincecum blush with envy. OK, good, just checking. Tally ho!

But we'd better make sure the Javier Vasquez scenario doesn't overtake the voters in the future. Now that they have officially allowed full season 15 game winners to represent the best in the game, you start to worry about perennial low ERA, high strikeout guys like Vasquez being propelled to the highest level of respect...when they shouldn't. What is the difference how many strikeouts a guy has if they can't ultimately win games?

"Javier Vasquez" (SIC) had a really, really good year. He performed on every statistical level for the Braves in 2009, and did so in truly impressive fashion. Quick show of pale, Internet-reading hands though, if you were the GM of a baseball team granted total omniscience and the ability to see the future, and you had the chance to acquire a player who you knew was guaranteed to put up the exact same numbers Vazquez did in 2009, would you take him?

Obviously I am not surprised that McDowell is against advanced metrics, or at the very least fails to acknowledge most of them existing. However, the fact that McDowell says Javier's performance doesn't merit "respect" when in reality it was truly awesome by even the most basic of measurements is absurd. He won 15 games! That total put him in an easy tie for fourth place overall in the rankings of that category in 2009. You know who else was in that fourth place spot? Oh, just the actual NL Cy Young winner. Clearly, he deserves no respect for that.

Moreover, why is McDowell picking on Vazquez specifically? He says when he starts the post that he is comfortable with the results of both awards and in a moment of grand irony even goes so far to say that "you can't complain about either choice" before ripping into the very nature of Javier Vazquez' being. In expressing his dislike of Vazquez' having a low ERA and high strikeout total but without gaudy win numbers, McDowell may as well have been talking about Tim Lincecum directly. But I guess since Tim Lincecum was never a pitcher with a middling win total on the White Sox the way Vazquez was, he gets a free pass from McDowell's direct commentary... Ohh!

I really don't have anything else to add to this. This pour soul has a case of Win Fever the likes of which I have never seen. We need to get him some help! The next stage of the illness will involve "Black Jack" howling at the moon on 35th Street and begging for a few more wins from the cosmos.

Or maybe I'm just overreacting. Maybe McDowell has a point, and I'm just writing this out of some deeply ingrained hatred for one silly little double he surrendered to Edgar Martinez in days of yore...


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5 Comments

"This pour soul has a case of Win Fever the likes of which I have never seen"

Really? More than Joe Morgan?

I can't see Joe Morgan actually disparaging a player that had a good season the way McDowell is. Morgan probably would have voted for Wainwright every day of the week, but I can still see him paying a milquetoast compliment to Vazquez on the season he had. Even Joe Morgan references ERA and Ks.

To be fair, McDowell's actual post never referenced his own pitching abilities, but let's throw his Cy Young season in there for comparison anyway. Of the AL pitchers who have won the award since they started giving one to a pitcher in each league, only three pitchers have had ERAs higher than McDowell did in his Cy Young season and, looking at just starters in non-strike years, only three winners struck out fewer batters than McDowell.

He seems to have won the award entirely based on wins (22, league leader), which might be why he's so defensive (that's what pitchers are paid to do, he says). Among AL starters that year he was 11th in ERA, 13th in strikeouts, and, if you want to get fancy (which he probably doesn't), 14th in ERA+.

Go play with the numbers and tell me who you would have voted for (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1993-standard-pitching.shtml). My vote would have gone for Kevin Appier (3rd in actual voting that year), but Randy Johnson had a helluva season too (you've got to love 308 strikeouts - nearly twice as many as McDowell).

To be fair, McDowell's actual post never referenced his own pitching abilities, but let's throw his Cy Young season in there for comparison anyway. Of the AL pitchers who have won the award since they started giving one to a pitcher in each league, only three pitchers have had ERAs higher than McDowell did in his Cy Young season and, looking at just starters in non-strike years, only three winners struck out fewer batters than McDowell.

He seems to have won the award entirely based on wins (22, league leader), which might be why he's so defensive (that's what pitchers are paid to do, he says). Among AL starters that year he was 11th in ERA, 13th in strikeouts, and, if you want to get fancy (which he probably doesn't), 14th in ERA+.

Go play with the numbers and tell me who you would have voted for (http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1993-standard-pitching.shtml). My vote would have gone for Kevin Appier (3rd in actual voting that year), but Randy Johnson had a helluva season too (you've got to love 308 strikeouts - nearly twice as many as McDowell).

My choice is RJ there.

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