Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Ken Rosenthal of has posted his annual choices for baseball's post season awards and I have to say, its not crazy. He actually supports his points with factual evidence for the most part. Good job, Ken.

Of course the whole reason I'm posting anything about it isn't to give Rosenthal a well deserved pat on the back. Nope, I'm going to take issue with a few of his choices. Below, I'll post Rosenthal's choice along with my choice and explain why I'm right and he isn't (I bet you never guessed that I was right, huh? Well, its my blog and if no where else, I'm right here. Except when I'm not, which happens... anyway.) Also, I'm going to skip the NL because that’s how I roll.

Rosenthal: Alex Rodriguez
FPE: Alex Rodriguez
-Theres no real argument to be made for anyone else. A-Rod has simply crushed his competition, even Magglio Ordonez, who is having a career year can't hold a candle to A-Rod's season.

AL Rookie of the Year
Rosenthal: Dustin Pedroia
FPE: Pedroia
-We agree again, and again, it isn't that close. If Matsuzaka had continued his mid-season brilliance I think he would have been the better candidate, but since he's fallen off a cliff, Pedroia is the man.

AL Manager of the Year
Rosenthal: Mike Scioscia
FPE: Terry Francona
-Scioscia gets a lot of respect around the game because he plays 'smallball.' Personally, except in a few certain situations, I hate smallball. Scioscia probably has other characteristics that make him a great manager, but personally, I think Francona deserves the award this season. Simply put, the Red Sox have a better record than the Angels, they've scored more runs than the Angels, they've given up fewer runs than the Angels, and they've done it against better competition than the Angels. The Red Sox have had the best record in baseball all season long despite most people picking them to finish behind the Yankees. The fact that Rosenthal doesn't at least have Francona on his short list (behind Scioscia are Wedge and Torre) is a huge oversight. If you are going to give Torre credit for the Yankees turn around, don’t you also have to blame him for the fact that they needed to turn around in the first place?

AL Cy Young
Rosenthal: C.C. Sabathia
FPE: Beckett
- This race is between Sabathia and Beckett. Nobody else comes close. Beckett's season is in many ways comparable to Sabathia's. There are a few differences however. Rosenthal points out that Sabathia has pitched 40 more innings than Beckett, which is true. I'd say that Beckett has also started fewer games than Sabathia (29 to 33) and as such has pitched a comparable number of innings per start. Sabathia has a slight advantage (7.09 innings per start to Beckett's 6.71). The fact that Sabathia has started more games and has pitched more innings is certainly a point in his favor.

I would argue that the reason for that discrepancy can be traced to the manager of the respective clubs. Call this rationalizing if you want, but the Indians pen isn't nearly as good as Boston's, and so Eric Wedge hasn't been as eager as Francona has to take his best starter out of the game.

Further, part of the reason that Beckett hasn't started as many games is due to the quality of his team mates. The fall off after Beckett in the Red Sox rotation isn't as severe as is the falloff after Sabathia in the Indians rotation. Thus, Wedge and GM Mark Shapiro have made every effort to pitch Sabathia as much as possible, while the Red Sox have taken the opposite approach and attempted to conserve Beckett when ever possible. Of course, part of that discrepancy is also due to Beckett's blister problems in the middle of the season.

While Sabathia has an edge in starts and a slight edge in innings per start, Beckett holds the edge in ERA (3.14 to 3.19), ERA+ (145 to 138), and WHIP (1.125 to 1.137). These are all minor edges, just as Sabathia's innings edge is minor, except for ERA+ where a 7 point edge is relatively important.

Still, its a photo finish. I don't think you can really go wrong with either pitcher. Still, I'd pick Beckett for several reasons which I doubt Rosenthal has taken into account. First, Beckett has pitched in Fenway which has slightly favored hitters this year (park factor of 102) while Sabathia's Jacobs Field has favored pitchers (park factor of 97). Further, Beckett has pitched against better competition as the AL East is a stronger division than the Central. AL East lineups averaged 5.06 runs per game while AL Central teams averaged 4.72.

These two items mean that its been more difficult for Beckett overall to compose his masterful season than it has been for Sabathia. Keeping in mind that these pitchers are very close and what we're really doing is splitting hairs here, I would give the Cy Young to Beckett because he has pitched slightly better against better competition in a more difficult part to pitch in.

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