Picking Sabathia over King Felix for the Cy Young Award is nuts

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We’ve mentioned it a few times already, and a great many people in the national media have already taken their swings at it, but let us reiterate one more time: supporting CC Sabathia over Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young Award is the sort of thing that should spark a hearing over whether or not you should be made a ward of the state due to extreme mental incompetence.

The statistical case is so simple that I’m surprised that there’s any debate at all. Hernandez leads Sabathia in innings pitched, complete games, hits allowed, ERA (by a lot) and strikeouts. He’s allowed fewer hits, home runs and has walked fewer batters. Hernandez’s infield defense is worse. So is his bullpen.

While people say “hey, Hernandez pitches in the weak AL West,” (a) the weakest part of the AL West is his own team which he cannot face; (b) the strongest part of the AL East is Sabathia’s which he cannot face; and (c) Hernandez has actually started against more teams that are in contention than Sabathia has. Wanna give Sabathia points for playoff race pressure? Fine. Just make sure you even it out by giving Hernandez points for having to deal with the pressure of knowing that he must be absolutely perfect in order to win, because he’s getting zero help from his atrocious teammates.

The only advantage Sabathia has over Hernandez is the one thing that is not in a pitcher’s control: run support. That’s it. And that’s what leads to the wins that many Cy Young voters are citing as the reason for supporting Sabathia over Hernandez.

Which is strange, because last year the writers got it right and gave the Cy Young Awards in both leagues to guys who pitched the best despite having relatively lackluster win totals — Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum.  Why it appears that won’t happen again this year is a mystery.

Maybe the writers feel like going against their base instincts to reward wins once is enough. Maybe it’s just too early, the Sabathia supporters just happen to be the most vocal and once the voting occurs sanity will prevail.

All I know is that if their performances hold up for the last couple of weeks of the season and Hernandez doesn’t win the Cy Young Award the BBWAA ought to be whacked upside the head.

Justin Turner is a postseason monster

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A not-insignificant amount of the Dodgers’ success in recent years has to do with the emergence of Justin Turner. In his first five seasons with the Orioles and Mets, he was a forgettable infielder who had versatility, but no power. The Mets non-tendered him after the 2013 season, a move they now really regret.

In four regular seasons since, as a Dodger, Turner has hit an aggregate .303/.378/.502. His 162-game averages over those four seasons: 23 home runs, 36 doubles, 83 RBI, 80 runs scored. And he’s also a pretty good third baseman, it turns out. The Dodgers have averaged 95 wins per season over the past four years.

Turner, 32, has gotten better and better with each passing year. This year, he drew more walks (59) than strikeouts (56), a club only five other players (min. 300 PA) belonged to, and he trailed only Joey Votto (1.61) in BB/K ratio (1.05). He zoomed past his previous career-high in OPS, finishing at .945. His .415 on-base percentage was fourth-best in baseball. His batting average was fifth-best and only nine points behind NL batting champion Charlie Blackmon.

It doesn’t seem possible, but Turner has been even better in the postseason. He exemplified that with his walk-off home run to win Game 2 of the NLCS against the Cubs. Overall, entering Wednesday night’s action, he was batting .363/.474/.613 in 97 postseason plate appearances. In Game 4, he went 2-for-2 with two walks, a single, and a solo home run. That increases his postseason slash line to .378/.495/.659, now across 101 plate appearances. That’s a 1.154 OPS. The career-high regular season OPS for future first-ballot Hall of Famer Albert Pujols was 1.114 in 2008, when he won his third career MVP Award. Statistically, in the postseason, Turner hits slightly better than Pujols did in the prime of his career. Of course, we should adjust for leagues and parks and all that, but to even be in that neighborhood is incredible.

In the age of stats, the concept of “clutch” has rightfully eroded. We don’t really allow players to ascend to godlike levels anymore like the way we did Derek Jeter, for instance. (Jeter’s career OPS in the playoffs, by the way, was a comparatively pitiful .838.) Turner isn’t clutch; he’s just a damn good hitter whose careful approach at the plate has allowed him to shine in the postseason and the Dodgers can’t imagine life without him.