Why R.A. Dickey Won’t Win Cy Young Award

From drive-by commenter “Tomahawk Chop,” commenting on the “Cy Young Smackdown: R.A. Dickey vs. Craig Kimbrel” post of October 1:

Mets fans are such sore losers even before the seasons over. The only reason this article exist is because with all of Dickey’s “amazing” starter numbers, ( yes the mets pun refers to ininngs pitched, strikeouts, whip, shutouts, complete games, batting average against) there’s still a shadow of doubt he won’t win the cy young. Why? Afraid the voters might pick the pitcher with the greatest strikeout ratio EVER in baseball, (16.7 Single season record, 15.9 career MLB record) A closer who struck out 49% batters he faced, (that translates to AT LEAST a strikeout every appearance by the way struckout 4 COUNT EM 4 batters in one inning for a save on 9/26/2012) Go ahead try and justify it with some horrible arithmetic that if that was your logic you might as well give the cy young to Johan Santana for throwing the Mets first no hitter. Kimbrel is lights out, (something that can’t be said of any of the Mets revolving door of closers Fransico, Rauch, Parnell) Kimbrel has been absurdly dominant, 1.02 ERA (second only to Fernando Rodney’s MLB record 0.60) MLB leading whip of 0.654, NL leading 42 saves, AND if you don’t believe he’s been dominant check this stat out: ONLY 27 hits allowed 7 ER, 7 R, (remember 231 batters faced, 116 strikeouts ONLY 27 HITS!) Are you kidding me???? If your gonna compare apples and oranges or in this case Starters to Closers, compare them by the criteria they’re judged by. Either way Dickey might of had a “magical” season but Kimbrel is only getting better and has well established himself as the BEST closer in baseball and put up the BEST numbers by one in a single season. And the best comparison and argument you can come up with is Eric Gagne and his save percentage? Weak…. But what can you expect from fans of a team that choked after the allstar break crashing in a ball of fire back to the snake bitten franchise that other teams beat up on to make it to the postseason. Either way if the only thing you guys have to cling to is one award for a journey man pitcher who the Mets will probably trade away anyway, maybe the voters will throw you guys a bone. From Braves country, looking forward to watching the Bravos spank you guys in 2013 and years to come!

My, my, didn’t take long for those Braves fans to become ornery, seething, and bitter. I suppose that’s what happens when Bud Selig changes the rules at the last minute and pulls a Wild Card security blanket out from under your feet — in turn, making your winter misery only one day shorter than a Mets fan’s.

Reading between the vitriol, “Tomahawk” does present valid points. If you measure dominance in terms of strikeouts, then Kimbrel has put together one of, if not the, most dominant seasons in MLB history. And certainly, his 0.65 WHIP is mind-blowing. He wasn’t perfect, however, as he blew 3 saves and lost one game. A tiny amount, but no losses and no blown saves would have provided more support for his Cy Young case.

Of course, Dickey wasn’t perfect, either. But, Dickey threw 170 more innings than Kimbrel, which is arguably more valuable to a club. Could Kimbrel have maintained his other-worldly dominance
as a starter? Through 200+ innings? Unlikely, and that’s why most writers will give their first-place vote to a starter such as Dickey or Gio Gonzalez.

And that brings up Kimbrel’s best chance of winning the Cy Young: votes split among R.A., Gio, Clayton Kershaw, Matt Cain, and Johnny Cueto. Yes, I can see all five collecting first-place votes. Heck, Kyle Lohse might even garner a vote from a Missouri scribe. With votes split among so many starters, it’s conceivable that Kimbrel could walk away with the Cy Young Award; certainly, he’ll get his share of first-place votes.

Try to block out Tomahawk’s tone and consider Kimbrel’s numbers, the playing field of candidates, and the tendencies of today’s voters: how do you think this will shake out? Consider, also, that (unlike us) few of the voters watched every one of R.A.’s starts, so they’re basing their vote mostly on the stat lines; will they take into consideration the Mets’ ineptitude? Will they hold against R.A. the fact he pitched in the media capital of the world?

Post your thoughts in the comments.

12-13 Offseason

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Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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