Normally, I would take a look at the MVP Award winners also, but I have no complaints with the Buster Posey pick for NL MVP, and it is completely unsurprising to see that Triple Crown Award winner Miguel Cabrera got MVP in the AL, even over the better season of Mike Trout (although I suppose one could write about how there was bias in making the playoffs and not making the playoffs, in value).
What I am definitely interested in writing about though is the 2012 Cy Young Awards. Both were sort of quirky picks: David Price and RA Dickey. Certainly, both pitchers had great seasons, but other pitchers were better in 2012.
To prove my point, I’m going to use innings pitched and an average between the traditional rate metric, ERA, and the less traditional, sabermetric and normalized version, xFIP. This should give us a great idea of what starting pitchers did on the field in 2012.
RA Dickey pitched a very impressive 233.2 innings this season. His ERA/xFiP was 3.0. Very nice. However, Clayton Kershaw pitched 227.2 innings and his ERA/xFiP was demonstrably better at 2.89. To illustrate further, Kershaw was worth more by fWAR at 5.5 to Dickey’s 4.6. There really was no reason to give Dickey the award instead of Kershaw.
David Price pitched 211 innings in 2012. The average between the on the field results based ERA (well, that’s probably oversimplifying, but it’s the stat most still use) and the normalized for home run and defense xFIP rate stat was a very impressive 2.84. However, Justin Verlander is a beast: 238.1 innings pitched and a ERA/xFIP average of 2.975. That’s basically like pitching 3 extra complete games at a very impressive rate, albeit not quite as good as Price’s in that area. fWAR tells the tale quite simply: 6.8 to 5.1. That’s a big difference. If you need to look further as to why Verlander should have won it, look at their K/9 and BB/9 and tell me Price deserved it more.
Shame on MLB for getting both the Cy Young Awards wrong.