A tale of two pitchers

Yanks back on the Padres' radar
Looking ahead to 2009

Who would you rather:

Pitcher A: 64 G, 70.2 IP, 41 H, 6 BB, 77 K, 1.40 ERA, 0.665 WHIP, .165/.190/.233
Pitcher B: 76 G, 68.1 IP, 54 H, 34 BB, 77 K, 2.24 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, .216/.314/.316

Now, it’s hard to deny that both pitchers had some pretty impressive numbers in 2008. Pitcher B walked a few too many guys, and Pitcher A was pretty much lights out across the board. Would you believe me if I told you that Pitcher B garnered 32 Cy Young votes and a third-place finish in the balloting while Pitcher A received just three third-place votes?

Of course, Pitcher A saved “only” 39 games this year while Pitcher B set a new MLB record with 62 saves. For what it’s worth, those fancy statisticians over at Baseball Prospectus figure that Pitcher A, Mariano Rivera, was the top reliever in baseball this year while Pitcher B, Francisco Rodriguez, is far down the list. K-Rod was good this year, but he’s no Rivera.

With 62 saves staring at them in the face, the writers were once again misled by a largely meaningless counting stat. Yet again, the voters show that the post-season awards are purely symbolic. Cliff Lee won — and deserved — his Cy Young, but after that, the voters are just pulling names out of thing air.

Postscript: Mike Mussina received just two third-place votes for his 20-win season. While Cy Young votes for Moose would be largely symbolic, I expected him to do slightly better than that. I guess the writers would rather let saves instead of emotions get the best of them.

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Yanks back on the Padres' radar
Looking ahead to 2009
  • Ivan

    Hey I thought Mo should be in the discussion for the #3 spot in the CY Young Voting but no way should K-Rod be in that discussion. Again he was the 5TH BEST CLOSER IN THE AL if you look at the other statistics besides saves (which are equalivant for wins for a starting pitcher)

    Mo was the best closer in baseball period. I mean 6 BB in 70.2 innings are something you do in a video game. You can make the legit arguement that this was Mo best season as a closer (96 really was his best season but he wasn’t a closer)

    Again, I want to see the sucker who’s gonna give K-Rod big money this offseason.

  • Chip

    I agree with the writer’s number one and two being Lee and Holliday. But there is no way K-Rod is the top RELIEVER this year. In fact, I’d argue that Rivera, Nathan, Papelbon, Soria, and Lidge all had better seasons. Him getting that many saves is a combination of luck (games being close) and manager being willing to fry his arm in the last year of his contract

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Lidge pitches in the NL, but otherwise, yes, you’re right. All of those other closers had much better seasons than K-Rod. But because he got 62 saves, he’s somehow better. It’s a joke.

      • Chip

        Well I was thinking in terms of all relievers but yeah I agree with you. I could see K-Rod as being the second best………if he played in the NL

      • Chris C.

        Yeah, 62 saves in 69 chances. That’s slightly under 90%.
        That’s extremely average for a closer.

        Mariano converted saves this season at a 97% clip, and had an ERA of almost a full run less.

        Are the writers just too lazy to look things up?
        I feel bad for the writers who really do realize these things and vote accordingly. Their votes are then negated by clowns like Jon Heyman.

  • steve (different one)

    you’re preaching to the choir here, Ben.

    nice post, but we aren’t out of the woods yet.

    if K-Rod wins the MVP, i may never stop laughing.

    so far though, i will say that the voting has decent, relatively speaking. there was a strong case for Santana, but Lincecum was also fine choice. same with Halladay/Lee. both were completely defendable.

    now watch them do something like give Manny the NL MVP.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Oh, yeah. I have no issues with the winners. So far, I think everyone who’s won an award has deserved it. But when we see guys voting for Dale Sveum, manager for 12 games, and K-Rod over Rivera, you just have to wonder what these writers are thinking.

      That being said, I’m fully aware I’m preaching to the choir :)

      • Chip

        Well the one thing I feel that they’ve gotten wrong thus far has been not voting for Edison Volquez for the ROY. I mean the guy was obviously better than the competition

      • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

        I have no issues with the winners.

        Nate McLouth won a Gold Glove.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to simply as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball player judged to have the most “superior individual fielding performance” at each position (in each league), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league.

          Special consideration is given to a player’s gritasticalness and scrapitudery.

        • Chris C.

          ??????

          Nate McLouth is an excellent outfielder. What’s your beef with that?

          • A.D.

            Nate McLouth isn’t an excellent outfielder, hes a corner outfielder playing CF and had the 3rd worst zone rating amoung MLB cf this year & nothing special in range factor… so no, he shouldn’t have won a gold glove

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            NL Centerfielders, 2008:

            Range Factor:
            Aaron Rowand 2.95
            Corey Patterson 2.76
            Carlos Beltran 2.72
            Michael Bourn 2.68
            Nate McLouth 2.66

            Zone Rating:
            Corey Patterson.901
            Shane Victorino.899
            Carlos Beltran .899
            Mike Cameron .892
            Chris Young .889
            Aaron Rowand .883
            Willy Taveras .875
            Lastings Milledge .864
            Nate McLouth .852

            Assists:
            Matt Kemp 10
            Michael Bourn 9
            Carlos Beltran 8
            Shane Victorino 7
            Cody Ross 7
            Aaron Rowand 6
            Willy Taveras 6
            Alfredo Amezaga 6
            Chris Young 5
            Nate McLouth 5

            How exactly was McLouth the best defensive centerfielder in the NL this year?

    • Chris C.

      It’a sbolsutely amazing the hype this guy has gotten.

      I mean geez, if he DIDN’T break the single season save record, he’d have been demoted from the closer role. That’s how meaningless that record was.
      69 save opportunities??? Who WOULDN’T break the record under those conditions?

      Jon Heyman has K-Rod winning the MVP, and had him placing third in Cy Young voting. This is just crazy stupid.

      No wonder the guy’s looking for Mariano money. Everyone’s treating him like he’s better than Mariano.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Opponents had a .423 OPS against Mo? Holy crap.

    • Chip

      He turned opposing batters into me. I feel like if I got 500 ABs and just closed my eyes and swung I could probably put up a .423 OPS

      • steve (different one)

        i enjoyed this post.

        i think the only way i could have a non-zero OPS would be if i got hit by a pitch. maybe a swinging bunt or two.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          I might be able to work a walk or two on days Dice-K starts.

          • E-ROC

            You don’t even have to work for that to happen.

        • Chip

          I’m also 21 and played college ball. I could make contact, which is about all I feel is required to put up a .423 OPS

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            Meh, I’m not trying to hate on you, dude, but I doubt it.

            I think most 21 year old guys who played college ball but didn’t get drafted or wind up in Indy ball could easily OPS south of .300 against major league pitching. That floor is a lot lower than we think it is.

            • http://mlb.mlb.com/stats/individual_player_postseason.jsp?c_id=mlb&playerID=121250&statType=2 Slugger27

              im 19, currently AM playing college ball, and i completely agree

              i think stickin me in there (and im not a scrub or anything) i would prolly hit the same as most pitchers do in the NL.. majority of PAs would be Ks

            • Erik

              Said the guy posting from a dial-up connection in his mother’s basement….

              • steve (different one)

                this is completely inaccurate. we have DSL.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                Said the guy posting from a dial-up connection in his mother’s basement….

                …said the guy ridiculously pimping the utterly moronic “Let’s trade for Soriano” idea, likely also from his mother’s basement.

  • A.D.

    Come on guys, K-Rod obviously deserves it, after all its Mo’s fault whenever his team lost or blew a team out, thus not giving him the save opportunity… he only did it to himself….

    Same reason that Howard should be the NL MVP because his team made the playoffs…duh

  • Bill R

    K-Rod sucks, I watched him pitch out here in LA against the Yanks and his defense helped get him out of jams a lot. He was completely overrated and luck accounted for 50% of his saves!

  • jsbrendog

    mark loretta got 1 second place cy young vote.

  • jsbrendog

    ps, since mo is god he made people place their votes. so gracious is mo

  • radnom

    Mo: 64 G, 70.2 IP
    Krod: 76 G, 68.1 IP

    Why does “Pitcher B” have so few innings?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Because he supposedly can’t pitch more than one inning at a time.

      In fact, he had no outings of longer than 1 IP this season.

    • Chris C.

      Because pitcher B NEVER threw over an inning this season, and got 8 saves while pitching UNDER an inning. The Angels were actually seeking out save opportunities this year.

      They brought him into a ballgame this season with the score being 7-1 Angels, bases loaded, no outs in the 9th. He let all three runners score AND one of his own before getting three outs and the save.
      The final score was 7-5.
      Yeah, that’s a hell of a save.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        That’s actually not a save situation. You can’t get a save by creating your own save situation.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

          If you could, I’m sure Armando Benitez would have the career saves record by now.

        • Chris C.

          He didn’t create the situation. The men were already on base.
          So when he entered the game, their were three outs remaining, and the guy at the plate was within the criteria to pick up a save.

          It’s one of many stupid ways you can pick up a save.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

            No, actually, the guy at the plate in a 7-1 game with three outs remaining and the bases loaded isn’t within the criteria to pick up a save. That’s just wrong. If the tying run isn’t on deck, then it’s not save situation.

            Can you actually point to this game?

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

              The 2008 Angels had four games this season that they won 7-5:

              April 24 against the Sox,
              July 28 against the Red Sox,
              August 23 at the Twins,
              August 28 at the Rangers.

              Rodriguez pitched in all of them, and got the save in all of them. He gave up 2 runs, 1 run, no runs, and no runs, respectively. At no point did he allow 4 runs.

              In all four games, he entered at the start of the ninth inning and inherited no runners.

              http://www.baseball-reference......ched.shtml

              • Chris C.

                I may be wrong about the final score then.

                But I know there was a disparity between the runs the two teams had, and he let all inherited runners score, plus one of his own, and the Angels still won and he got the save.

                They were mocking it on SC.

              • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                Here’s the game you’re thinking of, Chris:

                http://www.baseball-reference......9180.shtml

                He entered a 6-1 game (not a 7-1 game) with the bases loaded and one out. He walked in the first run, gave up a groundout to third for the second run, and then a liner to center for the third run. He then induced a groundout for the final out of the game.

                He allowed 3 runs to score and yes, he got the save because it was a save situation (when he entered with a 5 run lead and the bases loaded, the tying run is on deck; that fits the rule).

                It was bad, but not as bad as you made it.

                • Murph1010

                  See I don’t get it. How is a 3 run game a save then? The tying run isn’t on deck?

                • Chris C.

                  Thanks Tommy.

                  I knew I may have been slightly off, but not nuts. They were definitly mocking that one on SC.

                  That’s pretty bad.

                • Chris C.

                  The point is, when the Angels are winning a ballgame 7-3, and there are two outs in the 9th and they have one of the top relievers in the game in Arandondo on the mound, they were not bringing in K-Rod because they thought the game was in perill. They were bringing him in to pad his save numbers.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

                  See I don’t get it. How is a 3 run game a save then? The tying run isn’t on deck?

                  It’s 6-1. The bases are loaded. Jack Cust is at the plate. Aaron Cunningham is on deck.

                  If Cust hits a grand slam there, it’s 6-5, and Cunningham comes up to the plate and he’s the tying run. Hence, the tying run is on deck.

                  five run lead + bases loaded = save situation. I agree, it’s pretty dumb, but there you have it.

      • Will (the other one)

        When did this happen? I’m only curious because I don’t see how that meets the criteria for a save in any way at all.

        • Will (the other one)

          Crap, Ben beat me to it. Never mind.

        • Chris C.

          I saw it on SportCenter. I don’t recall who the opponant was, but it was ridiculous.

          This one is just as bad…….against Seattle, they brought him into a 7-3 ballgame that the Angels led, two outs, runners on 1st and 3rd in the 9th. And they replaced Arrondando, who got into that jam becoase of an error.

          So he got one out to get the save while his team had a 4 run lead.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

            Ok. You’re backtracking a bit. But that 7-3 game is a legit save situation. That’s why he racked up 62 saves.

            • Chris C.

              Legit by the rule, but cheesy.

              Especially when there’s one out to go, and you’ve got the maybe the best set-up man in the game on the mound.

      • A.D.

        What they did do was bring him into games they were up by 3 with 2 outs in the 9th or where they were up 4 with the bases loaded… so there were some cheap ass saves

  • E-ROC

    If K-Rod even gets a first, second or third place vote for MVP, I’d laugh. That would be too ridiculous to get upset about so the only other option is to laugh.

    Carlos Delgado will no doubt win the NL MVP. If not him, Ryan Howard will win. If not him, Aramis Ramirez will win. Am I missing anybody? How about the Big Puma? Pujols has my vote.

    • jsbrendog

      CARLOS DELGADO!??!! in a previous post a month or so ago i did a comparison. david wright has better numbers in every category, EVERY, except hr. which they were 3 or 4 off. better aveg, obp, slugging, rbis, walks, less strikeouts, better defense, ETC ETC ETC

      no no no no

      • steve (different one)

        he’s going to get some votes though. probably a lot of votes.

        David Wright is starting to earn the (completely unfairly) stink of the “unclutch” label that A-Rod has been carrying for so long.

  • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

    Perhaps KRod winning the AL MVP will be enough to pull FireJoeMorgan back out of retirement.

    • Chris C.

      Yeah, I saw that. I love that site.
      Didn’t know it was around for 21 years.

      Maybe they’ll have an encore bashing, just in case that happens.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Didn’t know it was around for 21 years.

        It wasn’t. Shit, the internet itself has barely been around 21 years.

        You need a new sarcasmometer.

  • Ivan

    This why it’s important for the yanks to build a core base from within with Hughes, Joba and A-Jax and Montero.

    Adam (Columbus, OH): I think people have rapidly forgotten that the most significant portion of the Yankees run was based on homegrown players (Mo, Jeter, Posada, Williams) and some key lower tier free agents (Oneill, Brosius, Martinez) vs. buying all of the best free agents.

    Keith Law: (2:23 PM ET ) When they started spending more on big-ticket guys, they stopped winning WS … then pennants … and now the playoffs.

    Im just saying. It’s okay to sign FA but remember just’t don’t it recklessly and trade off significant young pieces.

    My bad for being off-topic.

    PS: Mo’s Up, K-Rod’s Down.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Adam (Columbus, OH): I think people have rapidly forgotten that the most significant portion of the Yankees run was based on homegrown players (Mo, Jeter, Posada, Williams) and some key lower tier free agents (Oneill, Brosius, Martinez) vs. buying all of the best free agents.

      Keith Law: (2:23 PM ET ) When they started spending more on big-ticket guys, they stopped winning WS … then pennants … and now the playoffs.

      The sad thing is, this is a gross misrepresentation of the actual true historical record, and I’m a bit shocked at Keith Law for not calling Adam out on that.

      We’ve been buying the elite big ticket free agents since, well, since forever. We bought the elite big ticket free agents before the title years, during the title years, and after the title years.

      This historical fallacy continues to be the death-knell of honest and meaningful discussion and evaluation of how best to construct our Yankee teams going foward.

  • Bo

    These are the same voters who voted for a non rookie for ROY.

    They are mostly morons.

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  • E-ROC

    Alfonso Soriano isn’t worth trading for.

  • Erik

    At this point, honestly, the only way I could see the Yankees getting in on Tex would be if the following happened:

    – Angels offer is a lowball. Say, 7 years / $120M. The Orioles offer is great, but they suck. As do the Nats.

    – Red Sox can’t find a trade partner for Mike Lowell, and barely kick the tires on Tex.

    – Boras begins to lose momentum on ‘bidding war for the ages’ for his 1B.

    – Economy keeps other teams out, no ‘mystery team’, as he likes to employ.

    – Approaches Yankees after X-Mas. Sees the Yankees have signed CC and Lowe, revamping the pitching. Plus with Swisher as a Super Sub/1B/CF back-up, feels the Yankees are perennial winners.

    – Yankees convince Tex to sign 5 year deal worth $125 mil. Making him a free agent before his 34th birthday. Allows him to seek another whopper of a deal.

    A lot needs to happen for this to pan out. Do I think it could?

    I put it at 25%. I give the Yankees a 25% chance, the field 75%.

    Thoughts, comments?

  • Chris C.

    “Trade Kennedy, Sanchez and Melky to the Cubs for Alfonso Soriano.”

    Don’t want Soriano.
    We’ve already added a big strikeout guy in Swisher. Posada strikes out alot. Arod strikes out alot. Gardner strikes out alot. Abreu, if he returns, strikes out alot, Cameron, if added, strikes out a ton, and Jeter and Damon strike out more than they should.

    There is certainly a correlation between a team that strikes out alot, and the fact that they’ve also stranded a ton of baserunners in scoring position with less than two outs all year.

    How many big strike-out guys do you want? You have to maintain at least a few guys you can count on to make contact in big spots. Soriano is NOT one of those guys.