Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dice-K for Cy Young?

Sean McAdam on Dice-K's Cy Young chances: "There are guys who have won more games -- there's Mussina, there's Saunders, there's Lee, all of whom I think have to be thought of ahead of Dice-K -- but if he continues to pitch at this clip and ends up with 18 or 19 wins, and only maybe three or four losses, he has to be in the conversation." I'm inclined to disagree: Matsuzaka's certainly been a cornerstone of the 2008 rotation, but Cy Young front runner? It seems like a stretch.

Looking at the current AL leader boards, Dice-K isn't in the top ten for ERA, WHIP, innings pitched, K/9, strikeouts, ratio of strikeouts to walks, or - most telling of all - ERA+. He's third (after Cabrera and Burnett) in walks allowed. He's got the second best winning percentage and is tied for fourth in wins, but he gets 5.32 runs of support a game and for pitchers, wins are a meaningless statistic anyway. If we want to put a Red Sox on the short list, we should really be talking about Lester - ninth in ERA, six in innings pitched, fifth in games started, sixth in ERA+ - but even his numbers pale in comparison to better candidates. Really at this point, there shouldn't be much debate. Unless Cliff Lee (first in ERA, third in WHIP, first in BB/9, six in innings pitched, eighth in strikeouts, first in strikeouts to walks, first in ERA+) hits some sort of (pitching) brick wall in the next few weeks, there's no reason why he shouldn't win the award.