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NL Cy Young: Heating up early May 31, 2010

Posted by tomflesher in Baseball.
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There’s considerable debate, following Roy Halladay‘s perfect game, as to whether he or Ubaldo Jimenez should be considered the top contender for the National League’s Cy Young Award. Of course, it’s way too early to make those sorts of decisions, but let’s take a look at some of the data quickly.

Jimenez is sitting at 3.7 Wins Above Replacement and 38 Runs Above Replacement in 10 starts:

Year Age Tm Lg IP GS R Rrep Rdef aLI RAR WAR Salary
2010 26 COL NL 71.1 10 7 45 0 1.0 38 3.7 $1,250,000
5 Seasons 577.2 93 241 362 0 1.0 121 12.2 $2,392,000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2010.

Halladay has considerably less, with 22 RAR and 2.4 WAR:

Year Age Tm Lg IP GS R Rrep Rdef aLI RAR WAR Salary
2010 33 PHI NL 86.0 11 23 45 3 1.0 22 2.4 $15,750,000
13 Seasons 2132.2 298 893 1407 19 1.0 514 49.8 $88,991,666
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/31/2010.

Of course, 10 or 11 starts is far too small a sample to draw conclusions from this early in the season. Halladay has a perfect game; Jimenez has a no-hitter. Still, there’s no reason to believe that a perfect game, in and of itself, is enough to get Doc a Cy Young Award. After all, Mark Buehrle didn’t win the Cy last year, and Dallas Braden isn’t even in contention.

If both players keep pitching at or near this level, Halladay becomes a realistic contender, because at that point his marginal contribution may make the difference between whether the Phillies make the playoffs or not. As it stands right now, the NL East is entirely too volatile to make that decision.

(Incidentally, I love Baseball-Reference.com’s new stat sharing and player link tools!)

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