Cy Young voting

By Jason Wojciechowski on November 14, 2007 at 9:13 PM

While the big Oakland news is that the A's will open the season against the Red Sox in Japan (and almost certainly have to face Dice-K and Hideki Okajima in front of hometown crowds -- can we bring back Keichi Yabu?), the news I found a little more shocking is that Dan Haren didn't receive even a single third-place vote in the AL Cy Young race. By VORP, he was the sixth-best pitcher in the AL, which certainly doesn't qualify him for a third-place vote, but Roy Halladay (9th), Erik Bedard (7th), and, shockingly, Justin Verlander (16th) all received third-place votes, so why not Haren? Haren was the only pitcher in the top seven in the AL who didn't receive a vote.

That said, Haren's grievance is but a minor complaint next to Fausto Carmona and Johan Santana's. Santana likely fell victim to "we've seen it before" syndrome, as he finished fifth in VORP and yet garnered just one third-place vote, the same that Halladay, Bedard, and Verlander got. Worst of all is what happened to Carmona. We can likely file this one under "He wasn't even the best pitcher on his own team" treatment, because, while by VORP, Carmona was second in the AL, just 1.2 runs behind Sabathia, the winner of the Cy Young and the best AL pitcher by VORP, he managed to pick up just one second-place vote and four third-place votes. Twenty-three writers left him off their ballot entirely.

This is inexplicable, especially since it's not like his mainstream stats masked his value: Carmona was second in the AL in ERA, 0.15 lower than Sabathia; and Carmona and Sabathia each had 19 wins, with Carmona taking one more loss. Carmona did have many fewer strikeouts and many more walks, but should that matter when we're purely talking about value in this season? Given Sabathia's tremendous K:BB ratio, he's certainly the better bet next year (see also Carmona's DIPS ERA, which approaches four, while Sabathia's sits comfortable around three). But the Cy Young isn't given for next year, it's given for last year. Sabathia was the right choice, but the complete ignorance of Carmona's accomplishments was misguided.