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PI’s MLB Awards Part II – The Aces

Posted by Jason A. Churchill on October 4, 2006

This wasn’t too tough at all. The American League Cy Young Award belongs in Minnesota, and should have never left for Los Angeles last Fall.

Johan Santana is among the elite pitchers to step on the field over the past few decades. He has yet to pile up the numbers, but he’s right there with the Randy Johnson’s and Pedro Martinez’s of the world. Perhaps only Roger Clemens is unreachable for Johan.

Santana led baseball in ERA (2.77), strikeouts (245), WHIP (1.00) and K/BB (5.21) in a year that nearly duplicated his 2005 output in every category – really, go look, it’s uncanny.

The voters will vote for Santana because he was 19-6 with that 2.77 ERA, or possibly his 245 whiffs, but none are the reason he should get it.

The 27-year-old went at least five innings in all 33 starts he made this year, going six or more in all but six. He pitched into the seventh frame in 23 outings and left with the lead 24 times.

The Twins won 27 games when Santana started, dropping just six. Of Santana’s 24 quality starts, 15 came versus teams that ended the year with better than a .500 record, including eight against playoff teams.

His fastball is a mid-90s heater with late life, tail and sink. His slider is among the best southpaw slide pieces in recent memory and his change is silly… truly silly. But his command is what makes him the best pitcher in baseball.

He walked 45 batters in 233 2/3 innings this season. He’s issued 92 walks in 465 1/3 innings over the past two. As one long time scout and personnel says about guys with control like this, “he can hit a fly’s ass from a 1000 yards,” and that makes Johan Santana the Albert Pujols of pitching.

Don’t forget, he pitches in a hitter’s park, but he’s proven to be as intelligent as he is talented. He’s figure out how to pitch in the homer dome.

Only nine of 24 home runs allowed were served up at home, and his ERA was more than a run better wearing the home whites.

He’s simply the best, and this should be his third straight Cy Young Award, if not for the ridiculous fact that the writers decide.

2006 American League Cy Young: Johan Santana, LHP – Minnesota Twins: 19-6, 2.77 ERA, 3.16 FIP,233 2/3 IP 245 K, 45 BB, .216 BAA

2. C.C. Sabathia, LHP – Cleveland Indians: 12-11, 3.22 ERA, 3.37 FIP, 192 2/3 IP, 172 K, 44 BB, .247 BAA

3. Roy Halladay, RHP – Toronto Blue Jays: 16-5, 3.19 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 220 IP, 132 K, 34 BB, .251 BAA

4. John Lackey, RHP – Los Angeles Angels: 13-11, 3.56 ERA, 3.41 FIP, 217 2/3 IP, 190 K, 72 BB, .246 BAA

5. Joe Nathan, RHP – Minnesota Twins: 7-0, 1.58 ERA, 68 1/3 IP, 95 K, 16 BB, .242 SLGA, 36-39 Sv, .158 BAA

Before someone wonders how Mariano Rivera made my top 5 MVP but not the Cy Young list, think about the difference in the two awards. One is about value, and I personally put more weight to players on contending teams, and the other is purely about the best… Nathan was better this year than Rivera, yet had less value to the Twins and their run, than Rivera did on that wretched Yankees staff.


In the National League, there isn’t much analysis needed to realize it’s a three-way race between Arizona right-hander Brandon Webb, Houston Astros righty Roy Oswalt and St. Louis Cardinals northpaw Chris Carpenter, although Bronson Arroyo had a fantastic season.Here’s the tale of the tape –

Webb – 3.10 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 235 IP, 178 K, 50 BB, .246 BAA, 15 HR

Carpenter – 3.09 ERA, 3.47 FIP, 221 2/3 IP, 184 K, 43 BB, .235 BAA, 21 HR

Oswalt – 2.98 ERA, 3.32 ERA, 220 2/3 IP, 166 K, 38 BB, .263 BAA, 18 HR

Why don’t you tell me who the winner should be, and present an arguement for your choice, and against the other two?

Best argument wins.

Rock on, people.

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22 Responses to “PI’s MLB Awards Part II – The Aces”

  1. Massimo Casorati said

    Difficult question: figures are very similar for the three.
    I personally would vote for Webb, for the main reason that even if he’s a groundouter he got results despite the poor defensive skills of his third base Chad Tracy. It’s a matter of solidariety to a less protected pitcher.

  2. Erik said

    Oswalt should win this one. Not only did he have the best ERA of the three, but he pitches in a shoebox. He only allowed 18 HR pitching in that ballpark.

  3. CMT said

    Webb.

    His groundball tendencies are just amazing. I love groundballs, so I’d vote for Webb.

    His GB/FB rate of 4.06(!) compared to Carpenter’s 2.04, Oswalt’s GB/FB rate of 1.39. It is just amazing, and plus he gets almost 6.82 SOs per 9 IP, which is a little better than Oswalt’s K rate of 6.77 (pretty much the same though), and about 0.65 Ks less than Carpenter’s K rate of 7.47. Still, I think his GB tendencies will beatout Carpenter’s extra Ks and Oswalt’s lesser BBs.

    Also, he pitched the most innings, being a durable & effective pitcher.

    Brandon Webb for Cy Young!

  4. cujo said

    Sleeper in NL

  5. cujo said

    Sleeper in NL Hoffman wins cy young and im surprised Wang from the yanks gets no love 19 wins 3.63 era 218 innings pitched yes he isnt a strikeout pitcher but these are great stats for a 2nd year guy.Im going with Hoffman because he broke the saves record and a 2.14 era and 51 saves it might be a heart choice but dont be schocked if he wins it.

  6. slim said

    Oswalt gets my vote too. That ballpark is brutal. Plus, Oswalt is the guy I’d rather have on my team.

  7. I expect it to be Oswalt. He has some solid inertia from previous performances, but he hasn’t won. Several writers might go for him over Carp just because they went with Carp last year.

  8. Oswalt.

    Webb has been inconsistent at times. Carpenter has not been nearly as good as he was last year.

    Oswalt was a major factor in the Astros late run and he’s the best NL pitcher.

    Hoffman is a nice sleeper; my top 5

    1. Oswalt
    2. Webb
    3. Carpenter
    4. Hoffman
    5. Smoltz

  9. killa3312 said

    I didn’t even realize how godly Nathan’s stats were until I saw them a second time. Wow.

  10. Goose said

    Yeah, he’s been even better than Putz. Even though JJ has the most K’s of all relievers in the AL.

  11. Wang just wasn’t as good as the others, but he certainly deserves to be mentioned. Love sinker ballers.

  12. I’m gonna go with Carpenter. I know the MVP is about value, not the Cy Young, but when it’s this close that’s what I look to. You have to consider that Carpenter is the only one of the 3 aces in the playoff. Also he carried his rotation a whole lot more (yes, I believe Arizona’s 2-5 is stonger than the Cards). Oswalt wasn’t even the best pitcher on his team, apparently there’s some dude named Clemens (who if he’d pitched all year would’ve won this award).

    Really though, I wouldn’t have a problem with any of the 3.

  13. marc w. said

    Webb.

    People giving Oswalt a lot of credit for his home park should look at the 2006 park factors here. Check it out – Chase field in Arizona is actually the most homer-happy ballpark in baseball, blowing Coors field out of the water. Houston just isn’t the same since Jose Lima left; its overall PF is 12th, compared to Chase’s 4th.
    Add in the fact that Webb gives up a far lower OPS (due to lower slugging), pitched more innings, pitched for a worse team, pitched less than 5 innings once (a meaningless october start), and pitched 8 or more innings *12 times* (compared to 9 for Santana and 7 for Oswalt), and I think this one’s easy. He was a workhorse for a team with a minor league bullpen, with a young offense pitching in one of the most hitter-friendly environments in baseball, and he was brilliant the entire year.
    easy choice.

    As for St. Louis having the better rotation, personally, I take Jeff Suppan over Miguel Batista, but you’re right – it goes south in hurry for both teams. Mark Mulder has a big name, but when you pitch so bad that your team needs to bring in Jeff Weaver to ‘stabilize the rotation’ – you’ve got problems. that said, check out all the no-name rookies and retreads the D-Backs had to use – Edgar (or was it Enrique?) Gonzales, Kevin ‘Freakin’ Jarvis. I understand the point about value as opposed to context-less stats, but everyone knows the Cards got to the playoffs on the back of Albert Pujols. Jason Marquis won 14 games despite an ERA over 6. Jeff Weaver came in and went 5-4. It just doesn’t take much pitching to win there.
    just my opinion… interesting discussion.

  14. SudsMcDuff said

    There’s a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now:

    Let’s pretend that the Minnesota Twins offer up Johan Santana for Felix Hernandez straight up, and after the trade Santana will agree to sign a 10 year/12 million per year contract extension.

    Knowing that Santana doesn’t throw a lot of breaking stuff and seems to be a low injury risk, do you make that trade? Remember, Santana is arguably the best pitcher in baseball right now.

  15. Goose said

    No, for two reasons.

    1. Money. Right now Felix is dirt cheap. Santana is not.

    2. Most importantly. Age. Felix is 20 and Santana is 27. Santana isn’t going to get much better, if at all. Felix is going to get ALOT better. He very well may end up being better than Santana.

  16. You do NOT make a Felix Hernandez for Johan Santana trade.

    While Felix Hernandez is still learning and isn’t the ace the Mariners need him to become yet, King Felix will be the King in a couple of seasons.

    Santana on the other hand is at the age when most pitcher’s peak. As Felix will get better, Santana will get worse — though it’s hard to imagine right now.

    The major concern with Felix is that he doesn’t throw out his arm and run into Tommy John-like issues. If he can stay away from that, he’ll have a great chance at being better than Santana.

    One other question…why would Twins GM Terry Ryan ever consider trading the best pitcher in baseball for a pitcher with a high-level future? Santana’s proven, Felix isn’t.

  17. Oh, and as Goose pointed out, the $$$ is something Bill Bavasi doesn’t have a lot to use of, so adding Santana (hypothetically) would take Matsuzaka and all your other high-priced offseason wishes out of the picture.

  18. That’s not true at all, however.

    Hypothetically, if the Twins wanted Felix for Santana, that move would NOT take the M’s out of the DM sweepstakes at all. It probably heightens the suits desire for him.

    Santana makes only 25 mil over the next two years, and they have always said they’d go above and beyond for the right guys. Well, if Johan and DM aren’t the right players, there i no such thing.

    Besides, trading Beltre or Sexson for prospects nets you the 12+ mil to fit Santana in without taking a single hit on the payroll as it is right now.

  19. Anyway…the Twins would never move Santana right now…not until his contract is nearing expiration and when/if he refuses to sign an extension.

    Speaking of Beltre and Sexson, there’s some rumors in Boston of Beltre (and cash) being acquired by the Red Sox for Craig Hansen and a mid-level prospect. Are those circulating in Seattle too, or is that another of those Red Sox Nation things? I’m guessing it’s the latter, because unless Beltre can play shortstop, there’s no way Mike Lowell is going to be moved over the way he played this year. Just curious, though…

    With the Yankees now gone, I like the A’s in the AL and the Mets in the NLCS over St. Louis or San Diego.

    What do you guys think?

  20. No, nothing like that being rumored out here, and it’s too early for anything of substance to start up anyhow.

    Hansen and a non ML-ready prospect isn’t getting Beltre, anyways. Not when the M’s could actually get more than that from the Giants and Dodgers, and still not have to send cash.

    Beltre was better at the plate – park adjusted – than every 3B in the American League with the exception of AROD, Crede (by a hair) and Glaus.

    Better than Lowell, Teahen, Chavez, Inge, Mora and Blalock.

    Beltre isn’t worth his contract, but he’s worth more than Hansen and a mid-level prospect, too.

    Hansen doesn’t do much for the M’s since they have Lowe and Soriano setting up one of the game’s best closers. And no, Hansen can’t start, and won’t start in the bigs. He only started games in the minors because Theo Epstein and co. wanted Hansen to “get innings and work on his stuff for multiple innings per outing.”

  21. marc w. said

    Craig Hansen? Seriously? Wow, that’s wishful thinking.
    But hey, as long as it’s going around, Raffy Soriano + Francisco Cruceta for Manny +some cash.

  22. Grant said

    Gotta go with Webb and its not particularly close in my opinion. All three of these pitchers have extremely similar stats except that Webb is an extreme groundballer and the other two are fly ball pitchers. Webb is the ultimate lots of K’s limited BBs and 3:1 GBs. As for who actually wins it will be the guy with the best W-L record and i believe that is Carpenter.

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