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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cy Young, the pitcher, won the most games: 511. How much should wins be considered for his award?

Cy Young:
Position: Pitcher
Bats: Right, Throws: Right
Height: 6' 2", Weight: 210 lb.
Born: March 29, 1867 in Gilmore, OH

Cy Young won 511 games, the most of any pitcher. Cy Young also lost the most: 316. Cy Young had the most career games started, games completed, innings, hits allowed, earned runs, batters faced. Cy Young pitched from 1890 to 1911.

The Cy Young award was first given out in 1956. It often has gone to the pitcher with the most wins in the season and usually to a pitcher with a lot of wins. If wins are close among candidates, then losses are considered. 21-7 looks better than 23-15. Cy Young led the league in wins five times; chronologically fewer as time rolled on: 36, 35, 33, 32, 28.

The 2016 Cy Young award winners:

National Conference (NC): Max Scherzer: 20-7; led in starts, innings, SO, WHIP (messy pitching version of on base average)

Scherzer led the AC in wins in 2013 and 2014. Scherzer won the AL CY award in 2013: 21-3. In 2014 Scherzer was 18-5.

American Conference: Rick Porcello: 22-4; led in SO/BB ratio.

So, despite the best efforts of Brian Kenny of MLB Network and people of his ilk to "kill the win", both winners led in wins. Scherzer, especially, seems like a worthy recipient for other reasons but Porcello is a bit more questionable.

Should wins be considered at all?

Or should voters simply use the formula they prefer, such as Wins Above Replacement (WAR)? Should the criteria be a total like WAR or wins or an average, such as ERA or ERA+? How esoteric should it be? Should the pitcher be judged on how hard batted balls are hit?

What would Cy Young make of all this? He has the second most WAR:

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