I was very happy to read this afternoon that Zack Greinke had won the AL Cy Young Award, which means, at least for one year, that the baseball writers voted for the best pitcher in the league, rather than the one with the most wins and/or the one on a winning team. They should be commended for making the right choice. Well, not all of them. Not Steve Kornacki of Booth Newspapers in Michigan.
Rather than voting for Greinke or Felix Hernandez (which would have been the wrong choice, but a defensible one), this clown voted for Justin Verlander and, in doing so, added himself to the list of embarassing “homer” voters that have marred the major award voting over the years.
Here are Greinke’s (25 first place votes) numbers: 16-8, 229.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 242 K, 6 CG, and a .230 BAA. Kansas City did not make the postseason.
Here are Hernandez’s (2 first place votes) numbers: 19-5, 238.2 IP, 2.49 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 217 K, 2 CG, and a .227 BAA. Seattle did not make the postseason.
Here are Verlander’s (Kornacki’s first place vote) numbers: 19-9, 240 IP, 3.45 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 269 K, 3 CG, and a .243 BAA. Detroit did not make the postseason.
If this were Highlights for Children, we’d ask, “Which of these doesn’t belong?”
By the way, Greinke’s ERA was the lowest in the AL since 2000, when Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mind-bender. But that doesn’t impress Kornacki. You know what does? Three more wins and 27 more strikeouts. Oh, and playing for his hometown Tigers.
I guess Kornacki thought that Verlander’s additional strikeouts and wins were a dealbreaker, despite the fact that he allowed 1.29 more earned runs per nine innings than Greinke.
Kornacki should be ashamed of himself and he should never be allowed to vote for another major MLB award again. Also, he should apologize to Greinke.
Kornacki has posted a feeble defense of his first place vote for Verlander. Here’s the key quote:
“Verlander received my first-place vote because nobody was tougher on the mound with the season on the line for his team.”
It’s really strange. I checked Verlander’s player page on Baseball-Reference and I didn’t see a stat category for toughness. It must be one of those newfangled sabermetric things.
Also, over Verlander’s final five starts (Sept. 14 – Oct. 4), when the Tigers were battling the Twins for the division crown, Verlander, despite going 3-1 over these starts, posted a 4.62 ERA and .280 BAA, which suggests that he was actually much worse when the team’s season was “on the line.” If Kornacki had spent five minutes looking at what actually happened, he would have realized how untenable his position was.
Kornacki also cites the fact that Verlander had more strikeouts this year than any AL pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000. He doesn’t mention ERA, though. I guess striking guys out is more valuable than preventing runs.