Category Archives: Post-season awards

Felix vs. CC (vs. Price): Head-to-Head Park Factors and Other Miscellany

Well we’re almost in the post-season and we’ve got three very, very good pitchers, one of whom, though, is having a much better season than the other two.

CC Sabathia is getting some acknowledgment because of his wins. Quote Joe Morgan:

I think he’s always been in the race in my mind. I like what Felix Hernandez has done, but he has won only 12 games. People say that he doesn’t get support from his teamamtes, but guess what, every award is a team award. You can’t win the MVP without your teammates. Do we look at an MVP candidate and say his team didn’t give him a chance to drive in runs? The fact is that Felix has won 12 games and CC has won 20. It is harder to win in a championship environment in New York than in Felix’s situation. Just look at AJ Burnett this year. Felix has done a good job this year, but he’s not in the same difficulty level of pitching this year as CC.

Well ok then.

Let’s all take a second to remember how useless wins are as a stat for pitchers.

Good, you back now? Let’s continue.

There’s also this, which was an interesting reveal of ESPN fans’ minds.

The gist of stats is to see how good a player performed as an individual. The post-season awards are for individual awards. If you want a “best player on a good team award,” create it.

Frankly, yeah, 21 wins is a terrible reason to award the CYA. Here are those three pitchers and their respective stats. Guess which ones are which:

Player A: 249.2 innings, 2.27 ERA, 232 Ks, 70 BBs (3.31 K/BB), 3.06 FIP, 3.27 xFIP, 53.9 GB%
Player B: 237.2 innings, 3.18 ERA, 197 Ks, 74 BBs (2.66 K/BB), 3.55 FIP, 3.79 xFIP, 50.7 GB%
Player C: 207.2 innings, 2.73 ERA, 187 Ks, 79 BBs (2.37 K/BB), 3.44 FIP, 4.01 xFIP, 43.9 GB%

All three of them, interestingly enough, have a higher LOB% than their career rates by about 3-4%.

Player A seems like the easy winner for the Cy Young Award (that’d be Felix Hernandez). Player B (CC Sabathia) doesn’t have quite the stats or peripherals with 10 fewer innings and Player C (David Price) has almost 50 fewer innings.

Note that Felix easily has the best K-rate, BB-rate AND groundball-rate. That’s unbelievable.

But some detractors are saying “yada yada, AL East.”

If it were between CC and Price, I think I’d lean toward CC because of peripherals. That being said, let’s take a look at the comparison between facing the AL East and facing the AL West regularly.

CC Sabathia
34 games started
Average park factor: 101.4

Felix Hernandez
34 games started
Average park factor: 98.1

And then just for fun:

CC average pitches per inning: 15.1
Felix average pitches per inning: 14.9

So yes, Hernandez has had the benefit of better parks. Is that enough of a difference to account for AN EXTRA RUN per 9 innings? Hell no.

Felix’s ERA+ is still 174 while CC’s is 131.

Even if you count all runs, not just earned runs, Felix’ runs average is ~2.88. CC’s is ~3.49.

The difference between the line-ups that CC faced vs. the ones Felix faced are almost negligible. I want to go into further depth on the offenses of each team faced, but maybe another time. Long story short, people who bring up the AL EAST stuff forget that the AL East line-ups are significantly easier to face when you don’t have to face the Yankees. Alternatively, take out the awful Mariners’ line-up from the AL West, and it’s a much better offensive division. I don’t know how or why people consider divisions without considering a pitcher doesn’t have to face his own team.

With that in mind, it’s a pretty simple choice. Felix is a much better pitcher across the board, including line-ups, including park factors, including everything.

So there you have it. Felix is better. Hands down.

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Filed under Cy Young Award, MLB, Post-season awards