It was announced last night that Texas Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish is one of three finalists for this year’s American League Cy Young Award. That means he either finished second or third in the voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers finished with a 21-3 win-loss record, the sight of which likely caused the brains of the majority of voters to immediately end their deliberation as to which player is most deserving. Most of these voters are still old-school in their thinking and refuse to comprehend that a pitcher’s win-loss record has much more to do with whether he’s received solid run support from his team’s offense than it fairly represents the quality of his pitching.
Darvish finished with a win-loss mark of only 13-9, but Rangers hitters are largely to blame for that mediocre result, given that he took the loss in four games this season in which he surrendered only a single run. When your team scores zero runs it’s impossible to notch a win.
But neither should we believe that Darvish is being robbed of a prize that should rightfully be his just because the voters aren’t yet sophisticated enough to appreciate his performance. Even looking at more advanced metrics such as WAR (roughly: number of wins he was worth to his team) or FIP (a measure of what his ERA would be if it only factored in things within only his own control), Scherzer looks like a more deserving winner.
Still, congratulations to Darvish on a terrific season, in which he led the majors in strikeouts. Let’s hope Rangers bats offer him more help during the next go-round.
The Cy Young Award winners for 2014 will be announced on Tuesday.