Tuesday, September 29, 2009

23 comments Wins Are Not A Good Indicator

I was going to do a post on Ron Gardenhire that was posted by Jeff Passan over at yahoo, but then I found this over on Rob Neyers blog. Its an article about how wins are a useful statistic and can show how good a pitcher is. The author seems to be a very smart and sabermetric type guy, so I'm curious as to why he would write something like this. Wins, by all accounts, are a terrible measure for evaluating pitchers. As Dak points out in the glossary of the now shut down Fire Joe Morgan site "The reason being – and again, you know this, intuitively, even if you have never quite expressed it to yourself – if Carl Pavano gives up nineteen runs in five innings but the Yankees score 20 runs, and they hold on to win, and Pavano gets the win, is Pavano a good pitcher? No he is not. (This scenario is assuming he ever comes back and actually pitches, btw.) If Francisco Liriano throws 9 innings of no-hit ball, but gives up a run on four consecutive errors by Terry Tiffey and gets a loss, is Francisco Liriano a bad pitcher? No he is not". I think that about sums it up. I can remember being a kid and looking at the back of a 1990 Nolan Ryan card and seeing he didnt have a great winning percentage and thinking something didnt seem right because everyone thought of Nolan at the time as one of the greatest pitchers, so I was confused as to why he didnt have that great of a record. As Dak said, I knew intuitively that this didnt see right, but that was the common thought at the time: "Wins are all that matter". The author, who goes by the handle "The Professor", has multiple tables that supposedly back up his claims but, I'm going to do my best to go through and hopefully refute said claims. Now, enough with my Bengoodfella ramblings (Zing) and onto the article at hand.

How many times have you seen it written or heard somebody say:

“Wins is a useless way to evaluate a starting pitcher”

We have heard it so many times, that we have started wondering why we still track Wins for pitchers.

Exactly. Why do we keep using wins as a measure for pitchers? I can see it being a useful stat back when pitchers completed all their games (and even then you had to depend on your team to score runs), but there are so many variables that go into a W nowadays, such as: The Lineup, defense, and perhaps most importantly, the bullpen.

But does this mean Wins is a completely useless statistic? Over time, shouldn’t a a good pitcher win more games than a bad pitcher, regardless of other factors?

To answer your first question: yes. Yes, it does. As for the second question: All you have to do is look at Bert Blyleven's Baseball Reference page
and look at his 1973 season to see that, yes indeed, Bert got hosed. I mean, his ERA was 2.52, he struck out over 250 batters, and yet he still only had a 20-17 record. Do you know who led the league in wins that year? Wilbur Wood and his ERA of 3.46, almost a full run higher than Bert's. Joe Coleman had 23 with a 3.53 ERA, Jim Palmer had 22 with a 2.40 ERA, Catfish Hunter had 21 with a 3.34ERA, and Ken Holtzman had 21 and a 2.97ERA. So really, out of all those pitchers with more wins, only Palmer had an ERA better than Bert, but Bert had 100 more strikeouts which makes him even better. Not to mention Palmer had the far superior defense behind him with Robinson, Powell, Belanger, and Grich.

To answer this question, we looked at every pitcher over the last four seasons (2006-2009) with at least 600 innings pitched (150ip/season). We then removed anybody that had more than 10% of their appearances in relief. We ended up with a list of 51 pitchers. We tallied up their wins (as a starting pitcher) in those four seasons and compared it to their ERA+*.

He then follows up with a chart that supposedly backs up his claims. Well, I'm going to play his game, so here is the wins leaders from those 4 years with their ERA's.

2006 NL: Aaron Harang 16W 3.76ERA
Derek Lowe 16W 3.63ERA
Brad Penny 16W 4.33ERA
John Smoltz 16W 3.49ERA
Brandon Webb 16W 3.10ERA
Big Z 16W 3.41ERA

2006 NL ERA Leader: Roy Oswalt 2.98 ERA amd 15 Wins

2006 AL: Johan Santana 19W 2.77ERA
Chien Ming Wang 19W 3.63 ERA

2007 NL Jake Peavy 19W 2.54ERA
AL Josh Beckett 20W 3.27ERA

Ok, you know what, I'm getting lazy with this, but basically there are a lot of good pitchers that had great numbers but not a lot of wins. I mean, Aaron Harang--AARAON HARANG--was your 2006 leader in wins, so that right there should tell you all you need to know about the usefulness of wins.

What we see is a very clear trend. As a pitcher’s ERA+ goes up (bigger values are better, 100 is average), their win total goes up. Are there exceptions? Of course. Every statistic has exceptions. But even in the face of contradictions, we still see a very strong correlation

You know what else correlates strongly? Deeeeez Nuuts!! Yeah, what now, Professor? (Fred Trigger high fiving himself) Exceptions, like Aaron Harang?(sorry I just cant get over that he lead the NL in wins that year. That alone closes the door on Wins being useful. Harang is certainly a fine pitcher, but I wouldnt consider him elite by any means) Chien ming Wang had the same amount of wins that Johan Santana did, would you rather have him instead of Johan? Cole Hamels had less wins then Jeff Francis, who would you rather have?

Of course, a pitcher’s win total will be affected by the number of starts they make.

Is that all a pitchers win total will be affected by? Not how many runs his team scores? What about if every position player behind him is David Eckstein? Hes fucked then. How about if he goes 8 innings, gives up 0 runs, and his closer gives up 10 runs in the 9th to lose the game? What about that, professor? WHAT ABOUT THAT?!?!??!?!?!

The problem with Wins as an evaluator of starting pitchers is not that it is bad statistic.

Yes it is. I remain unconvinced by the charts you have shown me.

It is simply a matter of sample size. In a single game, a win or no win is not a good indicator. Why? Small sample size.

I want you all to remember this.

Can we use Wins to evaluate a pitcher over the course of one season? Maybe.

Really? REALLY? Your going to talk about sample size and then say that one season worth of wins is a good indicator. Again, REALLY? Hey how about that Fausto Carmona? You know, won 19 games back in 2007, so he really must be a great pitcher because of his 1 season worth of high wins and is surely on the fast track to the hall of fame. Wait.....whats that? He never really regained that form? But what about that year he had 19 wins?

To be fair he does go onto say in the next sentence that it still is a relatively small sample size, but that does not excuse the fact that he even insinuated that you can evaluate a pitcher with one seasons worth of wins.

But we can be relatively certain that an 18-game winner is better than a 5-game winner (with similar number of starts).

Can we be so sure? Lets take a look at the 2005 Cy Young award, shall we?

Chris Carpenter: GS 33, W 21, ERA 2.83
Dontrelle Willis: GS 34, W 22, ERA 2.63
Roger Clemens: GS 32, W 13, ERA 1.87

Yeah, I would sure take those 21 and 22 game winners over the guy who won 13, started just as many games and had an ERA almost a full fun below them. I actually remember this year very well because I was in school at Petaluma, CA and I remember there was a long period where Clemens just couldnt win a game because either A) his team didnt score enough runs or B) his bullpen blew the lead. Again, this is why wins are dumb. The same thing was true with the 2004 Cy Young voting where Johan Santana got robbed by Bartolo Colon and he even finished behind Mariano Rivera, who had a great year but pitched about 150 less innings. Speaking of which, they really need to make a seperate cy young for relief pitchers, and not that rolaids award. No one pays attention to that.

The other variables should be less of a factor in that case. However, when comparing two pitchers with a similar number of wins, those other factors (team defense, scoring, ballpark, etc.) become much more important.

What the fuck, Dude! "Yes, wins are important and tell you something. No, you have to take other factors into account." Which is it? That was some insane flip flopping there.

The problem with this post, is that taking a pro-Wins stance leads some to believe that we are anti-other stats. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Stats like ERA+, FIP and tRA are still better measures of how good a pitcher is (although we have minor quibbles with each). However, that does not mean Wins is a useless category. Nor does it mean there are 95 better ways to evaluate a pitcher.

Yes, it does mean there are 95 better ways to evaluate a pitcher. Well, maybe not 95, but at least 20.

In fact, in the absence of other stats, Wins is a very good, if not great, indicator of a pitcher’s value.

So.....if the other stats dont exist, wins are a good measure? Did I read that right? I'm pretty sure he just said that the only way wins are a good indicator are if the other stats didnt exist. Did everyone else read that the same way?

So next time you hear somebody say Wins is a crappy way to evaluate a pitcher, throw a drink in their face and then make them read this post.

Yeah, I'll direct them to this post where the author doesnt really convince me that wins are a good indicator. If I said wins are a crappy way to evaluate a pitcher and someone threw a drink at my face, I'm pretty sure I would be knuckling up with said person.

I dont get it. This guys seems to be a stat guy. He throws out ERA+, FIPS, he even has a chart with all his information. I just dont understand why he felt the need to try and defend pitchers wins.

You know whats really funny about all this. That THIS VERY YEAR the best pitcher in the league doesnt have the most wins. Actually the second best pitcher doesnt have the most wins, either. I think you all know I am talking about Greinke and Hernandez. So, I guess these might be the exceptions he is talking about. Whatever, this article is dumb.


Bengoodfella said...

First off, I didn't appreciate the zing. I can ramble, it's part of what I do and people like/hate it. I think that is my punishment for emailing you and asking if you were still posting today. Just for that, I have added a Rob Neyer tag to your post. That should punish you. Consider us both punished.

I hate wins. I hate, hate, hate wins. I read that sentence the exact same way you did. If there was never another good indicator of a pitcher's ability, then wins would be a good category. Just like in the absence of other batting stats "pitches swung at" would be the best statistic in the history of baseball.

I think Rob Neyer knows he is wrong. He has to, especially since he contradicts himself in the article when he says there are other measurements that determine a pitcher's effectiveness.

What kills me is when columnists write using examples that are off the wall. For example, he compares a 19 game winner and a 5 game winner, saying, "its pretty obvious the wins determine which pitcher is better." Well yeah, it does but what happens when it is a 16 game winner and a 19 game winner.

I don't think wins should be completely eliminated, only because that is a battle I will never win, but they don't even come close to showing how good a pitcher is. Your examples are great Fred in showing how wins are so overrated. If you have no offense or defense then wins in no way show good a pitcher is.

I am going to be a homer and say Jair Jurrjens and Javy Vasquez have been really screwed this year because they consistently pitch well but got little run support.

Joe Morgan likes to say, "If a pitcher loses 1-0, then that means he didn't pitch as well as the other pitcher." I want to smack him in the face with a slab of beef. NO, NO, NO...incredibly, incredibly wrong. Wins must go!

Fred Trigger said...

I consider us both punished. Just to clarify: It wasnt rob neyer who wrote that, it was an article he linked to in his Monday Mendozas blog post. I should've explained that in the post.

KentAllard said...

Wins were probably a decent stat back when a pitcher finished the games he started unless both arms fell off, everyone used a four (or three!) man rotation, men were men, etc., etc., though not the best even then. It's peculiar that people who are supposed experts on the game don't recognize that the game has changed over the last century.

I don't follow baseball as closely anymore, but I don't think there is any sport more hidebound, more a slave to anecdotal knowledge than it is. If Mumps Grumble, your grand-dad's Rookie League coach, told him it was smart baseball to always bunt when there was a runner on second and nobody out, then when you are 60 and a sportswriter, you repeat it as if it were gospel. Even when I obsessively followed baseball, I found its announcers difficult to take (Atlanta's announcers in the 80s are why I don't care too much for the Braves today, which makes no sense, I realize).

Bengoodfella said...

It doesn't matter. We now have a Rob Neyer tag I guess. Upon reading again, you made it fairly clear.

Kent, that is very true. The win was a good stat back in the day when pitchers pitched all day, every day because relievers were not so much in play.

Baseball loves its history and loves to use old stats to determine things pertaining to baseball. It's crazy. Any time there are no stats used, the old timers just absolutely hate it and refuse to yield any middle ground. Quality starts for me are a better measurement of how a pitcher pitches than wins and I don't even like quality starts that much.

Most of the knowledge passed on in baseball hasn't really evolved all that much. Bunting is still a great thing and we still use old stats. Even newer stats like "saves" are a piece of shit stat that no one wants to let go of.

Not a fan of Skip Caray and the gang huh? I can barely remember who was doing the games in the 80's but I would guess a Caray was prominently involved. I like the Braves announcers now, especially Sciambi. He's calls a great game in my mind and isn't a total homer.

Chris W said...

Over a career I think wins are a valuable way to measure a pitcher. There are very few superstar pitchers who spend their whole career pitching for shitty teams--these things tend to even themselves out, and when they don't (i.e. Whitey Ford) everyone knows it anyway. It's not like

a.) Anyone thinks Whitey Ford's one of the greatest pitchers ever just because he has a great winning pct

b.) A supposed "hard luck" pitcher like Blyleven isn't going to spend about as many years with great teams as with bad teams.

Does that mean that career wins should be a be all and end all stat? God no. Blyleven should be in the HOF. But he should be in there DESPITE his winning pct and W total, not "because wins are meaningless."

Wins measure something totally valid: how many times when you were on the mound your team won a game. Do you have complete control over that? Absolutely not. But you don't have complete control over ERA either--Bill James constantly says "70% of what we think of as pitching is actually defense." Do you have complete control over strikeouts and walks? No not at all--there's an umpire and a batter you're depending on.

Are career win totals a great stat? No not at all. Are they even a "good" stat? Maybe not. But those who think they skew toward meaningless? I have to disagree. A pitcher's job is first and foremost to prevent runs, but the reason that's their first and foremost job is because the ultimate team goal when they take the mound is to win. And wins measure at least part of that.

OTOH I feel exactly the opposite about SEASON w/l totals in terms of comparing pitchers. It's absolutely asinine to compare random win stats that are run support independent over a 30 start sample. Completely asinine. It's so easy for a CYA voter to look at Greinke's actual game log for losses and see he didn't pitch badly in each one of them that it's ridiculous that they wouldn't.

Over a career though, I'm not gonna have sympathy. Greinke will be able to choose his team in about 2 years and he can choose whatever team he wants to play for and odds are they're going to be nearly as good as the Royals are bad. Over a career these things even out.

Bengoodfella said...

Interesting idea Chris to separate wins over a career with wins in a season. I think I could agree with you that wins over a career can help determine a pitcher's worth a lot more than wins over a season or two, simply because a pitcher will most likely play for different teams over his career so it is a better sample of how he pitched.

My undying urge to get rid of wins as a statistic may not serve as a great a purpose in the long run since the larger sample size and different teams the pitcher plays for would cause things to even out a little bit more. I still hate the stat in the short term and wish it could go away. I see the reasoning for it though.

My biggest problem with wins lies in when people use it in the short term to compare pitchers for the Cy Young or another award, I don't know if I do hate it as much in the long term for the reasons you stated. I hadn't even thought of wins over a pitcher's career actually. Again, when used in the short term to compare pitchers in a given year or even over 2-3 years I don't know how much relevance it has to show me how great a pitcher is. It gives me an idea but I think using wins combined with other statistics gives a more accurate picture...and not many "old time" baseball guys are willing to use the other statistics to compare pitchers.

In a couple of years when Greinke signs with the Yankees, Red Sox or Dodgers I think we are going to see a better sign of his truth worth. The same thing goes for Felix Hernandez. I think he is going to look good in Boston and will finally get some run support.

You make good points Chris and I think before I rant about wins I need to think more about what is says about a pitcher's career, but I don't think I would ever change my mind when using wins for a season or two.

Jeff said...

The author's only point seems to be that pitchers with a better ERA+ tend to win more games and he seems very proud of his results. It doesn't make sense to me. Of course pitchers who give up less runs, on average, will win more games.

AJ said...

"Wins measure something totally valid: how many times when you were on the mound your team won a game."

I disagree here...wins do not measure that at all. They measure if you completed 5 innings, left with a lead, and your bullpen held on to your lead. There are tons of factors that go into a win.

What if a pitcher started 30 games, had a record of 8-7 with an ERA of 1.50. Does his win total really show when he was on the mound how many times his team won? What if those other 15 games that do not show up on his record the team actually won...shouldn't his win-loss be 23-7 then?

Is it that starting pitchers fault that the bullpen gave up 15 runs in the bottom of the 9th? This is why the most important stat is ERA, because the pitcher himself controls that (well at least the majority of it, I understand there are still very small factors like strike zones and what not that could factor in).

Bengoodfella said...

I just completed a study that says teams who give up more runs on average than they score in a game on average tend to lose more games. I am also proud of my results.

I think the article was supposed to show the importance of wins, which he sort of undermines by saying wins can be used in the absence of other statistics.

Bengoodfella said...

Wins are complicated and I think we have show that here. Obviously no statistic is going to be perfect. I guess wins does tell you how many times your team won the game while you were on the mound, at least for a period of time you were on the mound, but I don't think it is a good indicator whether you were personally responsible for the team winning while you were on the mound.

I guess that is what annoys me a little bit about a win, is that for starters there is a higher standard for a win then there is for a reliever.

Example: Bob Franks pitches 6 innings of 3 hit ball leaving with a 1-0 lead. Justin Thomas relieves him the next inning and gives up two runs. In the next inning the team scores 2 runs making the score 3-2 and the score stays like that for the rest of the game. Justin Thomas gets the win because he pitched one inning, yet pitched poorly, but Bob Franks pitched the majority of the game well and will get a no decision. That annoys me.

Another example of a higher standard is that a starting pitcher has to pitch 5 innings and have his team be winning when he leaves the game to get a win. A reliever just has to be on the mound when his team takes the lead. This is all anecdotal evidence but I see a lot of holes in the measurement of the win. It gives a decent idea of if your team won while you were on the mound but it doesn't tell the whole story.

Chris acknowledged you don't have control over that, which is true, which is why I think wins are best used to compare players over a career rather than over a shorter span like a season or two.

At it's core, a win is supposed to measure how many times your team won while you were on the mound, but like the example you just showed it doesn't always do it effectively.

Chris W said...

I disagree here...wins do not measure that at all. They measure if you completed 5 innings, left with a lead, and your bullpen held on to your lead. There are tons of factors that go into a win."

Ok, but you can't "earn" a win if your team doesn't win the game. So for every win a pitcher has, that means his team won the game in question.

Just saying.

Chris W said...

"What if a pitcher started 30 games, had a record of 8-7 with an ERA of 1.50. Does his win total really show when he was on the mound how many times his team won? What if those other 15 games that do not show up on his record the team actually won...shouldn't his win-loss be 23-7 then? "

Also, I'm talking about over a career. My point is that if a guy has 300 wins, that's not something to be taken lightly. That means that at the very least, 300 times the pitcher took the mound his team won. If you'll read my post, you'll see that I'm not saying a guy who went 6-8 over a season isn't valuable. I'm not even saying that it's the best measurement over a career.

Just saying that the very best thing a team is hoping for when their pitcher takes the mound is a win. Wins, at least partly, measure that. And over an entire career, "hard luck" for pitchers tends to even out.

AJ said...

I agree, over the course of a career everything tends to even out. I see what you are saying, if you just look at the pitchers career numbers, wins do tell you a lot.

I think what you are saying is that a pitcher could have a great year in wins, say he is 25-3, but have a horrible ERA...like 5.01. he clearly won all those games from run support and a lot of luck. Over the long run things will even out...meaning this guy will never have many career wins even though he had that one huge year...beacuse based on his ERA, he'll most likely not be a quality starter for a lot of years, and will be replaced before he even gets to a good career win total.

Chris W said...

I am totally with you that when trying to decide who should win the CYA, wins should be about the last thing you look at (if you look at them at all).

Is 20 wins important? Sure. It's great if your team wins 20 or more games when you take the mound. But a season's so short and flukey, and it's just so easy to look at a guy like Greinke and Felix's actual start by start performance and see that they were doing everything they possibly could to help their team win--more so than Verlander and Sabathia--that it's almost worthless to look at wins in terms of comparing how good a season two pitchers on two different (or even the same) teams had.

AJ said...

Completely agree, seasons are way to fluky when it comes to win totals...over a career it is not though.

If Grinke doesn't win the CYA this year with every 1st place vote, then I think we can all agree some idiot placed wins as a deciding factor (or the name of the team on their jersey).

Bengoodfella said...

I feel like we have accomplished something today. Win stink in the short term, to compare pitchers solely on wins in the short term is a useless and most often misleading exercise. Comparing wins in the short term may be a more accurate picture of the pitcher's value because the team will either (a) get better/worse or (b) the pitcher will switch teams at some point in his career.

Can we all agree Greinke deserves the Cy Young and there is really no logical way to vote for Sabathia even if he throws 3 straight shut outs in the playoffs? Maybe?

KentAllard said...

Yes, the announcing team I was thinking of was Skip Carey and Pete van Wieren. Carey could have been okay, but he would spend half the game bitching about how long it was. Since his job was to attend baseball games, it seemed excessive. Van Wieren was an insane homer, and every player on the Braves was better than every other player. Two of his classics that I recall: "No one will ever convince me that there has ever been a better up-the-middle combination than Ramirez and Hubbard" and "In 20 years, people will be debating whther Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays were as good as Brad Komminsk."

I realize it's unfair to the players involved, but after a while you get used to rooting for them to fail to prove the guy wrong. To be fair, all of my friends who were Braves fans hated their announcers in those days, too.

Also, the radio announcing team when I was a kid was Marty Brennamen and Joe Nuxhall, and I realize if you weren't a Reds fan, listening to Nuxhall was probably like taking a power drill to your head.

The Professor said...

I am not going to nitpick everything you write, but here are a couple of points in my defense.

The statement by DAK at FJM is absolutely correct, but it is addressed in my post. He is referring to a sample size of 1. 1 game. Win or no win. It is not very often that a sample size of 1 is very indicative of anything. My contention is that, IN GENERAL, those crazy occasional statlines tend to even themselves out.

2. "In fact, in the absence of other stats, Wins is a very good, if not great, indicator of a pitcher’s value."

What I am saying here (and maybe it is poorly worded), is that Wins don't need other stats to be useful. They can paint a decent (NOT GREAT) picture by themselves.

Listen, I am not claiming Wins is a great stat. I wouldn't ever use Wins to put together a baseball team or even decide the Cy Young. BUT, Wins is not a flawed as some seem to believe, especially over time when a certain sample size has been built.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks for responding. I think we ended up agreeing here that wins over a period of time, like a player's entire career, does actually mean something in the context of comparing that player to other players. For the short term a win only gives the person looking at the statistic a small picture of how well that player pitched.

Wins by themselves paint a great picture of a pitcher over the long term, but in the short term they can be suspect.

The problem I am seeing is that there are some people, even those who get a vote for the Cy Young, who use wins as a measurement of how well a pitcher pitched in a certain year and whether he deserves the CYA when compared to another pitcher.

Chris W, commented pretty much exactly what the last sentence in your comments stated, that wins over a long period of time are significant, but in the short term it is just a decent stat to use. Unfortunately I think many "experts" use wins in the short term to prove a point.

Fred Trigger said...

how do these guys keep finding our website? First Cliff Corcoran, then Jeff Pearlman, and now The Professor. Do they all google their names and our website comes up? I'm genuinely curious.

The Professor said...

Fred, my website tells me when somebody else links to it.

Ben, I would certainly hope that Wins would never be the only or even a major factor into a Cy Young vote. I think the writers have gotten better about that. That being said, I would not begrudge a writer who said, for example, that he would only vote for a pitcher if he had at least 14 wins. So he narrows the field down to 14-game winners and THEN looks at other stats. Is it too much to ask that the best pitcher win at least half his starts, even on a bad team?

Take an extreme example that would never happen. Let's say a pitcher has 30 starts, and has a 1.50 FIP and pitches lights out all year. But his offense is so horrible that he loses about fifteen 1-0 ballgames and finishes the year 4-25. Would you give him the Cy Young award? Maybe you would. I don't know if I could.

AJ said...

What if those 4 starts are all no hitters...and the 26 loses are all 1 hitters? I would have to give him the CYA no questions asked.

Of course this is extreme and would never happen, but the point should remain that there should be no cut off for wins when figuring out a CY winner...

If that was the case, why to closers get the award?

Bengoodfella said...

I don't want Cliff Corcoran to ever find this site again. He tore me a new one and rightfully so. That was the moment I learned to be a little bit more careful about what I type and it's ok to discuss the article and what you disagree with, but silly nicknames are not cool.

The writers have gotten better about not letting wins affect the Cy Young voting, but I think someone like Joe Morgan scares me when he states in a chat that Adam Wainwright should be the Cy Young Award winner in the NL because he has more wins and will have more innings pitched. Of course when compared to Chris Carpenter, that could be a more valid reason, but not necessarily when compared to Tim Lincecum.

I wouldn't have a huge problem with a writer who narrowed it down to guys who had 14 or more wins...depending on how many wins the league leader had. For example, if the league leader didn't have but 16 or 17 wins then I may want the cut off to not exist. I see what you are saying in that respect.

I love extreme examples. I don't know if I could give a guy who went 4-25 the CYA because I would fully expect him to demand a trade by July and therefore he should have a few more wins racked up in August/September.

I don't know if I could vote for a guy with a 4-25 record but in a less extreme example if a guy had went 13-10 with a FIP of 1.50, a 0.98 WHIP and 2.25 ERA (depending on the other pitcher's stats of course) I think I could vote for that person to be the CYA winner.

AJ, if those 4 starts were no hitters the Yankees, Dodgers, or Red Sox would have traded for that pitcher before the end of the season. I am kidding of course, but I think a wins cut off has to be relative to the win totals in the league that year.

Also, I don't know if relievers should get the CYA or not. Mostly because I don't know how much I love the "save" statistic either (that's a different discussion) and that is usually when a closer is in the game...for save opportunities.