>The MLB awards season finished this past Tuesday with the unsurprising NL MVP being St. Louis Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols. Here are some random stats to marvel in the greatness of El Hombre:

  • 9th season in the league and has yet to have less than .300 BA, 30 HR’s & 100 RBI’s. His career lows in those categories would be career highs for some people. (Just for the record, combining his worst stats in those categories would be a .314/32/103 season… that’s the worst he has done!)
  • 10th 3 time winner of the MVP
  • 10th back-to-back MVP winner
  • 15th unanimous MVP in baseball history (first since Bonds in 2002)
  • 3rd MVP award in the last 5 years
  • 2nd in MVP voting 3 times, 3rd once, and 4th once (You read that right, 9 seasons in the league, and Top 4 in the MVP voting 8 times.)
  • 4th most MVP votes of all time behind only Barry Bonds, Stan Musial and Ted Williams
  • Oh, and one more number… he’s only 29 years old.
Shifting gears from the season’s biggest no-brainer to the one award that made me wonder if people had any brains (NL Cy Young). Now, there’s no doubt that I am biased here, being a Cardinal fan; however, how in the world does Lincecum win the Cy Young over either Carpenter or Wainwright, let alone both?
Here’s your basic numbers:
Wainwright – 19-8, 2.63 ERA, 212 K’s, 233 IP in 34 G
Lincecum – 15-7, 2.48 ERA, 261 K’s, 225.1 IP in 32 G
Carpenter – 17-4, 2.24 ERA, 144 K’s, 192.2 IP in 28 G
Here’s what an average game would look like, based on those numbers:
Wainwright – 6.85IP, 2.04 ER, 6.24 K’s
Lincecum – 7.04IP, 1.93 ER, 8.15 K’s
Carpenter – 6.88IP, 1.74 ER, 5.14 K’s
All three of them are fairly even with the biggest difference being in the K’s category. Are strikeouts that much more important than wins or ERA? Carpenter and Wainwright both pitch in a system where the ground ball is emphasized, so naturally, they will strike out fewer batters. What we got here was a race between the leaders in ERA (Carpenter), Wins (Wainwright) and Strikeouts (Lincecum). Apparently, strikeouts are more important than wins or ERA.
Some stats on Wainwright’s season:
  • He allowed more than 3 earned runs 7 times in 34 starts; the Cardinals won five of those starts.
  • He allowed 2 earned runs or less in 26 of 34 starts; the Cardinals lost eight of those starts
  • He allowed 3 earned runs in one start; the Cardinals lost
  • He had 7 no-decisions this season; in only one did he allow more than 2 earned runs.
  • In a 12 start stretch during July and August, he pitched 88 innings and allowed 12 earned runs. That’s an ERA of 1.23 for 1/3rd of the season.
  • He also had 3 games of 10+ strikeouts.
How ’bout Carpenter:
  • Carp had 7 no-decisions this seasons, and in them, he pitched 46 innings and allowed 8 earned runs; that’s a 1.56 ERA in games where he didn’t get a decision.
  • In his 4 (yes, 4) loses, he pitched 25 innings and allowed 19 earned runs (that’s an ERA of 6.84) . That means, in the other 24 games (and 167.2 innings) that he pitched, he only allowed 29 earned runs. Let that sink in for a minute… it’s a 1.55 ERA for 24 games.
  • He also had 3 games of 10+ strikeouts.
And Lincecum:
  • He had 5 starts out of 32 where he allowed more than 3 earned runs, and the Giants won one of those games.
  • In his 10 no-decisions, he pitched 65 innings and allowed 24 earned runs. That’s an ERA of 3.32.
  • The Giants were 14-7 when he allowed 2 runs or less; he had a no-decision in 6 of those games.
  • In his 7 loses, he allowed 23 earned runs (for an ERA of 4.77), in the other 25 games (and 182 innings), he allowed 39 earned runs for an ERA of 1.92.
  • He also had 8 games of 10+ strikeouts.
Just for fun, what would their records have been if they had 3 runs of support in every game:
(3 ER allowed = L)
Wainwright: 26-7, with 1 no-decision
Carpenter: 20-3, with 5 no decisions
Lincecum: 21-4, with 7 no decisions
It was certainly a tight race, and all three candidates were deserving in some respect. I just really feel like Lincecum got it because of his strikeout numbers, which is bogus. Carpenter and Wainwright pitch in a “to contact” philosophy that does a fantastic job of getting people to hit into double plays, not overwhelm them with a strikeout.
(“Where’s the proof?” you ask. Carpenter induced 23 DPs, Wainwright 18, Pineiro led the league with 29, and even Wellemeyer induced 20; that’s 4 Cardinals in the top 20 in the league. Lincecum induced 9 DPs, and the top Giants pitcher was Zito with 19, then a reliever. To get the top 4 Giants pitchers, you have to get all the way down to #70 in the league.)
I still think that a Cardinal should have brought home the hardware… but I’m biased.
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