Predicting who will win major prizes in America’s Big Four sports is one of the country’s most popular pastimes. Often, arguments can be made for several different actors. This is why, several years ago, ESPN launched its Cy Young Predictor, an AI system that would take a pitcher’s stats and determine the likelihood of each pitcher receiving the Cy Young Award based on how voters voted in the past. It’s a flawless system… for 20 years ago, maybe.
Now the Cy Young Predictor is a shell of itself. He has of them firm as leaders of the American League. It’s crazy. A closer hasn’t won the Cy Young Award since the Los Angeles Dodgers, either Eric Gagné in 2003. Before that, it was Dennis Eckersley of Oakland in 1992. Relief pitchers haven’t even been in the top three for Cy Young to vote since. Francisco Rodriguez recorded 62 saves for the Angels in 2008. The man recorded 62 saves, and STILL only finished third. Liam Hendriks and Raisel Iglesias combined only have 65 backups.
I’m not trying to downplay the importance of a strong reconciliation. I am a Giants fan. They have not had stability in this position since Sergio Romo. However, it is clear that Cy Young voters now pay more attention and value to starting pitchers compared to their relieving counterparts. I know the American League’s Cy Young race is about as confusing as the Ohio River, but let’s not act like Gerrit Cole, Robbie Ray, Lance Lynn and Carlos Rodon don’t exist. According to the Cy Young Predictor, it shouldn’t even be a contest, Hendriks is 26.9 points more Cy Young than Iglesias and 34 points more than Cole, third. To put that in perspective, there is only a 25.4 point difference between Walker Buehler of Los Angeles (first place in the NL Cy Young Predictor) and Charlie Morton of Atlanta (tenth place).
A reliever who wins the Cy Young is like someone who isn’t in a quarterback position and wins the NFL MVP Award. Of course, it is possible, but the road is much more difficult. If a reliever has any chance of winning a Cy Young Award this year, I think it should be Mark Melancon from San Diego. In all fairness, he’s listed on the Cy Young Predictor as seventh in the NL, and that could still be too high for the league leader in terms of saves.
But the NL Cy Young Predictor still looks a lot better than the AL. Buehler is clearly the favorite, and Kevin Gausman could certainly finish in the top three. Personally I believe Corbin Burnes and Zack Wheeler should be much higher. Currently, the two have the second and fourth best chances of winning the award, respectively. But hey, I’ll let it go.
However, the AL Cy Young predictor is unrecoverable. I didn’t even understand that Toronto’s closest Jordan Romano, who has recorded just 17 saves all season, is in the top 10 contenders. By George, it’s just the worst thing I’ve seen all day! I know that backups aren’t everything in determining the value of a closer. Timeliness, the approximate factor, and a dozen other things also play a major role in determining a closer’s actual performance, but raw stats are clearly something voters always fall back on to determine the winners. , and Romano doesn’t have them.
Don’t listen to ESPN on this one. AL Cy Young is at stake for Gerrit Cole, Robbie Ray and Lance Lynn. A reliever will not win the prize. They won’t even come near. I love Hendriks and Iglesias. They’re two of the best in the business at what they do, but the Cy Young is a starting price, and that won’t change anytime soon.