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 Trying to Vote for Dickey Over Kershaw 
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Post Trying to Vote for Dickey Over Kershaw
Later tonight, the National League Cy Young Award winner is going to be announced. My very own fake awards picks happen to be made public, and i'm sure everybody was happy to read them. The NL Cy Young gave me probably the most trouble. I finished up voting for that Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, but I really wanted to cast my non-ballot for that Mets R.A. Dickey.
Whats not to like about R.A. Dickey? He names his bats after fictional swords (only the master smiths of Gondolin could forge ammunition that allows a pitcher to rake towards the tune of a career 6 wRC+). He climbed Mount Kilimanjaro during the off-season to raise money to combat human trafficking. He is attempting to help others by sharing about being abused as as child. He writes childrens books. He bakes an awesome face while pitching. Best of all (strictly from a purely baseball perspective), he's a knuckleballer. Oh, yeah, he also had an incredible Nate Sudfeld Jersey season in 2012.
However, after i attempted to justify voting for Dickey over Kershaw, I just couldn't get it done. It wasn't for insufficient trying, though.
(I recognize that you could make Cy Young cases for other pitchers such as Gio Gonzalez or Johnny Cueto, but I am staying with players I think are the two best choices for the sake of simplicity.)
It might seem easy enough to look at the Wins Above Replacement leaderboard for NL pitchers and find out that Kershaw was worth 5.5 wins and Dickey at 4.6 wins in 2012. However, even for those of us who think that a DIPS-based value metric is, in general, the very best alternative, it's not that easy. In general is a qualification although I believe that FIP is generally much better than RA, it might not work as well in some particular cases. My view is that FIP (along with other DIPS metrics like xFIP, tRA, SIERA, and so forth) shouldn't be viewed as perfect in every case, but as provisionally better in most cases.
That sort of thing is discu sed in more detail in other places, so I want to focus on how it's relevant in this instance. While there are lots of elements about DIPS metrics that are widely debated, even DIPS firmer advocates acknowledge that it does not really work for knuckleballers. Metrics like FIP include a built-in a sumption that pitchers basically have a similar quantity of control over balls in play. We all know this is false, but generally, FIP is viewed Morgan Fox Jersey as doing better because that a sumption seems be nearer to the reality than the a sumption the contribution of balls in play to ERA reflects.
Knuckleballers historically have a lower BABIP than the league average, so they really are a clear exception. Knuckleballers are, to a certain extent, a population unto themselves. In short, it would be unfair to evaluate Dickey by something based on FIP. As you would expect Dickeys FIP is a superb 3.27, but his ERA is an better still 2.73. Adjusting for league average and park, those are 87 FIP- and 72 ERA-.
However, basing ones Cy Young vote for Dickey on ERA won't quite do the trick. (Dickey and Kershaw both pitched around 230 innings, so we don't have to worry about that factor.) Kershaw not only were built with a better FIP (2.89, 78 FIP-), however Terence Garvin Jersey a better ERA (2.53, 67 ERA-), too. To ensure that locks it up for Kershaw, right?
Not nece sarily. Check what was said above: FIP and other DIPS-based metrics might not be perfect or universally applicable, however they perform the work in many instances. When we should not use them for knuckleballers like Dickey, that does not nece sarily mean that we should not still use them for a non-knuckleball pitcher like Kershaw. In other words, maybe it's po sible to make Dickeys case by utilizing ERA for him, and FIP for Kershaw. That will seem to put Dickey (72 ERA-) just in front of Kershaw (78 FIP-). That might be close enough to visit in either case, but does provide the edge to Dickey.
Can we really justify rigging the comparison in that way? Maybe with a few non-knuckleballers, but probably not with Clayton Kershaw. We need to be cautious about using a single-season ERA as the go-to metric for many non-knuckeball pitchers, but Kershaw is not most pitchers. If he'd managed to outperform his FIP (that has just been utilized as a stand-in for DIPs metrics generally, going through all of them would have chose to make this post too much time) via his low BABIP this season, maybe Stephen Tulloch Jersey we're able to write it off on what Phil Birnbaum calls Bayesian grounds. I don't think we can. Lets compare the 2 pitchers.
As you might expect from a knuckleballer, Dickey is really a low-BABIP pitcher. From 2010 to 2012, his seasonal BABIPs are .276, .278, and .275, respectively. However check out Kershaws over the same seasons: .275, .269, .262. It goes back even more for Kershaw, in '09, his BABIP-against was .269. For his career like a profe sional, Kershaws BABIP is .275 in 944 innings exactly the same BABIP as Dickey this season. So while there is still uncertainty along with a margin of error with Kershaws true BABIP, there is a strong body of evidence that, despite not being a knuckleballer, Kershaw can be a low-BABIP pitcher whose contribution is not adequately captured by DIPS-metrics, either. So in this case, it would not be fair to make use of FIP to evaluate Kershaw and ERA to evaluate Tyler Ervin Jersey Dickey.
While I suppose there are more ways you could attempt to justify make an objective choice for Dickey over Kershaw, I simply don't view it working. I really tried. I even looked up the relative excellence of the hitters they faced, and that favored Kershaw, too. I will not insult your intelligence by making something from Dickey having six more pitcher wins (20) than Kershaw (14).
I will not be upset if R.A. Dickey wins the Cy Young this year. For reasons outlined at the beginning of this post, I personally would be happy for him. However i believe that Clayton Kershaw outpitched Dickey this year, and thus deserves the distinction more. Shucks.


Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:59 am
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