Started browsing through my new baseball book “The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers” and noticed Matt’s blog entry on Clemens and his slim chances of winning the Cy Young Award due to his low win totals as a result of poor run support from his fellow Astros. Found that the book contained an article by Bill James where he puts forth a formula which attempts to predict the Cy Young Award Voting, and he gets pretty good results from seasons past. The formula is as follows:

Wins times 6
minus Losses times 2
plus Strikeouts divided by 12
plus Saves times 2.5
plus Shutouts
plus Runs Saved ( runs not allowed by the pitcher, compared to a pitcher with a 5.00 ERA ((5*IP/9)-ER) )
plus 12 points for pitching for a first place team.

I decided to compute the numbers for the top 25 starters ranked by ERA, and the top 10 relievers ranked by Saves, and see where Clemens came out in the prediction:

Name CyPoints
Chris Carpenter 198.68
Dontrelle Willis 157.23
Chad Cordero 142.40
Roger Clemens 139.38
John Smoltz 136.21
Pedro Martinez 128.26
Billy Wagner 127.00
Roy Oswalt 125.10
Jake Peavy 123.00
Mark Mulder 122.90
Derrick Turnbow 118.39
Matt Morris 115.73
Jason Isringhausen 114.97
Andy Pettitte 112.51
Brad Lidge 112.29
A.J. Burnett 110.61
Carlos Zambrano 109.02
Livan Hernandez 105.82
Todd Jones 105.43
Chris Capuano 104.75
Trevor Hoffman 101.27
Tim Hudson 100.52
John Patterson 97.52
Brett Myers 95.18
Brian Fuentes 91.40
Braden Looper 91.38
Josh Beckett 90.56
Brandon Webb 83.33
Ben Sheets 82.81
Noah Lowry 80.89
Esteban Loaiza 74.35
Jose Mesa 72.75
Aaron Harang 68.46
Brad Penny 49.47
Brian Moehler 42.16

James’ formula seems to predict, as expected, that the voters will place far too much emphasis on Win totals, as it predicts that Clemens, who is having an awesome season, will finish fourth in the Cy Young Award voting, well behind the winner, Chris Carpenter.


9 Responses

  1. Jim McCullough

    Can you show me the math on Carpenter? I only came up with 137 for him.

    What are runs saved?

  2. Rich Lederer

    I had just exchanged emails with Chad and thought I’d check in with Redleg Nation. With respect to the Cy Young Award predictor, ESPN maintains that feature on a daily basis.

    Just thought you’d like to know. No need to do all the work yourself if it’s being calculated elsewhere.

    Keep up the good work, guys.

  3. Tom

    I meant to expand on Runs Saved for you in the original post, but neglected to. James describes it as “runs not allowed by the pitcher, compared to a pitcher with a 5.00 ERA” As noted on the bottom of the very cool ESPN site that Rich provided, it is calculated as ((5*IP/9)-ER).


  4. Tom

    Had to share this with others, who might get a chuckle out of it like I did.

    “The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers” has a sectiion called the “Pitcher Census”. It has an entry for just about every MLB player you can think of with some basic information on each, the coolest part is, they list pitches thrown by each. So I’m browsing this section, on my way to look up Chad’s favorite Red’s pitcher, Tom Browning, when I happen across the following entry:

    Charlie Brown 4’2″ 87-pound righty

    Theoretical Pitch Selection: 1. Fastball 2. Curve 3. Drop 4. Knuckleball
    Actual Pitch Selection: 1. Straight Ball 2. Straight Ball 3. Straight Ball 4. Straight Ball
    Note: Brown gave up an unusual number of line drives up the middle.
    Source: Sandlot Peanuts (Charles M. Schulz, 1977)

    So who you think had the sense of humor, Neyer or James? ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Brian

    So who you think had the sense of humor, Neyer or James?

    I’m betting Neyer on this, Rob is in my SABR group and he has a dry sense of humor (very Midwest) and I have exchanged emails over the years with him on his other Charlie Brown reference he occasionally tosses out when he has mentioned CB’s favorite player, Joe Schlabotnik.

    There is also an entry for the mythical Sid Finch.

  6. Chad

    That’s funny

    So, what does it say about Tom Browning?

  7. Tom

    So, what does it say about Tom Browning?

    Not near as much as you or I was hoping for. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tom Browning 6’1″ 190-pound lefty
    123-90 3.94, 0 Saves 1984 1995

    Pitches: 1. Screwball 2. Fastball 3. Curve 4. Slider 5. Change
    Sources The Scouting Report (1987 and 1990)

    I figured there would at least be a note saying how he spent a game on the roof across Waveland. ๐Ÿ™‚


  8. Tom

    There is also an entry for the mythical Sid Finch.

    Sure enough, I have to share. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Sidd Finch 6’3″ 182-pound righty
    2-0, 0.00, 0 Saves 1985 1985

    Only Pitch: Fastball (168)
    Mets catcher Ronn Reynolds: “A real good fastball will make a sound like ripping silk. But not Finch’s. It just arrives. Or to put it another way, suddenly it’s there. Pft-boom!”
    Source: The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (George Plimpton, 1987)
    Note: Finch faced fifty-three batters in his brief career, and struck out all fifty-three of them.


  9. Shawn

    Gil Gamesh (from “The Great American Novel”) is in there too. And I’m thinking there’s one more fictional pitcher, but can’t come up with a name this minute.