Keith Law didn’t vote for Chris Carpenter. Will Carroll didn’t either. Of course, according to the baseball fans on Twitter, both are saber-morons who are ruining the game. Hysteria indeed. A few interesting tweets/comments:
Jon Heyman (@SI_JonHeyman): “i dont mean to pick on the voters. but how do 2 of them leave chris carpenter off the ballot entirely? #dumbsportswriters”
Joe and Evan (popular NY talk show hosts, @JoeandEvan): “Plain and simple Linceum should NOT have won Cy Young…disgrace that ESPN’s Keith Law left Carpenter off ballot.”
Matthew Pouliot (NBC Sports): “Now get a load of this: the Cardinals were 68-60 when Wainwright didn’t pitch. The Braves were 68-62 when Vazquez didn’t pitch. So, the Cards were 23-11 in Wainwright’s starts, while the Braves were 18-14 when Vazquez pitched. That’s the real world for you.”
Man, Heyman really gave it to them with that “dumb” comment. Here are the stats, just so we all know what’s up:
NL SP FIP:
NL SP xFIP:
NL SP WAR:
It isn’t crazy at all to not include Carpenter from the list. In fact, if Chris Carpenter pitched for a crappy NL West team and didn’t win a whole bunch of games while missing the playoffs, nobody would be making such a big deal about this.
Rob Neyer sums up this situation nicely:
There’s something to be said for Conventional Wisdom. In this case, the Conventional Wisdom was unanimous: the three best pitchers in the league were Lincecum, Carpenter, and Wainwright. But in a field as traditionally conservative as award voting, isn’t it healthy to allow room for just a bit of unconventional wisdom, too?
Carroll and Law didn’t do anything crazy. They looked at the same numbers available to everyone else, and came up with slightly different answers. They should not be reviled for this. They should instead be applauded.
But what we may see from this is a whole bunch of backlash not just for these two intelligent/honest writers, but for the saber community as as an entity. It’s the whole, “We left you nerds alone when you were just blogging ‘n such, but now that you’re voting with us, you better back off.” I hope I’m wrong. I hope that this commentary is at least isolated to the mid-afternoon sports radio shows and MLB.com message boards. However, I get the eery suspicion that we haven’t heard the last of it.