Clayton Kershaw Against Roy Halladay For the Cy Young


On Tuesday
, Clayton Kershaw tossed six scoreless innings in St. Louis, extending his National League strikeout lead and making the start the 10th of his 27 outings this year in which he hasn’t allowed an earned run. At 23, Kershaw is living up to the promise we’d all seen since the day he was drafted in 2006. But is it really going to be enough to get him the NL Cy Young Award over Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, and others? Let’s take a quick trip through the stats to find out. For the purposes of this exercise, we’ll just compare Kershaw to Halladay, because if he can’t beat Doc, then the rest won’t matter.

Stats that shouldn’t matter, but do:

W/L Record
Kershaw: 16-5
Halladay: 15-5
Edge: Kershaw’s had the advantage of one additional start, so this is essentially a draw. Of course, Halladay plays for a Phillies team that scores 4.3 runs per game, while the Dodgers are ahead of only the Giants in scoring 3.8 per game, so Kershaw leading the league in wins would be somewhat miraculous, if wins weren’t completely pointless.

ERA
Kershaw: 2.51
Halladay: 2.56
Edge: Basically identical. Draw.

Team
Kershaw: Plays for a West Coast team that is in and out of last place and is more notable for its embarrassing legal situation.
Halladay: Plays for an East Coast team that is the best in baseball and is an overwhelming World Series favorite.
Edge: Here’s where Kershaw is going to run into his first problem, since he’s a young pitcher on a bad team, while Halladay has been a long-time star. This might not affect him as badly as it will Matt Kemp, however, since “Cy Young Award” isn’t named “Most Valuable Pitcher”. It’s silly, but that word “valuable” really gets a lot of people stuck, and Zack Greinke & Felix Hernandez have each won on bad small-market teams in recent years.

Raw strikeouts
Kershaw: 207
Halladay: 182
Edge: Kershaw, though again Halladay has one start in hand.

Stats which are moderately more helpful:

K/BB
Kershaw: 4.31
Halladay: 7.91
Edge: Kershaw’s mark is very good and represents marked improvement over previous years. Halladay’s is just under twice as good as that. Good god.

WHIP
Kershaw: 1.023
Halladay: 1.054
Edge: WHIP isn’t as helpful as people assume it is, because it doesn’t correct for opponent, defense, park, etc., but it’s still a nice quick and dirty snapshot. Kershaw has the edge here in part because his edge in hits/9 (6.9 to 8.4) is more than Halladay’s edge in BB/9 (1.1 to 2.3).

Opposing hitter’s line
Kershaw: .212/.265/.304 .569
Halladay: .248/.272/.320 .592
Edge: Both excellent, of course. Halladay turns the average opposing hitter into Orlando Cabrera; Kershaw doesn’t even have a perfect comp because no qualified hitter has a lower OPS than Alex Rios and his .592.

Advanced stats which no real voter will even look at:

xFIP
Kershaw: 2.78
Halladay: 2.56
Edge: Halladay’s FIP equals his ERA, suggesting that his results have been exactly what they should be. Kershaw gets dinged a bit because his BABIP is relatively low, but not much to see here.

rWAR
Kershaw: 5.3
Halladay: 5.9
Edge: Halladay, clearly though they’re 1-2 in the NL. I don’t consider WAR, especially for pitchers, to be pinpoint enough where slight differences like this make a ton of difference.

So what’s the final verdict? Too close to call, honestly. I think it’ll be a tight 1-2 (unless something unexpected happens over the final five weeks of the season), with Halladay pulling out a thin victory due to his reputation and the success of the Phillies this year.

******

I almost don’t want to post this because it’ll just get our hopes up, but the rumors keep flying, so who am I to deny them?  Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times claims that the Cubs are already doing information-gathering on Ned Colletti:

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is wasting no time gathering information on potential general manager candidates, talking this week to people in and around baseball about current GMs Andrew Friedman of the Tampa Bay Rays and Ned Colletti of the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to sources.

While Colletti is viewed by many as cut from similar old-school-GM cloth as Jim Hendry, one attraction to him, a source said, is the likelihood he would try to bring Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs’ manager. Sandberg has told those close to him that with Hendry out, he wouldn’t hesitate to return to the Cubs.

Again, I wouldn’t put too much stock into this; Ricketts has said that he wants a change, and Colletti is too similar to Hendry to qualify as that; besides, if Ricketts wants Sandberg so badly, he could just go out and hire him himself.

******

Some of you have asked me why I always bash on Bleacher Report, which is somehow mind-bogglingly popular despite being a barren wasteland of horrible, juvenile writing, slideshows, and occasional incredible insensitivity. After I devoted a whole post to it in January and nearly brought the writer to tears, I resolved to just ignore the site completely, since it would only make me angry.

That was all well and good until handsome reader Scott emailed me this morning directing me to an “article” titled “Ned Colletti’s 5 Worst Trades as GM”. After I regained consciousness from blacking out, I decided I could not let this injustice go unnoticed. I’m not going to link to it. If you’re brave enough to subject yourself to the feeling of hitting yourself in the face repeatedly with an ice pick, I’m sure you can google it. Now, when you think of terrible Colletti trades, you don’t need to look too far. Millions of words have been spilled on “Carlos Santana for Casey Blake“, “James McDonald and Andrew Lambo for Octavio Dotel“, and the recent Trayvon Robinson deal.

None of those are on the list. Here’s the ones that are:

1) Joel Guzman and Sergio Pedroza for Julio Lugo. I didn’t have a blog at the time. I don’t really remember how I felt about the deal. But I do know that neither Guzman or Pedroza amounted to anything. At worst, this was irrelevant.

2) Ryan Theriot for Blake Hawksworth. Or as I like to think of it, one of the best moves Colletti has made all year. Why was this bad? Because Hawksworth is 2-4 and Theriot “has already surpassed his RBI total from 2010 with 39″. Oh. You got me there.

3) Delwyn Young for Harvey Garcia and Eric Krebs. Like the Lugo deal, who really cares at this point? I was one of Young’s staunchest defenders at the time, and even I can’t get up in arms about the fact that a guy who is hitting .252/.305/.400 in AAA during his age-29 season this year is gone. Completely, totally irrelevant.

4) Juan Pierre for John Ely and Jon Link. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that a guy who references Pierre’s “perfect 1.000 fielding percentage” in 2009 has absolutely no idea what the hell he’s talking about, right? Boy, I sure do wish we had Pierre and his 21/13 SB/CS back on the club.

5) The Manny Ramirez trade. The stupid… it burns. Basically, since Manny was suspended in 2009, injured in 2010, and lost on waivers, they never should have acquired him in the first place. That ridiculous run at the end of 2008? Never happened!

I feel bad for this poor guy, who has no idea what he’s talking about, but I mostly feel bad for us. Bleacher Report just picked up $22m in funding. They have partnerships in which their content appears on the sites of the Los Angeles Times and plenty of other large outlets. The common fan sees this garbage in the wrapper of a respected paper and they think it’s real. They think it’s journalism, when really it’s just the misinformed ramblings of an in-way-over-his-head intern. And that’s why sites like this will always exist – because sites like that will always exist.

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  1. [...] strike out ten without allowing a walk, being victimized somewhat by an Aaron Miles throwing error. At the end of August, we were already beginning to fantasize about his Cy Young prospects, while Kershaw gained [...]