Carlton Ernest "Pudge" Fisk (born December 26, 1947) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played for 24 years with both the Boston Red Sox (1969, 1971-1980) and Chicago White Sox (1981-1993). Known by the nickname "Pudge" due to his 6'2", 220 lb frame, he was the first player to be unanimously voted American League Rookie of the Year (1972). He is best known for "waving fair" his game-winning home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series, one of the greatest moments in World Series history. At the time of his retirement in 1993 he held the records for most home runs all-time by a catcher with 351 (since passed by Mike Piazza). A testament to his durability behind the plate, Fisk held the record for most games played at the position of catcher (2,226) until June 17, 2009 when he was surpassed by "Pudge" Iván Rodríguez. Fisk still holds the American League record for most years served behind the plate (24). Fisk was voted to the All-Star team 11 times and won 3 Silver Slugger Awards which is awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position. Fisk was known as a fierce competitor, a superb handler of pitchers and a natural on-field leader. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Season 7 Awards: Part III


Let's start by taking a look at the AL Cy Young Award nominees:

Jesus Lee
Stan Newfield
Jay Young
Everett Hunter
Ignacio Pineda

24-2. 214/51 K/BB ratio. 0.97 WHIP. 2.19 ERA. .206 OAV. Wow! Jesus Lee put together an amazing stat line and has led the Wichita pitching staff to the World Series and a likely championship. Lee's 24-2 record is good for a .923 WPCT, .201 points higher than the Ruby Slippers own .722 WPCT. Lee tied Pineda with his 24 wins, was third in the AL with 235 IP, finished second in Ks only three behind teammate Sidney Hall, topped the AL with his low OAV, WHIP and ERA. So, three strikeouts kept him from winning the AL Triple Crown of pitching.

Mexico City's Stan Newfield also put together an impressive campaign. His 2.26 ERA and 1.03 WHIP are very comparable to Jesue Lee. In fact, Newfield's numbers are nearly as good as Lee in all but two major categories: Newfield registered a 21-8 record and had a less impressive 203/60 K/BB ratio. Additionally, Mexico City posted a 91-71 record as a team (.562 WPCT); Newfield's own WPCT was .724 (.162 points higher). However, there is one key factor working in Stan's favor: Mexico City has a Park Factor of .959 vs. the Wichita Park Factor of .924.

Jay Young is another Wichita starter up for the award. Young went 21-7 with a 2.36 ERA and 205 K. He also led the AL with a .204 OAV. Jay has very good numbers across the board, but falls just shy of Jesus Lee is just about every category. Given the play for the same team, this allows for a quick and direct comparison, and Young falls just short.

Louisville's Everett Hunter is a perennial contender for the Cy Young. This season he accumulated a 22-4 record, a 176/45 K/BB ratio, and 1.10 WHIP. Hunter's ERA is not as microscopic as our first three nominees checking in at 3.55. However, Louisville is much more of a hitter's park. Everett falls short in most core statistical categories, but his 22-4 record is good for seven additional wins versus his team average (Louisville had a .580 WPCT vs. Hunter's .846 WPCT). He also was second to Lee in the AL in K/BB ratio.

Ignacio Pineda is yet another Wichita starter. Pineda went 24-5 for a better record than Young. However, Pineda pales in comparison to both Young and Lee in just about every other category. He gave up more runs, hits, home runs, and walks than both of them tossing fewer innings.

The winner is... Stan Newfield. Really?

Newfield: 30 WS
Lee: 25 WS
Young: 23 WS
Hunter: 22 WS
Pineda: 18 WS

What makes the difference? Most of the difference is due to the easier park conditions for Wichita pitchers. Newfield is credited with saving 114 runs versus a replacement level pitcher in Mexico City whereas Lee is credited with "only" 99 runs saved. The combination of the Park Factor and Wichita's defense leads to a half run per game advantage for Wichita pitchers. Lee's ERA also benefits from three more unearnerd runs which is enough to give Newfield a lower "RA" (run average) than Lee. Interestingly, Jay Young did not allow a single UER which closes the gap in the race as well (but not enough).

Footnote: Stan Farley and Russ Daniels also registered 22 WS and finish ahead of Pineda.

Moving on to the NL... the nominees:

Michael Hardy
Luis Ozuna
Ricky Kubinski
Tris McEnroe
Brendan Henry

Michael Hardy led Milwaukee and the ML with a 1.77 ERA. Hardy also led the ML with a .187 OAV, allowed only 8 HR (best among those with more than 162 IP), and led the NL with a 1.01 WHIP. Hardy was kept to an average of 73 pitches per game as Milwaukee went to a four man rotation. This led to him registering only 18 decisions (16-2) in his 37 starts.

Luis Ozuna went 16-6 with 161 K and a 2.72 ERA. His ERA is good for fourth in the NL. With Tampa Bay going 82-80, Ozuna's WPCT clocks in .221 points higher than his team. Ozuna was also the best hitting pitcher in the league posting a .297 BA and scoring 14 runs in 74 AB. His 13 HR allowed was second best to Hardy among qualifiers.

Iowa City's Ricky Kubinski narrowly missed being a bona fide ROY the year candidate since he pitched 54.2 innings last year. The 23 year-old went 17-2 adding depth to the already great Iowa City staff. His 2.91 ERA and 1.16 were both very good but not league-leading.

I found a glitch in my spreadsheet formulas today which results in Tris McEnroe being dethroned as last year's Cy Young Award winner. He had another very good season this year in Milwaukee's new four-man rotation. Averaging just 75 pitches per game, he posted a 2.51 ERA and 1.06 WHIP which are best in the NL if you exclude teammate Michael Hardy. His 14-6 record is not as good either which, by direct comparison, shows that he will likely not be the winner this time around either.

Brendan Henry of Philadelphia put up a 20-9 record whcih was good enough to lead the NL in wins. The workhorse hurled 242 innings which was tops in the ML. His WHIP of 1.34 and 3.75 do not rate with the best of the lot, but he makes up for some of that in his sheer volume of work. He also led the NL in quality starts with 25, batters faced with 1040 and GB/FB ratio at 2.2.

The results please:

Hardy: 27 WS
McEnroe: 25 WS
Kubinski: 22 WS
Ozuna: 22 WS
Henry: 18 WS

Another footnote... several pitchers check in with more WS than Henry: Bonilla, Thomas, Harrison, Devereaux, Witt, and Rogers all had between 19 and 21 WS. I would suspect that Henry would be a likely contender amongst "typical" sportswriters due to leading the league in wins.

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