Sunday, May 1, 2016

NL Cy Young: 2 Sentimental Choices

If the AL CY was about quality vs. quantity, the NL CY is about a detailed comparison of 2 great seasons by starting pitchers.  Relievers Fernandez and Cook both had extraordinary seasons, but unlike Stock in the AL, were used primarily (or maybe exclusively) as closers - they have their own award and didn't throw enough innings to approach the "weight" of the starters.  And Dover's Gaudin, even though he had a fine season, didn't approach the heights Branson and Johnson reached.  Our NL CY call is between Branson and Johnson.

The CY Case for Rick Branson:  Hit the magic 20-win mark with very good qualitative stats:  his .622 OPS-against (neutral ballpark) is a pretty spiffy mark.
The case against: Didn't quite reach 200 IP (although Johnson didn't throw many more).

The CY Case for Joe Johnson:  Better qualitative stats across the board than Branson (a full run a game lower ERA and an excellent 562 OPS-against) in essentially also a neutral park (ever-so-slightly more pitcher-friendly than Branson's).
The case against:  Only 15 wins.

To me, it's a miracle Johnson managed 15 wins.  The Sewer Gators only managed to score 571 runs the whole season - last in the NL by a wide margin (no knock on mbriese whatsoever here...I actually admire the way he plotted a bold pitching-and-defense strategy and put it in place), while Branson benefitted from Jacksonville's 879 run-scoring offense (2nd in NL).  Should Win:  Johnson    Runnerup: Branson

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