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One Carp in the pond...

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First, a word on the Cy Young race. The choice of Webb wasn't really the best decision ever, but at the same time, it wasn't horrible Carp was better in most of the major categories, and they were pretty close. The choice of Hoffman is troubling on the merits, simply due to the number of innnigs pitcher. The thing is, however, these are sportswriters voting, and I think they will always, at least partially, go for the most compelling story--the reigning champion, using control and a killer curve to keep hitters on their toes isn't as compelling a story as a young freshman phenom coming into his own and just dominating the league over various stetches of the year, nor the until-now, largely unhealded career saves leader having a great season, and perhaps deserving it this time.

I think the Cy voters saw that the numbers were pretty close (though skewed, IMO, in favor of CC), and voted for the story more than they voted for the actual player. I think this also explains the curious voting pattern that lboros noted yesterday--voters tended to vote for either Webb or Hoffman, and then almost all of them put down Carp as #2--they saw that Carp was deserving, but were just too tempted to vote for the more compelling story.

It's silly and it's obnoxious, but they have committed similar (and often, much worse) travesties in past years--I can see a very strong argument for Roger Clemens over Carp last year, and a much stronger argument for Randy Johnson over Clemens the year before that. It's pretty rare that the best statistical player wins the postseason awards, and when that happens, it's usually someone who has been so rediculously dominant, there is no debating any of it, á la 1999 Pedro Martinez or 2002 Barry Bonds.

Similarly, I would advise not getting all that angry if (and I think it's very likely) Ryan Howard wins the MVP--he had an excellent season, his rate stats (aside from his AVG) were very close to Albert's (Howard's OPS+ = 170, Pujols = 180), and by staying healthy, he was able to accumulate significantly better counting stats--the writers will eat up the story of him going from bench player to MVP candidate in a year, and one may argue that he let his team down when they needed him the most, but I would argue that he kept the Phillies alive even after trading Bobby Abreu to the Yankees. Howard is a solid choice, and I can't fault anyone for picking him.

In the end, neither of these decisions is as inexplicable as choosing David Eckstein as world series MVP over Scott Rolen.