The Sporting News announced the winners of the 2010 Pitchers of the Year today for the AL and NL. Felix Hernandez of the Mariners and Roy Halladay of the Phillies were the recipients. How does that impact their chances of winning the CY Young?
They’re 80% likely to win
I looked at every winner of each award since 1967, the first year that the Cy Young was awarded both the AL and NL top pitcher. The winner of The Sporting News award went on to win the Cy Young 80% of the time.
Interestingly, the AL winner is ~10% more likely to bring home both trophies than the NL winner.
Another point of contention is that with the rise of Sabermatrics, the winner of pitching awards should be based on more savvy metrics, such as fielding-independent pitching, where a pitcher is not penalized for having a bunch of lazy infielders. It’s on this basis of these new stats that many have called for Felix Hernandez to win the AL award over CC Sabathia, who has more wins but less impressive pitching stats.
As for giving the Cy Young to a pitcher on a horrible team, that taboo is broken, most recently by Zach Greinke last year when Kansas City ranked 26th in the Major Leagues in wins. The terrible Seattle Mariners shouldn’t count against Felix.
Has there been a bigger gap between the two awards in the last 10 years?
Yes and No. From the 70s through the 90s, the awards underwent serious convergence. By the 90s, a full 85% of The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year also won the Cy Young. But in the last 10 years, the number has regressed back to 75%, just below average.
For the past three years, there have been no differences in the awards for both the AL and the NL. This year will likely be no exception. Put your money on Felix Hernandez (to be announced Nov 17th) and Roy Halladay (to be announced Nov 19th).