Posts Tagged nl cy young
The Cy Young is much easier to digest than the ambiguities that embody the MVP award. The best pitcher in the league wins the Cy Young, and justifying the eventual winner can be analytically reduced to any metric that would warrant “best pitcher” status. That could be wins, winning percentage, ERA, or sabermetrics. Out of the top four candidates, I don’t think anybody would be surprised if any one of the four win the Cy Young. And the voting trends since 2000 incidentally align with considerations implied by the “FanGraphs generation.” The top four in WAR for National League pitchers also rate in the top four in the probability of winning the Cy Young. Again this is because factors that go into evaluating pitching using advanced metrics will inevitably lead to results aligning closely with what the “Triple Crown stats” show, and unlike WAR for position players, there is no random dummy variable (UZR, TZR) deciding a player’s performance rating.
With that in mind, at what point did sportsbooks catch on to the type of season Ian Kennedy is having. A brief survey of his projections before the season, and nowhere do I see 20-4 and an ERA+ of 137 (ZiPS made a valiant effort however, 8-5 125+, and MARCEL had 7-9 106+).
Below I made a graph charting each individual line with his moving average, expressed as a probability, p.
From his first start to about June 5th, his 12th start of the season against Jason Marquis (-160), we saw a steady increase. Obviously this could be more an expression of the Diamondbacks performance rather than Kennedy’s market value. But Kennedy’s line compared to his team line is only 1.9% higher. Here are a few notable lines over his last few starts.
Thus it appears the sportsbooks do not think too highly of neither Kennedy nor the Diamondbacks. He currently ranks 37th out of 277 pitchers who have been listed on a Vegas card, though when adjusted for home/road start discrepancy and his opponents’ line that ranking moves up six spots to 31st, four spots behind his teammate Daniel Hudson, who has the same average opponent’s line. The lack of respect for Kennedy explains his monetary intake from a bettors perspective. The top 10 in units earned on the season for starting pitchers.
Voting Points = W*8.71 + K*.14 + WAR*6.72 - ERA*39.87 - 46.80
R2 = .58
Voting Points = WAR*14.72 - WHIP*108.24 + SV*2.19 - 7.95
R2 = .37
These are the formulas that resolve as much of the variance in voting points as I could find. The probabilities of winning seem to line up with reason. Certainly analysis of relief pitchers are limited by the number of observations, relative to starting pitchers. Out of the 77 pitchers that received cy young consideration since 2000, only 14 are relievers. Again I’ve said before, its unrealistic to expect voting behavior to reflect any sort of major statistical trend when access to information and technology increase exponentially every two years.
Using last year’s formula, I did a preliminary evaluation of potential NL Cy Young candidates. Why did I do this? Well my Betjm account was involuntarily transferred to HeritageSports, known for both their unwillingness to surrender to their clients the agreed upon usufruct of capital by way of currency, and for being arrogant. However, I stumbled upon an unexpected opportunity to profit from the transfer. At least intuition would tell me this is a value play. Thus the preliminary analysis.
Here is what HeritageSports is showing for NL Cy Young Odds.
Hopefully a brief survey is enough to see what I see. Clayton Kershaw is 10/1 to win the Cy Young according to HeritageSports. That’s an implied probability of 9.09% and fair odds of 5.4%.
Using last year’s formula, which correctly predicted the NL Cy Young winner, I extracted the top 10 contenders:
I threw in projected year-end WAR (Fangraphs version) as a frame of reference, hopefully to pacify my inability to count to 10. WAR is a counting statistic (RBI, HR, etc…) and essentially uses IP and FIP to assess pitcher performance. The Cy Young formula includes saves and wins, amongst other things, explaining some of the variance between the odds and WAR. But the difference between Halladay and Kershaw, without even looking at the statistics, is considerably closer to the 1% in the table above as opposed to the 35% difference shown by HeritageSports. In other words, Kershaw has value. A few various pitching metrics will suffice to demonstrate how well Kershaw has pitched this year, and how he favorably compares to Halladay.
|NAME||LINE||TEAM LINE||oSP LINE||WHIP||ERA||FIP||xFIP||W/L|
Because Halladay plays for a better team, his line needs to be adjusted to take this into account. Coincidentally, the Dodgers are mathematically an average team. Invoking simple arithmetic and Halladay’s adjusted line happens to be -119, same as Kershaw who has faced stiffer competition!
Obviously Cy Young voters do not (probably) care what Pinnacle thinks. Though one can assume the offshore industry has access to the most sophisticated measures of assessing starting pitcher ability. They have to, its their livelihood. Paradoxically, HeritageSports (as well as The Greek) yet has the odds for Kershaw at 10/1 despite being part of the offshore industry and having a decent reputation.
Maybe HeritageSports knows something we don’t. Let’s look at K and BB rates, and batted ball performance, the latter largely attributed to fortune or misfortune. Perhaps we can resolve some possible regression to the mean.
A BABIP slightly above league average (.290) may be expected to decrease, strengthening Halladay’s numbers at length. The ZiPS projections have Halladay at 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA going forward, but ZiPS anticipates similar numbers from Kershaw, 6-2 2.83 ERA. Bottom line, Kershaw is a machine.
If the last few years are any indication of voting trends, team performance is of little consequence. Lincecum won back-to-back Cy Youngs in 2008-2009 and the Giants finished 4th and 3rd in the NL west respectively. The last two AL trophies have been awarded to Felix Hernandez and Zack Grienke, both played for teams that were eliminated from playoff contention during spring training.
So for now, 1* on Kershaw at 10/1. The risks with betting starting pitchers for end of season awards with two months left in the season are fairly high. Injuries do happen, and from my experience, most degenerates start throwing big money at Cy Young futures once September hits (I completely grabbed this statement out of thin air).
I’ll revisit the odds again later, as well as address the AL.