It is pretty funny that the old school guys look simply at a pitcher's wins and how good their teams are, while a guy like me might look at ERA, WHIP, IP, etc and you are going further with the heavy duty advanced stats. I don't know though...Hernandez has an ERA almost 1 point below Lee...has pitched a ton more innings.
Its tough. If Felix wins, I won't complain, that's for sure. There is absolutely a case to be made that he deserves it.
The only reason I don't really like ERA and WHIP is because they have a reliance on things that aren't really in a pitcher's control, such as defense (which is a factor in hits in WHIP, and in turn ERA) and ballparks. A pitcher who pitches behind an excellent defense is probably going to have a decent ERA despite weak peripherals (see: Jarrod Washburn last year - 2.64 ERA with Seattle despite his FIP being over a full run higher at 3.80)*. And vice versa - a pitcher who pitches behind a bad defensive team might have a higher ERA than he should. But hey, at least its better than going by win-loss records and being on a winning team. I'm not trying to pick on a Yankee here, but you just know CC Sabathia will get his share of Cy Young votes for his 21 wins, and to a lesser degree, being on 1 of the best teams in baseball, when in reality, there is probably 7 to 10 more deserving candidates.
* - A 3.80 FIP is not weak, but you get what I mean.
Edit: I should clarify that I don't find WHIP to be totally useless. I just don't personally use it that often due to the hit factor, which is related to BABIP/defense. Its mainly ERA that I'm picking with, and its to a point where I rarely look at it. I always jump straight to FIP since its a better indicator of how well a pitcher is actually pitching. Its like I mentioned above - a pitcher could have weak peripherals and a good ERA while another pitcher could have good peripherals and a poor ERA; should the pitcher with weak peripherals/good ERA get the credit for being better? I don't think so, but that's just my opinion. In this case, while its obviously not as extreme as as the example I just said, Lee has been better. Even when you factor in the innings, which is what WAR does, the advantage still goes to Lee. And then there is tERA, which basically extends off of FIP and factors in batted balls (so obviously a pitcher with a high line drive rate against and a weak groundball rate isn't going to have a nice looking tERA), and that stat also favors Lee. I can even go a bit further and use one of Baseball Prospectus' tools, SIERA: 'Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average estimates ERA through walk rate, strikeout rate and ground ball rate, eliminating the effects of park, defense and luck.' Felix's SIERA: 3.19 .. Lee's SIERA: 3.03.
I'm not trying to rag on Felix here either. Hes been outstanding this year. Has he been better than Cliff Lee? Like I've said: its tough. You can't go wrong with either as a Cy Young choice. I just tend to lean towards the advanced stats, which say Lee gets the edge.
Edited by nmigliore, 01 October 2010 - 09:58 PM.