Carp, Waino and NL Cy Young Award History

Recent National League Cy Young Award voting history may help to understand how the 2009 race will conclude – why Wainwright and Carpenter have a shot while Pineiro and Franklin do not.

The St. Louis Cardinals rotation features two pitchers mentioned prominently in 2009 National League Cy Young Award discussions in 2005 winner Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright. Two other Cardinals, Joel Pineiro and Ryan Franklin, also have pockets of support, at least among team followers.


Yet others have feared that having even two pitchers from the same club seriously competing will simply cancel each other out. The "MV3" season of Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds in 2004 is offered as evidence. That year, all three Cardinals finished in the top five of the Most Valuable Player Award voting, but Barry Bonds was the winner.


I disagreed with the logic then as I do now, even though at the time some voters complained they were unable to distinguish the three Cardinals' contributions from each other so they just voted for someone else in first.


I am sorry, but that is a lame excuse. Either the voters should take the time to understand each players' seasons or be replaced by ones that are able to competently execute their responsibilities.


The reality is that two sportswriters from the Baseball Writers Association of America from each of the 16 NL cities will decide the winner at the end of the season and we have nothing to say about it.


Not everyone is satisfied by waiting for them, however. In an attempt to use statistical factors to predict the winners, Rob Neyer and Bill James developed a model that is updated daily at Their Cy Young Predictor appears to be accurate in pegging the award winners in both leagues since 2004.


Here is a summary of the current Cy Young Predictor for the NL in 2009.

1 Tim Lincecum SF 142.4 25 25 178.1 47 207 0 2 12-3 2.37
2 Adam Wainwright STL 131.8 26 26 179 52 152 0 0 14-7 2.61
3 Jonathan Broxton LAD 125.8 53 0 56 19 83 26 0 7-1 3.05
4 Matt Cain SF 123.3 25 25 170.1 46 129 0 0 12-4 2.43
5 Josh Johnson FLA 121.8 25 25 165.2 55 142 0 0 12-3 2.99
6 Dan Haren ARI 119.3 25 25 174 53 167 0 1 12-8 2.74
7 Chris Carpenter STL 117.5 20 20 138.2 35 105 0 0 13-3 2.27
8 Brian Wilson SF 111.2 52 0 55.2 17 61 30 0 5-5 2.75
9 Heath Bell SD 110.7 47 0 48.2 12 54 30 0 5-2 2.22
10 Johan Santana NYM 108.7 25 25 166.2 58 146 0 0 13-9 3.13


Note both the Cardinals and San Francisco Giants have two contenders. The logical follow-on question is how often in the past two pitchers from the same team placed in the NL Cy Young Award voting.


The answer is "quite often", actually. Being a firm believer that one can gain valuable intelligence about the future by looking at the past, I went back 20 years, to the end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s, just before the glory days in Atlanta.


Before I do, for the Franklin and Pineiro backers, I want to point out one major difference between the Cy Young Award voting and the Most Valuable Player Award process. For the Cy, only first, second and third place votes are cast. For MVP, the top ten are accepted. As a result, the number of pitchers receiving Cy votes in any given year is about a quarter of the volumes of names that place in the MVP voting.


As a voter, one would have to ask himself the question, "Do I think Franklin and/or Pineiro are among the top three pitchers in the National League?" I think we all know the answer to that.


Explaining the headings:

# pitch = number of pitchers that received at least one first, second or third place vote

# mates = number of pitchers on the same team as the winner that received votes

# same team = all pitchers from the same team that received votes


National League Cy Young Award summary, 1989-2008

NL CYA Winner Team # pitch # mates # same team
2008 Tim Lincecum SF 6 0 none
2007 Jake Peavy SD 9 0 ARI #2, 8
2006 Brandon Webb ARI 8 0 none
2005 Chris Carpenter STL 6 0 HOU #3, 4, 6
2004 Roger Clemens  HOU 9 2 HOU #1, 3, 8
2003 Roger Clemens LAD 4 0 none
2002 Randy Johnson ARI 6 1 ARI #1, 2
2001 Randy Johnson ARI 5 1 ARI #1, 2
2000 Randy Johnson ARI 6 0 ATL #2, 3
1999 Randy Johnson ARI 7 0 HOU #2, T4, T4
1998 Tom Glavine ATL 7 2 ATL #1, T4, T4
1997 Pedro Martinez MON 5 0 ATL #2, 3
1996 John Smoltz ATL 11 1 ATL #1, T5
1995 Greg Maddux ATL 5 1 ATL #1, 3
LAD #4, 5
1994 Greg Maddux ATL 8 0 NYM #3, 7
1993 Greg Maddux ATL 9 1 ATL #1, 3
SF #2, 4
1992 Greg Maddux CHC 5 0 STL #3, 4
1991 Tom Glavine ATL 8 1 ATL #1, T6
1990 Doug Drabek PIT 5 0 NYM #3, 4
1989 Mark Davis SD 10 0 LAD T4, T6
SF T6, 8
CHC T9, T9
Average 6.95




* On the average, only seven NL pitchers receive Cy Young Award votes in a given year.


* Despite owning seven Cy Young Awards among them, Atlanta's Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz all received Cy Young Award votes in the same year only once, in 1998. Amazing!


Based on these points and the Cy Young Predictor standings, that would seem to eliminate Pineiro and Franklin from serious consideration. After all, if the Atlanta three couldn't do it…


* In eight of the 20 seasons, another pitcher from the same team as the Cy Young Award winner received votes.


* In 17 of the last 20 seasons, multiple pitchers from the same team received votes. Yet the three exceptions have all been in the last six years.


This would imply that Carpenter and Wainwright should not necessarily cancel each other out of the voting.


* Four times since 1989, three pitchers from the same team received votes. Half the time, two of four years, one of the three was the winner.


* In three years, 1989, 1993 and 1995, multiple teams had two pitchers receiving votes.


Though it hasn't happened recently, it gives hope that Carpenter and Wainwright, along with San Francisco's Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain will all receive votes this year.




There is reason to think that given current course and speed, Carpenter and Wainwright should both receive NL Cy Young Award votes. Further, one of the two could win if he pitches in an exceptional manner over the next six weeks with Wainwright currently holding the advantage. 



Brian Walton can be reached via email at Catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog.


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