Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Zen Dayley: Tim Terrific

A million and one Tim Lincecum tributes are being written to the newly minted 24-year-old Cy Young Award winner.

A prevailing sentiment is that Lincecum would have been overlooked in an earlier era, since he was credited with "only" 18 victories, whereas runner-up Brandon Webb of the Arizona Diamondbacks had 22. At least one voter still felt wins are the ultimate arbiter, but at least he wasn't one of the three guys who thought the Cincinnati Reds' Edinson Volquez still counted as a rookie.

Not to go Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction ("Let's not startsucking...), but it does seem fair to say the generally understood principles for voting for the Cy Young have changed. It is not about the pitcher with the most wins; it's about pitching. This is a glib comparison since they're different types of pitchers, but in 1992 Mike Mussina, at age 23, had similar numbers. He finished with a near-identical record (18-5, 2.54) as Lincecum (18-5, 2.62). He allowed fewer baserunners per nine innings (1.079) than Lincecum did this season (1.172). For that, Moose finished fourth in the Cy Young balloting.

Granted, Lincecum had the flashy strikeout stars, 10½ strikeouts per nine innings and a .221 opponents' batting average. He was the best pitcher and was recognized as such. Who knew?

For anyone who is wondering, the New York Mets had the same 22-12 record in NL era leader Johan Santana's appearances as the Giants had in Lincecum's -- and the Mets had far beter hitters. That's how valuable Lincecum was, even with only 18 wins.

Other business:

  • The Tao is down on the notion of Ryan Dempster coming to the Jays: "All that glove twitching and junkballing might work against the Houstons and Cincys of the world, but we're guessing that once the boy is put into a man's league, his results may vary ..." and "we've heard his impression of Harry Caray one time too many, and we've always felt like his impression is really an impression of Will Ferrell's impression.
  • The Orioles are putting the word "Baltimore" back on their road uniforms for the first time since 1972.
  • R.I.P., Herb Score.

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