Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Why Wins are Stupid, Simplified
The Contenders were:
Let’s see how they faired:
QS = Quality Start, W = Win, L = Loss, % = Percentage, ND = No Decision
What this shows is a few things. 1) If Lincecum pitched poorly, the best he could hope for was a no decision. He never was rewarded with a W for pitching poorly but rather got pinned with the L more often. On the other hand, Carpenter got 2 W and Wainwright an astonishing 5 W (more than half the time he pitched poorly). Also, you can see though Lincecum logged the most Quality Starts and the highest Quality Start percentage, he still ended up with the fewest wins. You can also see that when Lincecum pitched well he won roughly (slightly more often) as frequently as Wainwright and less often than Carpenter. In Wainwright’s defense he did take losses at a higher clip when he pitched well but the fact that he won over half of the games he pitched poorly is outrageous.
This is a fairly straightforward example to show just how unreliable the W is to compare pitchers. For reasons like this QS analysis and others, people like Keith Law considered Lincecum the top pitcher in the NL and called it a “No brainer.” Despite all the information available, however, Wainwright received 13 first place votes, a greater number than both Lincecum and Carpenter whom finished 1st and 2nd in voting, respectively. This despite being inferior to not only Lincecum and Carpenter, but at the very least 2-3 other NL pitchers. Luck is a factor, defense is a factor, and Giants fans well know offense is certainly a factor. I would never say the ’09 Cardinals’ offense was reminiscent of the ’27 Yankees, but they certainly weren’t the ’09 Giants either, were they?