Moehringer: Before there was Jacob deGrom, there was Jon Matlack

From SABR member Paul Moehringer at The Hardball Times on September 24, 2018:

One of the more hotly contested subjects between the sabermetric crowd and the “traditionalists” is the importance of wins as it pertains to starting pitchers. Highlighting the issue this year is one Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets, who is in the midst of one of the best pitching seasons in baseball history.

As of this writing, deGrom has a National League-leading 1.77 ERA, the lowest by any Met since Dwight Gooden in 1985. He has a league-leading 2.03 FIP and is second in the NL in innings pitched. In addition, deGrom not only leads the NL in pitching fWAR; he is the league leader in fWAR.

All these measurements point to someone who should lead the list of NL Cy Young candidates. But  some, like Michael Wilbon of ESPN, have argued that deGrom should not even be in consideration for the Cy Young award, because of his .500 record. No starter in major league history with a .500 record or worse has ever finished higher than fourth in Cy Young voting. The one starter to finish fourth? Orel Hershiser, who did so in 1987 and 1989, years which sandwiched his Cy Young Award-winning ‘88 season.

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Originally published: September 28, 2018. Last Updated: September 28, 2018.