A few weeks ago I made the case for Derek Jeter to win the MVP. I still believe this is the case and the ongoing MVP voting poll at ESPN would agree with me. However, Jeter isn’t the only Yankees player who deserves an award for their performance this year. How about the quiet kid from Tiawan, Chien-Ming Wang.
He dosen’t get the accolades of a J. Santana, R. Halladay or even the Yankees own Mike Mussina. In fact you would be hard pressed to find anybody bothering to mention Wang in the same sentence with Cy Young. Which is a shame because Chien-Ming Wang has put up a Cy Young caliber season.
Look at Wang’s numbers this year. 18-6 record with an ERA of 3.57 and even pulled out a save for the Yankees prior to the All-Star game. Wang has has thrown 212.0 innings this year, the most of any pitcher on the Yankees staff.
You could make the case Wang has earned himself as the Yankees number one pitcher. Johnson, for example has a record of 17-11 and a bloated ERA of 5.00. Mussina has had a good year going 14-6 and an era 3.57 as well. But, the Moose was recently shut down and has pitched nearly 30 innings less than Wang.
The other Yankee starters have had mixed games all around. Wright, Lidle, Ponson (waived) to name a few. Heck, $40 million injury machine Pavano hasn’t even pitched since last year. Small has been on DL since eternity and even then it wasn’t as if he continue the mastery of last years amazing season.
When you look at Wang compared to the other starters, you see why this young, shy kid from overseas has been such a boon for the Yankees. The problem for Wang stems from a couple of issues. The first being strike outs. he has 72 K’s to 51 BB’s. His strike out ratio will rank down around one of the lowest in the history of the game. Wang is also one of the most stunning groundball to flyball pitchers the game has seen. Something many of the so called "experts" are waiting to blow up on him. You would think after a year and a half pitching for the Yankees, people would finally accept the fact he is doing just fine. The biggest problem is Wang is not flashy, dosent put up gaudy numbers and is over shadowed by more dominating personalities on the Yankees Squad.
So the question is Wang’s competition for the Cy Young award. If you listen to all the shows and read the newspapers and the online articles, most would say the race will come down to J. Santana, R. Halladay, J. Garland and old man Kenny Rogers. So lets compare the numbers between these five players to see who should be this years Cy Young award winner in the AL.
Player Wins ERA CG SHO IP HR BB K
J. Santana 18-6 2.79 1 0 225.2 24 47 240
C. Wang 18-6 3.57 2 1 212.0 12 51 72
J. Garland 17-6 4.37 1 1 197.2 25 38 103
K. Rogers 17-6 3.63 0 0 198.1 23 58 97
R. Halladay 16-5 3.19 4 0 220.0 19 34 132
Pretty good race between those five pitchers above. The one player who may not really have the best chance would be J. Garland. While the record is there, compared to the other pitchers mentioned, there is nothing standing out which would separate him from the others and teh fact his era is 0.74 higher than the next highest of Rogers, Garland dosen’t stand a chance.
The next pitcher we can most likely eliminate would be Kenny Rogers. The numbers are there, but if your going to attack Wang for a low K total, Rogers is in the same boat with only 97, which isn’t setting the world on fire by any means. The other issue for Rogers is the fact he is pitching for Detroit and is not even the best pitcher on the team. Verlander and Bonderman are better pitchers than Rogers and with the exception of the win/loss totals, Rogers was out performed by the youngsters in Detroit
Wang’s biggest challenge will come from Santana and Halladay. Halladay may be the one who could complain teh most if he dosent win because his numbers are quite solid. The problem is he pitches for Toronto who will most likely finish 3rd in the East for the 9th straight year. Halladay’s performance this year, while steller didn’t do much to carry the Blue Jays into the playoffs. Not his fault and if he wasn’t there the Jays may not have had a chance for a record above .500. Except his presence didn’t really push the Jays into contention either and he has had some nice run support. You could also knock his strike out totals as he only recorded 132 of them and it seems like the voters want big K totals. Halladay would not be a suprise but it is unlikely because he was not any better than Sanatana.
So, now we are down to Santana and Wang. My baseball mind says Santana wins hands down and it would be hard to argue against it. The Twins have thrived on Santana’s consistency and continual performance of one dominating game after another. However, Sananta’s clearly benefited having Lirano being allowed to start and the resurgance of Silva and Radke. Santana also sports a strike out total of 240 batters to only 47 walks. His one negative would be the 24 homeruns allowed, which isn’t to painful considering Santana’s era is a sick 2.79 and being in the run happy American League, this is impressive.
Except Wang has done a few things himself. First of all Wang has pitched two complete games to Santana’s one. With the Yankee bullpen pitching so many innings this year, the fact Wang has thrown two complete games is huge. Wang also threw a shutout, which Santana has failed to do this year. Wang has only given up 12 homeruns on the year. Santana doubles that. However, all these numbers are tangable. Meaning you can compare them, provide analysis. What about the intangables? What does Wang bring to the table which would enable him to win the Cy Young?
Piece of mind for one. Joe Torre has commented on many occasions how lucky he is to have Wang pitching for him. He has come to rely on Wang to pull out a tremendous performance and bring about a victory for the Yankees. Teams worry about many things when playing the Yankees and Wang is one of those biggest problems. Despite being in his second year, teams still cannot figure out how to beat this kid. If anything Wang hurts himself more than opposing teams. If he leaves a breakingball or slider up in the strike zone, even Juan Pierre could hit it out of the park. But, what is impressive about Wang is the fact his performance has carried the yankees this year and many of his stellar outings have come after Yankee loses.
Sure Chien-Ming Wang does not have the better numbers compared to Santana or even Halladay. But, look at what Wang has done for the Yankees this year and you realize how valuable he has been. Awards should be about more than just wins/loses or strikeout totals. You have too look at the whole picture and when you look at Wang, his picture is quite impressive and that is why he should win the 2006 Cy Young award.
Its that time of the year again, the playoff races are getting down to the final bell, teams are checking out young players and the debate of the awards begins. This year the AL MVP is a tight race, which has been heated up after David Ortiz decided to whine and moan about feeling left out because he is only a DH and poor Jeter gets to hit in heaven called the Yankees lineup. Whah! Did Ortiz forget his bottle his bottle on Sunday? So lets forget the insanity of his crying and simply point out the newly self declared prima donna has just slammed his teamates for being less than himself. I guess Manny’s .300 plus BA, 30 plus HR’s are nothing to Ortiz sitting on the bench for half a game pulling splinters out of his DH behind.
Unfortunately, there are writers, who have votes in this deal, who will side with Ortiz. Let’s not forget a few things. In 2004 the voters awarded the NL MVP to Barry Bonds despite Albert Pujols having better numbers. Its the same year Clemens won the CY Young despite Carpenter having better numbers. To fix this problem, in 2005 the voters awarded Pujols the MVP despite Andrew Jones having better numbers and Carpenter the CY Young even though Clemens actually had better numbers in 2005. In 2005 the voters awarded the MVP to A-Rod because of some supposed bias against the DH and Ortiz lost out as a result. Naturally, the voters always being a year behind will want to fix the supposed slight from 2005 and vote for Ortiz. But, does he deserve it?
The way I see it and basically from all the talk we hear, there are four primary canidates for the MVP. Namely, Derek Jeter, Jermaine Dye, Justin Morneau and David Ortiz. For fun, I added Joey Mauer who has received some slight talk despite putting up one of the best offensive catching years in MLB history. Now, lets take the five players mentioned and look at their numbers. We could goes into fielding stats, but Mr. DH dosen’t have anything and would naturally rank last among our canidates. This is a whole other issue and the biggest reason why the DH should not win the MVP unless the numbers simply blow baseball records out of the park.
So, because of Mr. DH, we need to look at only the offensive numbers. Now according to Mr. DH, we should only look at homeruns and RBI’s. Hum, interesting, he leads in those categories and he should, being a DH and all. But, why dosent he mention any of the other ones? Maybe its because he dosen’t far as well as the other contestants.
Basically the numbers as of yesterdays (9-11) games looked like this:
Player TEAM POS G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI TB BB SO SB OBP SLG AVG SF/SH
J Mauer MIN C 125 463 75 162 32 4 11 78 235 72 44 8 0.433 0.508 0.350 7
D Jeter NYY SS 137 555 99 192 36 3 13 91 273 63 91 29 0.419 0.492 0.346 11
J Dye CWS OF 131 486 93 158 26 3 41 112 313 52 105 7 0.392 0.644 0.325 6
J Morneau MIN 1B 138 514 84 165 31 1 33 118 297 47 80 3 0.377 0.578 0.321 10
D Ortiz BOS DH 133 504 103 145 26 2 48 127 319 96 105 1 0.402 0.633 0.288 5
By taking the numbers and then ranking the players from 1 through 5 we can make some overall rankings. To find their average rank we add each category and then divide it by 16 (total number of categories). In doing so Derek Jeter comes out far ahead of the other players. The final tallies look like this…
Jeter 2.375 ave
Ortiz 3.000 ave
Mauer 3.125 ave
Morneau 3.125 ave
Dye 3.188 ave
Basically, while the other four players are all bunched up, Jeter out paces them all. Out of the 5 players, Jeter ranks number one in At Bats – Hits – Doubles – Stolen Bases – Sac’s. Jeter then ranks second in Games played – Runs – Triples – OBP – AVE. Out of 16 categories Jeter ranks either first or second in 10 of them. None of the other players can duplicate that.
Another interesting note is hits and batting average. Jeter, Mauer, Morneau and Dye al are hitting .321 or higher. Where is Mr. DH, at a low .288 or basically over 40 points behind. Ortiz has the 3rd highest number of AB’s and yet the lowest number of hits. In fact Jeter has only 51 more AB’s than Ortiz and yet has 47 more hits. Jeter has 10 more doubles, one triple more and 28 more stolen bases. Ortiz leads in Home Runs… whoopie. What is even scarier is Jeter has 33 fewer walks than Ortiz and yet Jeter’s OBP is .419 verses only a .402 for Ortiz.
So lets see. With Mr. DH you get basically one of two options, homeruns or walks. With Jeter you get hits, walks, sacs, doubles, and occasionally a triple and a homer. Not to mention Jeter has earned another 28 more bases for his stealing ability. In the RBI’s category Jeter hits in the number two spot and yet still has 91 RBI’s. This is pretty darn impressive he also has scored 99 times or now 102 after tonight 🙂
Ortiz? What is he complaining about, he has Manny hitting behind him and Ortiz only has 103 runs scored. Maybe its because Ortiz is on base far less than Jeter, giving Manny far few options to knock him in. 48 of Mr. DH’s runs scored are from his HR’s meaning, he has scored only 55 runs outside of the HR’s. Jeter, he has 13 homeruns but, now 102 runs scored. Basically Jeter has scored 89 times outside of the HR’s. Naturally Mr. DH whines about the fact Jeter has Giambi, A-Rod and gang batting behind him. I guess he forgot about all those injuries and illness or the slumps. Maybe its because Jeter gets on base to keep the inning going and puts himself in a position to score more runs. Maybe Jeter is more valuable because of this.
Oh, did we even talk about the number of runs Jeter has stopped because he actually has the guts to take the field? How many has Ortiz stopped? NONE! So when your looking at a MVP, how can you award it to a part timer? Ortiz shouldn’t even be mentioned as a possibility for MVP because h
e dosen’t even play a full game.
Jeter’s biggest competition should come from Morneau or Dye. Ironically Morneau has better numbers accross the board and Dye isn’t exactly the best OF. But, in either case I could live with it because both players have done amazing jobs this year and can make a good case. But Ortiz… he is a great hitter, but not an MVP because you can only count on him half the time.
With the first half of the season nearly over, why not take a look at the mid-season awards for the Yankees of 2006. We would have to admit it has been a very interesting 2006 thus far into the season. Tonight the Yankees are giving a royal spanking to the Mets 16-6 as we write this very article. A-Rod with two homeruns so far in my opinion has definately earned his pin stripes, so for the detractors, give the guy a break. Baring a complete meltdown the Yankees should enter Monday at 46-33. Now, some might complain this isn’t good enough and being a loyal Yankee I too would expect a 79-0 record at the moment. But, let take a look at a couple of things…
1. Given the Red Sox hot streak recently, being only 4 games back is nothing for our Yankees. In fact the Red Sox should be ashamed of themselves for the fact they haven’t been able to take advantaged of the injuries the Yankees have had. This of course leads us to point number two.
2. How many teams can suffer the kind of injuries we have had so far and yet be 13 games over .500? Not many. Look at the Cubs, they lose Lee and all **** breaks lose. The Red Sox whine because they were a couple pitchers short, yeah, but try losing Ortiz, Rameriz, Loretta and a couple of pitchers and lets see how they perform then?
3. The young players have been tremendous, give Cashman and Torre a couple pats on the back for staying with these guys.
So all in all, I think were looking pretty good for the second half and it should be a lot of fun. First, however, lets award some first half awards:
MVP: Derek Jeter – He has been unstoppable. Batting .334 going into Sunday’s game with 98 hits and a great .425 OBP. Jeter is having a career year and is the glue behind the Yankees success despite injuries and illness.
Others to note: Giambi – A-Rod – Cano
CY Young: Mike Mussina – For a guy people say has gotten old, he is sure been a great fixture for the Yankees this year. So far he has accumulated a 9-3 record and a 3.17 ERA. He is clearly having one of his best years. More importantly his K to BB ratio is 104 to 22, which is a great sign. Each week the media says this is the week we should see Moose come back to earth and each week he gets stronger. Lets all hope he gets his 20 wins for the first time in his career this year.
Others to note: Chang Wang – Mariano Rivera
Rolaids Relief : Scott Proctor – Okay Rivera would be the easy pick, but the young Proctor has been the godsend for the bullpen this year. Despite a few rough outings recently, you have to admit he has done a fantastic job coming in for Torre.
Others to note: Matt Smith – Mariano Rivera – Ron Villone
ROY: Melky Cabera – No one is mentioning his name for AL Rookie of the Year… YET but look at his numbers .262 BA, .347 OBP, 21 K’s to only 16 BB’s and has been playing great defense. This kid is in my opinon the next Bernie Williams and he has earned his place on the roster. Melky is going to be a Yankee for a long long time.
Others to note: Matt Smith – Andy Phillips
Clutch Player of The Year: Jason Giambi – Folks Giambi is back. Batting .268 with a .626 slugging percentage Giambi has knocked in 24 homeruns and has 63 RBI’s so far. I suspect he is only getting warmed up as well. Another key thing to remember, he drives pitchers counts up and gets on base the most, leading the Yankees with a .430 OBP.
Others to note: Derek Jeter – Alex Rodriguez – Mike Mussina
Comeback Player of The Year: Bernie Williams – Can there be any other option here. A guy who many predicted would fade into retirement has been a huge factor this year for the Yankees covering in the outfield and producing with the bat. May not be the Williams of old, but his performance is better than 75% of the others in the league right now.
Others to note: Mike Mussina – Melky Cabera
Biggest Suprise of The Year: Robinson Cano – Listen to all the "experts" they all said the same thing. Barely average second basemen, won’t keep hitting like he did in 2005. Well, Cano has been making some great plays this year and his hitting is better than 2005. Hitting .325 with a .353 OBP. Cano before the injury was leading the Yankees in doubles at 17and has connected for 88 hits so far. Cano is a gem and good thing he is a Yankee.
Others to note: Chang Wang – Melky Cabera – Scott Proctor
Finally, what players might make their names known in the second half???
They all may get their shots and I think you are going to see some nice performances. In particular I really like Matt Smith and Colter Bean, two guys in the bullpen who are young and very talented.
With that lets hope we continue to get healthy and take out them Red Sox. This is a great team. Like I said, who can take the hits we have this year and still be 13 games over .500 at this point. Watch out MLB the Yankees are BACK!!!