Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Mets ace Jacob deGrom has been the best pitcher in the National League this season. Better than Max Scherzer. Better than Aaron Nola. As it stands right now, he should be the frontrunner for the Cy Young award.
But he might not be, because of his won/loss record. And that's the one big difference between deGrom and the above pitchers.
Scherzer is 15-5
Nola is 13-3
DeGrom is 7-7
That deGrom doesn't have nearly as many wins as Scherzer or Nola shouldn't matter, since it's not a reflection of how he's performed. But to some, it still does matter.
A number of columnists with Cy Young award votes have cited in the last few weeks the need for deGrom to rack up more wins in order for him to have a real chance to win the award. Why?
On Friday afternoon, Phillies announcer Tom McCarthy said during an appearance on MLB Network that after using the "eye test," he thinks the Cy Young race should come down to Scherzer and Nola. He also cited wins and losses as part of that reasoning.
The idea that wins and losses for pitchers matters isn't a crazy one, since it's been part of the national conversation around baseball for over a century. It's just one that's incredibly outdated and should be getting near the point of extinction thanks to what advanced statistics tell us about the performance of pitchers.
The one time won/loss record might tell us something is if one pitcher generally didn't last long during the games he started, while another did. But that isn't the case with deGrom, Scherzer, and Nola. DeGrom has tossed 159 innings over 24 starts, Scherzer 168.2 innings over 25 starts, and Nola 154 innings over 24 starts.
Winning 20 games in a season used to be the benchmark, and winning 300 games in a career used to be the number needed for automatic entry into the Hall of Fame.
But as the game has changed, so have the stats used to best evaluate performance. And the won/loss stat for pitchers may be the least important stat of them all.
So, is it time to kill the win? Or should a stat that is team-reliant still be used to help evaluate one individual?