Wagner for Cy Young? And other Mets news

During last night’s Mets/Marlins game, Gary Cohen alluded to Billy Wagner’s name coming up in the Cy Young discussion. That was the first time I had heard it and I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised.

Wags is now the NL saves leader with 38, overtaking Trevor Hoffman last night. But when it comes to statistics, that’s about the only category he leads. He’s got a solid 2.14 ERA, but not only is it not tops among closers (Hoffman, 1.87) and not even tops on his own team (Pedro Feliciano, 1.82). And while his 1.07 WHIP is good, Hoffman beats him there, too (0.98). As a matter of fact, total strikeouts (86) and K’s/9 innings (11.8) are the only significant categories in which Wagner is ahead.

Now I realize that the NL isn’t exactly brimming with other Cy Young candidates. Brad Penny leads the NL in wins with 16 but his ERA isn’t exactly stellar (4.04). Brandon Webb has been the only real bright spot for Arizona this season and he’s got 15 wins and a great 3.00 ERA, but he hasn’t ever really showed any true Cy Young dominance. So is there really anyone worthy of the award this year? I don’t know, but the looking at the numbers, Trevor Hoffman seems more logical to me than Billy Wagner.

Random Former Met News

  • Jason Tyner. Okay, he was only a Met for a short time in 2000, but he was definitely memorable. For some reason, Gary Cohen mentioned him last night and said that he still doesn’t have a home run in his career. I found that quite astounding, given that he’s had over 1000 career at-bats. But then, looking into it, I learned that he never hit a home run in the minors either! To take it one step further, he also never had a home run in his four years at Texas A & M! How ridiculous is that?! I mean, I can understand a guy not being a power hitter and all that, but to know that he’s never gotten lucky, never had the wind carry a fly ball, never gotten the benefit of a close call on a foul ball down the line… wow.
  • Braden Looper. He’s not a guy too many Mets fans recall fondly, but have you noticed the season he’s having in the Cardinals bullpen? He’s 9-1 for god’s sake! NINE and ONE! The same Braden Looper who the Mets couldn’t give away last year. He’s got a decent ERA (3.48) and has only given up three home runs all season, something he routinely did in a single week while with the Mets. Now I know that we’ve said time and again how wins don’t really matter as far as pitcher’s stats are concerned (see Steve Trachsel’s 14), but there’s not way around the fact that Looper is having a pretty damned good year.

8 Responses to “Wagner for Cy Young? And other Mets news”

  1. Irish_eagle says:

    I don’t know. I read something on mets.com the other day where I first saw Wagner’s name mentioned. I’m not keen on relievers as Cy Young winners.

    There are still a few weeks left. I will not be surprised if Oswalt manages to do enough to win the title. He had a rough first half, but he’s been pretty good lately. If he wins his last three starts to go 16-8 with an ERA under 3, I’d give it to him. He’s Cy Young material.

  2. Irish_eagle says:

    Looper is not a bad set-up man, but he cannot close. I remember watching the Marlins team down the stretch a few years ago when Looper was replaced as the closer by, …, it’ll come to me. Anyway, Looper was used as set-up the rest of the way. I was really annoyed when the Mets went and got him to close.

  3. Irish_eagle says:

    It was Urbina. Ugeuth Urbina who closed for Florida in September and October – the year they won it all.

  4. Chris Wilcox says:

    Oh, I commented about this the other day, but it got lost when the site got redone (again).

    Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter are, to me, the only two clear-cut contenders for Cy Young, with Carpenter emerging as the favorite. Carpenter has really come along in the second half to put up strong numbers for the Cardinals, and along with Pujols gives them a puncher’s chance in the playoffs (any team that has the best pitcher and the best hitter in any series needs to be respected). Carpenter leads all starters in ERA and WHIP, and is top 5 in strikeouts. Webb is #2 in ERA and WHIP, has a ridiculous groundball/flyball ratio of 3.9 (only Derek Lowe’s is better) and has one more win on Carpenter (which is weird because Carpenter plays on a better team, but Webb is getting 5.71 runs per start, while Carpenter is getting 5.36).

    They are pretty even, and a lot can change between now and the end of the season, but those are the two guys I think that should be getting the talk. Brad Penny isn’t even the best pitcher on his team (Derek Lowe is having a really good season that is flying under the radar because Penny has two more wins than he does). As for Wagner, I’m of the opinion that the only way a relief pitcher should be the Cy Young Award winner is if he has a “Gagne in 2003-04″ type season, where he is so dominant, you almost can’t give it to anybody else. Wagner is falling far short of that expectation, and the only reason he even enters the conversation is because no pitcher is having a blowaway season this year (though I think Carpenter and Webb are being slept on a little; they’re both having tremendous years, but they don’t have the aura of dominance you’d expect from a Cy Young winner).

    I like that the Mets are trying to pimp one of their own, but in Wagner’s case, I can’t see it.

  5. Josh W says:

    Trevor Hoffman should be the NL Cy Young Award winner this year. His stats are better than Steve Bedrosian in 1987 when he won it and are similar to Mark Davis’ in 1989 when he won it. Plus he just became the all-time saves leader. Neither Carpernter nor Webb are Cy Young materail this year. Trevor Hoffman deserves it.

  6. Chris Wilcox says:

    I COMPLETELY disagree. Just because the Cy Young Award votes in 1987 made a mistake giving Bedrock the Cy Young, or voters in 1989 giving the award to Mark Davis, doesn’t mean voters in 2006 should make the same mistake. Brandon Webb and Chris Carpenter have pretty much been neck-and-neck the best starting pitchers in the NL this year, and Roy Oswalt has worked his way into the conversation. Trevor Hoffman may not even be the best relief pitcher in the NL this year (Takashi Saito has had a really good year himself, striking out over twelve batters per nine with an ERA at 2.15). Like I said, unless a reliever has a year like Gagne had before he got hurt, I can’t justify giving them the Cy Young, and no reliever has been that dominant. To me, it has to be either Webb, Carpenter, or Oswalt; if Penny gets it based on win totals, the NL Cy Young voting needs to be seriously revamped.

  7. J.R. McIlroy says:

    Yo Wilcox, I seriously need to get a little of what your smoking. The Padres don’t have a Pujols. And if you saw the game between the two teams tonight, you would know Carpenter got F’d up with about 13 hits, and Trevor came in the ninth and does what he always does about 93% of the time-get the W. Why does everybody seem to forget about closers? Is their role any less critical. Trevor averages over 1 SO per inning, and, if you haven’t been paying attention, just broke the all-time MLB saves record. Not to mention he isn’t pitching for the Cardinals or some other dominating team. How can you even suggest he’s not the best reliever in the NL. Look at the record holders in other areas, Nolan Ryan, Cy Young, Hank Aaron, Ricky Henderson…. why should a relief pitcher be any different. You gotta be crazy or one hell of a Card’s fan if you don’t think Trevor deserves this. He performs his role virtually flawlessly, and that’s what the award is about- contributing to your team’s succss by performing your role with perfection. PUJOLS?!!! – The Cy Young award isn’t about having an All-Star hitter behind you. You must play too many video games. The award is aboud individual accomplishment, and who has accomplished more than Trevor- on the PADRES!, not exactly the NY Yankees. Stay on the subject. If Trevor doesn’t get the Cy Young award this year, then all relief pitchers can pretty much just give all hope now. He is the reason the Friars are where they are right now. Credit where credit is due. The man is a machine. Trevor for Cy Young, no doubt, case closed. He is as close to perfection in his role as it gets, and that’s what this award is about.

  8. Chris Wilcox says:

    Sir, I’m not sure you make anything resembling a point in favor of Hoffman.

    The Cy Young Award has nothing to do with hitting, you’re right. Never said it did. Carpenter doesn’t win games because he has Pujols in his lineup; though as I’ve discussed on here, he really has nothing BUT Pujols in his lineup. Carpenter’s stat line: 221.7 IP, 194 H, 43 BB (1.07 WHIP), 184 K, 3.09 ERA, 15-8. Not bad; may not stand out as Cy Young to some, but in a year with no strong contenders, it could win. Just to clarify…those are his PSIOP, which is an abbreviation for Pitching Stats Independent of Pujols (which actually isn’t true; surely Pujols has won at least a few of those games for Carpenter).

    Here’s another guy I’ve said is a very strong Cy Young candidate, Brandon Webb. Unlike Carpenter, you can’t make the argument “He has Pujols,” because the Diamondbacks don’t have Pujols, or really anybody near as good as him, in their lineup. His line: 231 IP, 208 H, 48 BB (1.11 WHIP), 173 K, 2.88 ERA, 16-7. WHIP is higher, strikeouts are lower in more innings, but he’s allowed fewer runs (he’s also allowed only 15 homers playing at a much bigger hitter’s park; Carpenter has allowed 21). Who’s better? My gut says Webb, but I think he gets jobbed out because the Diamondbacks haven’t been very good in games he hasn’t started. But I think Webb has been a little bit better, and is very deserving of the award. Again, talking about what the PITCHERS have done without mentioning hitters.

    Then there’s Roy Oswalt, who, again, doesn’t have a Pujols (at least he has a Berkman, which puts him ahead of Webb). Really, outside of Berkman, the Astros’ lineup is a vast pile of suck, and it’s a credit to Berkman and the Astros’ pitching staff that they’ve hung in there as long as they have. Oswalt’s line: 213.7 IP, 216 H, 36 BB (1.18 WHIP), 160 K, 3.07 ERA, 14-8. The fourteen wins will keep Oswalt from the award, which is a shame because he can’t help what the shitty Astros offense does to win games for Houston. The WHIP is a little high, strikeouts are a little low, but…that’s still a good line. Who’s the best of the three pitchers I’ve mentioned so far? I think Webb, but I think the award will go to Penny (who I think is the inferior pitcher, but if I were to note all the pitchers I think are better than Trevor Hoffman in this debate, I’ll be here all night).

    Now, relievers. First of all, relievers should rarely win the Cy Young Award. Why? Because frankly, for the most part, starters are more valuable. When a starter gives a team sustained excellence over 200+ innings, that is more beneficial than sustained excellence by a reliever over 80+ innings. The Cy Young is about the most valuable pitcher, and to me, the most valuable pitcher is the one who, over the long haul, does more to keep a team in games. A starting pitcher who can keep the lead for their team from innings 1 through 7 is more important than a pitcher who comes in and pitches one inning, even if it is the last inning. Based on probability, a team that leads after seven innings is TREMENDOUSLY favored to win the game. That’s why, unless it’s a hard-to-ignore season by a closer, a starter should always win the Cy Young over a reliever.

    You give the stat that Trevor Hoffman took the all time saves record this year. Let’s ignore the fact that saves are by and large a ridiculous stat. While it’s an accomplishment for Hoffman to rack up all of those saves, how do they justify giving him the Cy Young Award this year? Great, for a long time, Hoffman has been a reliable part of the Padres’ bullpen; the Cy Young isn’t a lifetime achievement award, it’s an award of who the best pitcher in 2006 has been. Trevor Hoffman hasn’t been the best Padres’ pitcher in 2006, much less the National League’s best pitcher.

    Relievers better than Hoffman? Let’s do some comparisons. I’m leaving out worthless stats like wins, losses, and saves here because they are worthless when discussing relievers.

    Trevor Hoffman: 61 IP, 45 H, 12 BB (0.93 WHIP), 50 K (by the way, this would be a K/9 rate of 7.37, which is lower than a batter per inning), 1.92 ERA.
    Takashi Saito: 75.3 IP, 45 H, 23 BB (0.90 WHIP), 101 K (12.07 K/9), 2.15 ERA.

    I’m calling that one for Saito; it’s close, and Hoffman hasn’t had a bad season by any means, but…Saito is more dominant (12.07 K/9 is VERY good).

    I realize you’re probably a Padres fan, but you have to look at your team realistically. I’m sure I could make a case for Billy Wagner if I wanted to, but I don’t think he’s Cy Young, or anything close to it. I could probably make an MVP case for Beltran, but that would require ignoring great seasons by Ryan Howard and Albert Pujols. In this case, there are many, many pitchers better than Trevor Hoffman in the NL (I haven’t even discussed the possibility that Hoffman may not even be the best RELIEVER on his team; Cla Hoffman has an ERA of 0.72). The best three pitchers in the NL in 2006 have been Webb, Carpenter, and Oswalt, and those are the three pitchers most deserving of the Cy Young (though, again, Penny will probably win it).

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