Friday, November 18, 2011


Cole Hamels defenders have a right to be wondering the following:

--Why he finished fifth in the NL CYA behind Ian Kennedy;
--Why we left him out of our earlier discussion.

Our conjecture concerning the former is that voters (who are political as much as they are analytical) simply didn't want to have a monolithic vote for Philadelphia pitchers.

That's understandable, but not necessarily condonable.

We simply got so caught up in Phase I of the hand-to-hand combat over Clayton Kershaw that we simply neglected to run the numbers for Hamels. (And, sure, we were occupied sharpening our knives.)

When we run the QMAX numbers for Hamels, we discover that there is a fourth pitcher who deserves to be in the thick of the discussion. According to our numbers, he is just a razor's edge behind Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee and the difference is slight enough that it's clearly "throw a blanket over 'em" time.

Hamels' QWP is .667, just a tad under the other two Phillies aces. (Note: we do not include Hamels' relief tune-up performance on the final day of the season in these calculations.) His top hit prevention percentage (S12) is 52%, comparing favorably with Lee (50%) and just under Kershaw (58%) and Tim Lincecum (55%).

Another reason why Hamels may have been downgraded to fifth is that the lessons of last year (King Felix's AL CYA win despite a 13-12 record) have not quite percolated down into the lower levels of the ballot process. Again, understandable but not condonable. Hamels had the least number of wins out of the great Philly troika, but a strong case can be made that these guys finished in a dead heat.

Here are the expanded QMAX rankings and range data lists, which include Hamels and Lincecum, who finished sixth on the ballot. Rob Neyer is once again overreacting with a strange variant of the Stalinism that seems to infect those who wrap their lips around the Fangraphs exhaust pipe, excoriating the stray voters who picked The Freak over Hamels or Kennedy, but these votes may well have come from a different impetus.

Lincecum had the worst run support of anyone in the NL last year. The Giants scored an average of 2.81 runs in his starts. Quite possibly these were sympathy votes: possibly a bit more condonable than missing the true level of Hamels' achievement.

QMAX suggests that the voting order for the NL CYA is Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kennedy. If that gets us excommunicated from the little world of sabermetrics (wait, didn't that already happen at least once??), then so be it.