Monday, November 4, 2013
Dose of Darvish: Looking at Yu's win total
By Todd Wills
The voting for the American League Cy Young Award will be announced Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Detroit's Max Scherzer is the runaway favorite to win the award because of his 21 victories. The Rangers' Yu Darvish will pick up significant support and likely finish among the top five in the voting.
Darvish is one of the top five pitchers in the American League, and the Baseball Writers' Association of America is expected to back that opinion. He had a major league-leading 277 strikeouts and flirted with a perfect game in April and a no-hitter in August. Yet Darvish's 2013 season will be remembered for what could have been.
Is this fair?
Let's try to decide over the next week, starting with Darvish's win total. We'll look at his major league-leading strikeout total -- and what that means -- and then his tough-luck losses before the voting is released next week.
The case against Darvish on whether 2013 was a successful season begins with his win total. I know, I know, many of you believe a pitcher's win total is overrated. It will be the case made against Scherzer and for his teammate Anibal Sanchez, who had a league-leading 2.57 ERA to go with 14 wins.
But this is about Darvish.
He won 13 games and lost nine in 32 starts for a Rangers team that finished one victory from making it to the postseason and five games behind the Oakland A's in the AL West. The Rangers were 17-15 in Darvish's starts. If that total had been 18 or 19…
Fourteen American League pitchers won more games than Darvish. Oakland's Bartolo Colon had 18 wins. Ex-Ranger C.J. Wilson had 17 wins for the Angels. Baltimore's Chris Tillman had 16. R.A. Dickey, who played on a bad Toronto team, and Darvish's countryman Hisashi Iwakuma, who played for a mediocre Seattle club, each won 14 games. That's just a glance at a handful of pitchers.
Say what you want about the value of wins as an important stat for pitchers. Those who say it's an overvalued statistic can point to only one starter on the World Series champion Boston Red Sox who won more games than Darvish: Jon Lester, with 15 wins. The Red Sox were 19-14 in Lester's starts. That's not that far off from what Darvish produced in one fewer start.
Still, 13 wins is a total that falls under expectations for a pitcher of Darvish's caliber. Most of us penciled in 18 wins or more for him before the season started.
Yes, Darvish lost a record four games by 1-0 scores. And give him some credit. In the 10 starts in which he recorded a no-decision, he had a 2.98 ERA.
Rangers manager Ron Washington asks one thing of his pitchers -- keep his team in games. Darvish did that. The Rangers were 5-1 in his six September starts. As Darvish pitched with a back injury, his team won games, even though he went past six innings in just two of those starts.
Does Darvish's win total diminish his season? Sound off and let's hear your opinion.