Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Your Gil Meche Cy Young update

This is a cool feature from ESPN, a Cy Young predictor developed by Kansas City's own Rob Neyer and [insert reverential, superlative nickname here] Bill James. As of today, Boston's Josh Beckett is the favorite, followed by Todd Jones, John Lackey, Dan Haren, Al Reyes and -- the man, the myth, the legend -- Gil Meche (that's his award pictured to the right).

Anyway, I'll tell you what's not cool anymore: the Meche Meter. In fact, I'm dropping the thing, since the idea was the KC Star's to start and they can't seem to 1) keep it updated, or 2) make up their mind as to what exactly it entails. Here's the meter now, after recent modifications.

But even without a graphic, I think we're smart enough to know when our ace pitches well -- like last night -- and when he doesn't -- like... hmm, I can't remember.

For more, there's this Sporting News message board thread, started by a guy who thinks Beckett is a shoo-in for the Cy Young because he has a lot of wins. Never mind, for a moment, that he definitely would have taken the loss this past Sunday had the Red Sox' potent offense not scored six in the bottom of the 9th, or that, between blisters and bleeding fingers, one wonders if his skin isn't maybe just a bit too soft for baseball; the point I want to make here is that people who write stuff like this -- "why?? because winning is the only stat that matters. the end" -- in support of the claim that a pitcher's win-loss record is the best indicator of his value are stupid. It's people who think like that that allowed Bartolo McFatty Colon to win the Cy Young in 2005, when either Mariano Rivera (1.38 ERA, 43 saves) or Johan Santana (a much better pitcher by so many statistical measures) would have been the better choice. Correction: Much better choice.

(Not completely unrelated, here's a terrible headline [via Fire Joe Morgan].)

But I digress.

If you scroll down in that SN message board, notredame_12 has just two words for you:

gil meche

That's the spirit, nd_12! Whoever you are.

POSTSCRIPT: If you clicked on the "better choice" link and now wish for something else amusing to read, check out Inside Science News' follow-up story. Here's an excerpt:
The official results are in! A mathematical model for predicting the Cy Young award voting results yielded both of the 2005 winners... However, the model's inventors made a small human error they would later regret: Prior to the awards, they overrode the model's American League prediction by saying that New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera would win the title, rather than the model's choice of Bartolo Colon, who turned out to be the correct pick.
This just goes to show that we can fight the impending cybernetic revolution, but it will do us no good. We're doomed to this.

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