When MLB announced the AL Cy Young award finalists on November 5, one deserving starting pitcher was snubbed. This is the case for Trevor Bauer.
On Monday, November 5th, BBWAA announced the finalists for their yearly awards. Among them, the BBWA announced the finalists for the American League Cy Young Award. The three candidates were Blake Snell, Justin Verlander, and Corey Kluber. One pitcher was unjustifiably left off the list: Trevor Bauer.
Not-so subtly suggesting that he was snubbed, Trevor Bauer tweeted out soon after the finalists were announced:
He has a point.
If you compare Bauer to the three AL Cy Young finalists, you can make the statistical argument that besides Blake Snell, the second best pitcher in the AL was Trevor Bauer.
In fact, in contrast to the three finalists, Trevor Bauer only falls short in two categories: IP and BABIP.
In terms of falling short in IP, Trevor Bauer landed on the DL after suffering a stress fracture on his right fibula back in August. Bauer was reactivated from the DL 40 days later, on September 21 and only appeared in three games, pitching just 9.1 IP until the end of the season.
Prior to landing on the DL, Trevor Bauer averaged more IP per start than anyone one of the finalists except Corey Kluber.
Can we really fault Bauer for getting hurt and missing significant time?
Also, while there is no argument that Blake Snell had better traditional stats than Bauer did…
- W-L%: Snell – .808 / Bauer – .667
- ERA: Snell – 1.89 / Bauer – 2.21
…Bauer edges Snell in prominent advanced stats:
- K/9: Bauer – 11.34 / Snell – 11.08
- BB/9: Bauer – 2.93 / Snell – 3.19
- HR/9: Bauer – 0.46 / Snell – 0.8
- GB%: Bauer – 44.5 / Snell – 44.7
- HR/FB: Bauer – 6.2 / Snell – 10.7
- FIP: Bauer – 2.44 / Snell – 2.95
- xFIP: Bauer – 3.14 / Snell – 3.16
- fWAR: Bauer – 6.1 / Snell – 4.6
FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) is the most telling of the advanced stats because it only takes into account what the pitcher can control (i.e. strikeouts, walks, hit-by-pitches, and home runs). Clearly, when we take those into account, Trevor Bauer was a more efficient pitcher than Blake Snell and the other finalists.
Why then is Trevor Bauer not considered an AL Cy Young Award finalist?
Your guess is just as good as mine.