Grading the work of BBWAA MLB award voters

Oct 3, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) removes his helmet during an at bat against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 3, 2022; Oakland, California, USA; Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) removes his helmet during an at bat against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning at RingCentral Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /
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Sandy Alcantara. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Sandy Alcantara. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Grade: A+

Happily, the winning of this award by Miami Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara was a foregone conclusion long before it was made official Wednesday night.

Taking nothing away from runners-up Max Fried and Julio Urias, but any other outcome would have been a travesty.

At +8.0, Alcantara led the NL in pitcher WAR by two full games (over Aaron Nola, +6.0). He was as far ahead of Nola as Nola was ahead of Corbin Burnes (+4.0) back in 13th place.

Alcantara’s superiority was forged both on his performance and his workload. Begin with the latter. Alcantara pitched 228.2 innings during the season, 23.2 innings (11.5 percent) more than anybody else in the league.

Again, comparisons provide perspective. In terms of innings pitched, the gap between Alcantara and the runner-up (Nola) was as wide as the gap between Nola and the guy back in 12th place, German Marquez.

But it wasn’t just workload. Alcantara built on that huge advantage by finishing second (2.28) to Urias (2.16) in ERA and first in Win Probability Added (5.4).

He added six complete games in 2022. That was twice as many as any MLB team, the Phillies and Cardinals staffs both completing three games.

In the matter of Fried versus Urias, voters justifiably gave the nod to the Atlanta pitcher. Urias had the better ERA (2.16 to Fried’s 2.48), but again workload is a major tipping point. In pitching, you get participation points.

Fried produced 185.1 innings of labor for the Braves, 10 more than Urias. That’s basically one full game. Urias did have a slightly better win-loss record (17-7 vs. Fried’s 14-7). But hey, wins were cheap in LA this season.

Beyond that, Fried had the better WAR, 5.9 to Urias’ 4.9. In fact, both Nola (6.0) and San Francisco’s Carlos Rodon (5.4) should have figured in the WAR mix. All that got them was a distant fourth (for Nola) and a more distant sixth (for Rodon, behind Zac Gallon) in the voting.