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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

2003-08-27 08:34
by Jon Weisman

It's silly to talk now about who will win the Cy Young Award, because the award is very often won in September. Take 2002, when Randy Johnson stepped up to take the prize from teammate Curt Schilling.

But as Cy Young Fever gripped this week with a series of articles and polls, one candidate was being dismissed almost out of hand. And though it may be too early to annoint a winner, it wouldn't be too early to make sure someone's nominated.

Out of more than 23,000 votes, Hideo Nomo received 3.8 percent for the National League Cy Young award. Russ Ortiz received four times as many, despite an ERA that is nearly a full run higher than Nomo's.

Let's not even debate Ortiz vs. Nomo - if people follow the Joe Morgan line of thinking that Ortiz's three additional victories on the high-scoring Braves matter more than ERA, there's probably no saving them.

However, we can look at Nomo vs. Kevin Brown. Tuesday, Jim Baker wrote on Insider of Nomo, "He is the second-best starter on his team. To be logical, that means he cannot possibly win the award in place of the best starter, Brown."

Is it true that Brown is better than Nomo? To compare:

Wins: Brown 12, Nomo 15
Run Support: Brown 4.08, Nomo 4.44

Nomo has more wins, but has benefited from better run support.

ERA: Brown 2.15, Nomo 2.70
Unearned runs allowed: Brown 9, Nomo 4
Runs Allowed per 9 Innings: Brown 2.62, Nomo 2.88

Brown has a better ERA, though it is mitigated by the number of unearned runs he has allowed. Unfair to bring those up? Isn't part of being a good pitcher being able to overcome your teammates' mistakes? Many argue that distinguishing between earned and unearned runs is a waste of time.

Nevertheless, Brown has a significantly better ERA and a slightly better RA.

Innings pitched: Brown 172, Nomo 190 1/3
Starts: Brown 26, Nomo 28
Innings per start: Brown 6.6, Nomo 6.8

Nomo has been slightly more durable.

To this point, Brown has a tiny, tiny edge on Nomo as the best pitcher on the team. Wins vs. run support cancels out as a factor, and innings works in Nomo's favor, but the narrow edge in runs allowed pulls Brown ahead.

Win Shares, according to, supports Brown's case while illustrating just how close this race is. Brown is third in the NL with 16.44 win shares. Nomo is fourth, with 16.23.

Now, Nomo is certainly within range to pull ahead of Brown - and everyone else - with a strong September. ERA advantages, for example, can easily swing in a month.

However, these factors are working against Nomo.

Strikeouts per 9 Innings: Brown 7.90, Nomo 7.28
The more strikeouts you get, the less you rely on the luck of the ball finding your fielders. Advantage, Brown.

Opponents' On-Base Percentage: Brown .283, Nomo .296
Opponent's Slugging Percentage: Brown .310, Nomo .331
Opponent's OPS: Brown .593, Nomo .628

Nomo's slightly higher runs-allowed numbers are no fluke - they are reflective of how he gives up more baserunners and extra-base hits than Brown. If you wagering, the odds are against Nomo gaining ERA ground on Brown.

Nomo and Brown will have approximately seven more starts this season. If Nomo wins five of those, he gets 20 wins - and as Russ Ortiz shows us, wins can have a unreasonably powerful effect on legitimizing one's Cy Young candidacy.

Based on the important numbers, however, the pundits are correct to pick Brown as the best Dodger starter.

* * *

Update: Dodger postseason chances, from Baseball Prospectus
Today: Still waiting
August 26: 3.6 percent
August 25: 3.1 percent
August 24: 4.4 percent
August 23: 6.5 percent
August 22: 5.8 percent
August 21: 4.2 percent
August 20: 2.3 percent

Projected NL Wild-Card Standings as of August 26
Wins ... Team
88 ... Philadelphia
87 ... Florida
86 ... Arizona
86 ... Houston
85 ... St. Louis
84 ... Los Angeles
82 ... Montreal

In an otherwise impatient, lonely world, the teeming crowd is shoving the Dodgers back from a train that refuses to leave them behind.

* * *

Feeling bad about Brian Giles? Console yourself with Aaron Boone's continued struggles: .478 OPS and now, according to Will Carroll at Baseball Prospectus, "a sprained ankle which he turned, embarrassingly, while running out to his position."

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