• Rickt: I am the biggest Cal Jr fan around but one of my good friends played minor l...

I’m not here to harp on Dustin Pedroia’s victory in the AL Rookie of the Year voting.  In fact, we picked the diminutive one as the deserving candidate in a previous post. So while I commend the voters for not being swayed by things such as seemingly gaudy power numbers (Delmon Young) or name recognizition (Daisuke Matsuzaka), I do have to question how Jeremy Guthrie isn’t even in the top-8.

The voting went as follows: 1) Pedroia 2) D .Young 3) Brian Bannister 4) Matsuzaka 5) Reggie Willits 6) Hideki Okajima 7) Josh Fields 8) Joakim Soria

 You mean to tell me we couldn’t find a spot for a pitcher who posted a 3.70 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP over 175+ innings? Do I need to mention that he had a 2.62 K/BB ratio? The only thing I can think of as to why his name was omitted was that the voters saw he only had seven wins. But that’s not really his fault when he only received twelve decisions in 32 games pitched (26 starts).

In fact, in the months of May and June, the Oriole righty went through a stretch of ten starts during which he pitched 72 2/3 innings (that’s over seven innings per start) and allowed only 14 earned runs (1.73 ERA). He got two wins to show for it.  Sucks for him.

So where do I think he belongs on this list of also-rans? #2. Right behind Dustin Pedroia. Compared to Brian Bannister, Guthrie pitched more innings, had a lower ERA, same WHIP, with a far superior strikeout rate and K/BB ratio. The only area where Guthrie trailed? Wins. So naturally, Bannister is the #3 rookie and Guthrie’s name in nowhere to be found.

And so it goes for year-end awards.

14 Responses to “Do BBWAA Members Know Who Jeremy Guthrie Is?”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    ..Just when he sensed the Rockies were catching to his heater, Beckett mixes in his curve. Only to come back with a 97 mph rope to strike out Hawpe….

    Alejandro, undoubtedly Beckett is doing things in the postseason even the most rabid Sox fan wouldn’t dared dream of just a couple of weeks ago, but give some credit to Varitek. I know it’s sort of fashionable to mock all that but-he-calls-a-good-game stuff as sentimental hogwash (after all, Bill James never invented a stat for it, right, so it can’t be real!) but the man sure knows his stuff!

  2. Given hindsight, this line made me chuckle:

    9:19 Francis seems to be finding a groove. We might have ourselves a game if he can keep the Sox from scoring in the next two innings.

  3. Sarah, count me among the people who think that catchers “calling a good game” is incredibly overblown. Any pitcher who knows what they’re doing on the mound are the ones who actually call it. But obviously, the pitcher can’t be the one putting fingers down or else the hitter sees it. So the catchers do.

    What is important is that the catcher knows what pitch the guy on the mound likes to throw in what situation. If they’re not on the same page, the pitcher can get distracted. But ultimately, it’s the pitcher’s call, not the catcher’s.

  4. Sarah Green says:

    Yes, it’s ultimately the pitcher’s call. But the catchers study the matchups and the opposing lineup’s tendencies too, at least the good ones. And Curt Schilling is already on the record saying that Josh Beckett “isn’t exactly a charter member of Mensa.” I mean, the guy has a wicked curveball and a high-90s fastball, so maybe pitch selection isn’t as important for him anyway—unhittable is unhittable in any count. But Varitek has caught a number of no-hitters over the years, and in the most recent one, his pitcher didn’t shake him off once. No, it’s not a “Catcher’s Pitch-Calling Efficiency Park-Adjusted Rating,” but it is a certain kind of solid evidence. When you look at the Red Sox as a team, and you see how they’ve performed over recent years, the one absolute is that Varitek must be healthy. Not healthy enough to hit to his career .270, necessarily, but healthy enough to squat behind the plate every four out of five games. The two years that he missed significant time, the team has tanked in spectacular fashion—2001 (Varitek breaks elbow, misses most of season, Sox miss playoffs) and 2006 (Varitek needs knee surgery, misses about a month at end of season, Sox miss playoffs and finish third in the AL East). In Boston, we know what the stat-heads with the 30,000-foot view refuse to admit: the one position player the Red Sox simply cannot do without is Jason Varitek. To wit: Manny Ramirez missed almost a month this season, and the Sox still won the division and they’re now in the World Series. If Varitek had missed that month? We might have clinched the Wild Card, but I doubt we would have made it past the Indians.

  5. Paul, you are right that it is the pitcher’s call in the end. Much to Schilling’s dismay.

    Evidence A:
    June 7, 2007. Schilling shakes off Varitek.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270607111

    Evidence B:
    September 1, 2007. Listen to the catcher.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/recap?gameId=270901102

  6. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, two things: 1. According to these guys, Guthrie just had a great first half, not a great season, and even that was probably a fluke (thanks to the help of Nick’s favorite pitching coach), and 2. I was sure that Guthrie wasn’t even rookie eligible after spending parts of three seasons with the Indians, but I did the math and he didn’t break the innings barrier of 50 (he topped out at 37) and then did some Googling for info on his roster eligibility status…and according to Baseball America, who checked with the Orioles, Guthrie did not spend more than 45 days on the roster with Cleveland (not including post-Sept 1. roster expansion days, which don’t count against eligibility—Ellsbury is safe!). So, technically, he was eligible, but in actuality, spending parts of three seasons bouncing up and down between the minors and the bigs, plus an uninspiring second half, is probably what cost him the votes.

  7. But the award isn’t for “the best rookie in the second half”. It’s Rookie of the Year. Why should the 2nd half count more than the 1st? And reeally, if you look at the numbers, he didn’t really have a terrible second half – it was mostly the month of August. But despite this, he still had a 3.70 ERA. Isn’t that worth something?

    And I don’t buy the whole “it’s his third season” thing. He pitched 25 innings in the two years prior. The voters know this. Or at least, I hope they do. Either way, I don’t see how pitching 25 innings in two years prior to his first full season is worse than Japanese players who spent years playing pro ball and still qualifying for the award.

  8. Sarah Green says:

    I’m just saying that his season wasn’t very eye-catching, especially there at the end, and especially given the fact that he’s sort of bounced around a bit already. When the Orioles picked him up, he was already considered used goods. For a player to overcome that and win the ROY, he would have to have a stellar season. Though I admit, it would have been nice if at least one voter had saw fit to put him *some*where on the ballot.

  9. Nick Kapur says:

    Good points Paul. I’m glad somebody is sticking up for my boy Guthrie (who I knew at Stanford; incidentally, he may have baseball’s hottest wife). I’m also glad to go back and see that I ranked Guthrie as the 3rd best AL Rookie back in my October 2 post.

  10. Sarah, I think I understand what you’re saying, although I’m not sure if that’s how you personally feel (that someone like Bannister or Willits really did have a better rookie campaign than Guthrie) or if you’re trying to rationalize why the voters overlooked him.

    If he qualifies for ROY voting, why shouldn’t he be voted for? Yeah, his 2nd half wasn’t exactly stellar, but the overall result is the same (or at least it should be). And the Mazzone Factor has been greatly exaggerated. The Orioles pitching during his tenure has been no better than before Rockin’ Leo came on board.

    And while it may be true that his 2008 may not end up being as good as his 2007, I bet that it’ll still be better than Bannister’s. That guy has fluke written all over him. You could replay the season 100 times and he probably wouldn’t have put up those numbers again. He was never a big prospect in the Mets farm system and he will never post these numbers ever again.

    And if we’re only counting second half stats (or weighing them far more heavily than the first half), Reggie Willits doesn’t even come close to belonging there.

  11. Sarah Green says:

    Paul, I was more trying to explain why the voters overlooked him. In truth, writers are lazy (I speak from experience). They probably did more research into the NL rookies, where the competition was more fierce. Since Dustin Pedroia was the overwhelming winner on the AL side, most folks probably just ranked him first and then put in a couple other rookies they’d heard of in slots 2 and 3 without thinking too much about it.

  12. Nick, as a responsible blogger, you must provide photographic proof of your claim regarding Jenny Guthrie. Your readers must be allowed to decide for themselves.

    Please?

  13. Nick Kapur says:

    I wish I could, Rick. I wish I could!

    But alas, I am not currently in posession of any photographic evidence, although if I ever get ahold of any, umpbump readers will be the first to know!

    Until then, we will all just have to rely on my solemn word as a gentleman.

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