Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Schoenfield: Chapman not a legitimate Cy Young candidate


I'm usually one to agree with what ESPN.com's David Schoenfield has to say. The longtime baseball writer is full of insightful opinions and thoughts, however, I have to respectfully disagree with his most recent argument.

In this post published Tuesday afternoon, Schoenfield argues that Reds closer Aroldis Chapman shouldn't be considered a legitimate Cy Young Award candidate. While I certainly believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion, you better back your opinion up with some good reasoning if you're going to persuade anyone else to buy in. I don't think Schoenfield made a very compelling case for his. Here's why.

His main argument consists of pointing out that Chapman isn't the only closer around the league having success this season. And in fact, he's right about that. Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel, Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan and Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney are all having dominant seasons for their respective clubs. But with that said, there's no question that Chapman has been the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball this year and is perhaps having the most dominant individual campaign a reliever has ever had...ever.

He also makes light of Chapman's four blown saves and four losses -- all of which came during a two-week stretch in June. Outside of that span which consisted of seven appearances (0-4, 8 ER, 5.2 IP), the Cuban native has been literally unstoppable in 2012. He owns a tidy 1.25 ERA, 34 saves, 0.708 WHIP, 15.9 SO/9, 7.19 K/BB and 2.2 BB/9 in 61 outings (65.0 IP) overall. And if you take out those seven outings from that rough stretch in mid-June, he's allowed exactly ONE run in 55 games spanning 59.2 innings. That would make his ERA a mind-boggling 0.152, his record 5-0, and his save conversion rate 100% (34/34).

Furthermore, Chapman has simply terrorized the National League. He has posted a 0.30 ERA in 55 games (59.2 IP), struck out 108 batters, and has not allowed a single homer against NL competition this year. He holds the single-season club record for consecutive save conversions (26) -- a streak that dates back to late-June and is still active.

He ranks first in the league among all relievers in ERA, strikeouts, saves, and WAR (3.6). He ranks second in BAA (.133), OBP (.203), SLG (.213), OPS (.417), K/BB, DIPS (1.28) and DIP% (1.03), among other categories.

Now I'm not saying that Chapman should be viewed as the clear-cut favorite to win baseball's most prestigious pitching award, but what I am saying is that it's preposterous to say he isn't at least a candidate. He obviously has to contend with the traditional view that starters are worth more than relievers, which in many respects is true. A pitcher with 200+ innings is usually more valuable to his team than a pitcher with less than 80. However, what Chapman has done this season shouldn't be just brushed by the wayside like Schoenfield suggests.

Chapman is among a strong field of NL pitchers contending for the award including New York's R.A. Dickey, Washington's Gio Gonzalez, St. Louis' Kyle Lohse and even Reds teammate Johnny Cueto. And despite what a select few of the talking heads or traditionalists may project, I fully expect Chapman to finish in the top five of the Cy Young voting at the very minimal.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Cuban Randy Johnson, from Holguin, great city, the Loma de Cruz, Look out Miabe, beautiful people, not to shabby pitcher as well.