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August 26, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Reader Mail

Once again, I can't think of anything to write about, so I decided to answer some of the email I get from my readers. Unfortunately, most of the emails from my readers ask me to add their page to my links, telling me I'm an idiot, or are are replies to My Details and My Application. So I decided to make some up.

Davey from Bayport, NY asks:
Should Andy Pettitte win the Cy Young Award this year?
God, no. I don't want to live in a world in which a pitcher with a 4.01 ERA wins the Cy Young Award. Even if you assume he pitches the way he has in the past month the rest of the season, his ERA will still be about 3.60, and that's way too high for my tastes, especially when there's a few pitchers under 3.00

However, if you're asking, "CAN Pettite win the Cy Young," the answer is, "Probably not, but he might".

You see, Davey, the Cy Young Award Voters are enamoured with a pitcher's won-lost record, and like many fans, think that how many games a pitcher wins in a season is a good indication of how well he pitched. Which is, of course, ridiculous--you're essentially handing out a pitching award based upon how good the offense the pitcher played with was. ERA is a much better indication of how good a pitcher has pitched, and DIPS is probably even better than that, because it takes defense out of the equation at the small expense of removing whatever ability a pitcher has to prevent hits on balls in play, which isn't very much.

But I digress. Pettitte's 16 wins are tied with Chicago's Esteban Loaiza for 2nd in the AL, behind only Roy Halladay. If Pettite can win the rest of his starts, he'll have 22 wins, and if nobody else wins 20, that might be enough. Pettitte's remaining starts are against Boston, Toronto, Detroit, Tampa Bay twice and Chicago. He's got a good shot at 20, but he'll likely have to go past that for the Cy. Still, there's an outside shot.

Really, if you want a Cy Young Award candidate from the Yankees, Mike Mussina is your guy. He'll need Loaiza to slip down the stretch and to pitch well himself, but his numbers are worthy of consideration all around.

Billy from Sayville, NY asks:
The Yankees suck. Your website sucks. YOU suck.
That's not a question, Billy.

Geoff from Wyomissing, PA writes:
What's the deal with this Alfonso Soriano Wager Watch thing, Larry? How could you possibly call yourself a Yankees fan while wagering that a Yankee will do badly?
Well, Geoff, I'm not wagering that he'll do badly--I mean, how much can a player who hits .299 with 39 HRs and 113.98 RC suck? That would have put him in the top 25 players last season, and he's a second baseman! The point of the wager was to show that Soriano's 2002 probably wasn't the start of something historic, and that's as good as he'll ever be, and probably better than he'll be the rest of his career, unless he greatly improves his walk rate. To some degree he's done both of those things, but not to the degree I think he needs to.

Of course I want Soriano to cost me the wagers, I just don't expect him to. And if he doesn't, I'll have $30 worth of food to console me.

Kenny from Newark, NY writes:
Should Japanese players like Hideki Matsui be considered for the Rookie of the Year after playing in Japan
Of course they should, Kenny. The only qualification to win the Rookie of the Year is that you enter the season with fewer than 130 ABs, 50 IP, and 45 days on the ML roster. That Matsui played for years in a highly competitive league shouldn't really be important, because he's never played in the majors. He has to adjust just like everyone else, and even though he's been playing against higher-quality competition than other rookies, he still has to adjust to new pitcher and ballparks, just like them.

Besides, the award is named after Jackie Robinson, who came to the majors after playing in the Negro Leagues. Now, Jackie was a victim of discrimination, but Matsui and other Japanese players were never really considered by the majors until a few years ago, either. He's a first-year Major Leaguer, and so he should eligible.

Now, should he win? That's another issue entirely.

Aaron in New York writes:
Why do you say such horrible things about me? What did I ever do to you? I'm trying as hard as I can!!!
If that's as hard as you can try, then you REALLY suck, Aaron.

Randy in Bay Shore, NY asks:
What's with the hatred of Derek Jeter?
I don't hate Derek Jeter, I think he's a very good ballplayer on the offensive side of the ball, though some fans still give him too much credit there. He's great at getting on base and is usually a spectacular baserunner. However, his defense is horrid, and there's no escaping that. It really does need to be criticized repeatedly, because it really has hurt the Yankees in ballgames. If anything, I'm too easy on Alfonso Soriano's defense, which in combination with Jeter, has made every ground ball hit up the middle an almost certain hit. One or both of them need to be moved.

Don in York, PA asks:
Why don't you ever call us? Your mother and I are so proud of your writing, but we'd like to know what's going on in your life besides baseball for once!
Oh, come on, I saw you a week and a half ago!

Kristen from Fairport, NY asks:
Ooh, you look so sexy in your picture there, throwing that chair. I want to do unmentionable things to you, but I also need a place to live... would you know of anyone who is renting out a room at an affordable price?
Sure thing, Kristen! What a coincidence that you'd fake email me to ask that! As a matter of fact, I'm renting out the other room in my sweet apartment right now! And it's cheap, too! If you're not interested, maybe someone else in the Rochester area would be, and I guess they could email me. They don't even have to be a girl, they could be a guy. Although I'd prefer if they didn't do unmentionable things to me if they're a guy.

Billy from Sayville, NY responds:
WHY do you suck?
That's better, Billy. But, unfortunately, I don't have enough time to answer that question, I've got to work on Thursday.

That's all for now, maybe next time I'll have some real mail! You can email me your questions at