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Towers: Hoffman for Cy Young

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Towers: Hoffman for Cy Young

Postby The Big Train » Sat Sep 09, 2006 4:55 pm

I doubt he'll win, but his case is actually pretty good without anyone close to winning 20 games this year.

MLB.com

SAN FRANCISCO -- He is not totally objective, of course, but Padres general manager Kevin Towers thinks he can make a reasonable and persuasive case for Trevor Hoffman as a serious candidate for the National League's 2006 Cy Young Award.

"The Cy Young is for what a guy does for his ballclub," Towers said, "and who's done more for his ballclub in the National League than Trevor? Where are we without him?"

With Hoffman and his league-leading 37 saves and 1.87 ERA in 55 games, the Padres came into a weekend series with the Giants a half-game behind Los Angeles in the NL West while leading the Wild Card chase by 2 1/2 games over a deep field.

"You never hear his name mentioned nationally with the Cy Young candidates," Towers said. "What does Trevor have to do?

"There aren't any starters having huge seasons. I don't see any dominant candidates there. Why not consider a closer? Not only is he having a great season -- he's on his way to breaking the all-time saves record. Wouldn't it be kind of fitting to see him win the Cy Young and get that record in that same season?"

Through Thursday, Los Angeles' Brad Penny was leading the league with 15 wins, and 2005 Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter of St. Louis had a league-leading 2.97 ERA and 13 wins. Arizona's Brandon Webb has 14 wins and a 3.14 ERA. The Mets' Billy Wagner is second to Hoffman in saves with 35.

Hoffman, with 473 career saves, trails Lee Smith by five. His .902 save percentage is slightly better than the .895 he brought into the season. He endured one rough two-week stretch ending July 27 when he blew a save at Colorado. Since then, he has been flawless across 14 outings, giving up nine hits and two walks while striking out 12 in 13 1/3 innings.

Hoffman's best finish in a Cy Young race was 1998 when he ran second to Atlanta's Tom Glavine. In his finest season statistically, Hoffman saved a career-high 53 games to lead the league and placed seventh in the Most Valuable Player balloting.

"I don't get a lot of national attention," Hoffman said, "but that probably works to my favor. I don't worry much about awards, that kind of thing."

"Trevor keeps showing why he's a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher," manager Bruce Bochy said.

A Cy Young would brighten that Cooperstown resume.
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Postby BritSox » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:05 pm

He might well be worth a top 3- his season seems pretty comparable to Mariano's 05, and there's even less outstanding starting pitching in the NL this year than there was in the AL last.
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Postby TheYanks04 » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:07 pm

Still going to be Carpenter imo. Webb will get a lot of votes. CZam and Smoltz some also.
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Postby davidmarver » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:11 pm

As much as I'd love Hoffman to get the Cy, Carpenter is the clear front-runner.

That said, no one in the NL will finish anywhere close to 20 wins. Zambrano, the strikeout leader, has walked over 100. Really no one starter stands out by traditional measures, so Hoffman could actually see a lot of votes. Boy, would that be something.

All that said, his '98 season was far, far more dominant.
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Postby BritSox » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:14 pm

davidmarver wrote:As much as I'd love Hoffman to get the Cy, Carpenter is the clear front-runner.

That said, no one in the NL will finish anywhere close to 20 wins. Zambrano, the strikeout leader, has walked over 100. Really no one starter stands out by traditional measures, so Hoffman could actually see a lot of votes. Boy, would that be something.

All that said, his '98 season was far, far more dominant.


If my memory serves me correctly, though, weren't there at least four outstanding starters in 98, all much better than anyone this time out?
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Postby IllinoisBandit » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:17 pm

I wouldn't mind it at all. He's been lights out this year.
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Postby bigken117 » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:23 pm

Boy, ESPN would hate that. I bet they wouldn't even mention it ;-7
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Postby Tavish » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:42 pm

There are about 20 pitchers that I would vote for ahead of Hoffman. There are about 30 pitchers I would vote for ahead of the #2 NL reliever.
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Postby davidmarver » Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:54 pm

BritSox wrote:
davidmarver wrote:As much as I'd love Hoffman to get the Cy, Carpenter is the clear front-runner.

That said, no one in the NL will finish anywhere close to 20 wins. Zambrano, the strikeout leader, has walked over 100. Really no one starter stands out by traditional measures, so Hoffman could actually see a lot of votes. Boy, would that be something.

All that said, his '98 season was far, far more dominant.


If my memory serves me correctly, though, weren't there at least four outstanding starters in 98, all much better than anyone this time out?

Yeah. There were actually more. The difference was that the west coast split the voting between Brown and Hoffman, while the East Coast all gave it to Glavine, while Smoltz and Maddux tied for 4th.

Hoffman actually had the most #1 votes that year, but was left off of two ballots. I wonder which ones those were. ;-7

Lets get serious, though. The #1-3 candidates that year were Hoffman, Brown, and Maddux. Whatever order you choose Glavine shouldn't have been the winner. I guess voters overlooked the fact that the Padres were 89-0 in 1998 when leading after 8 innings. I wonder why that was. ;-7
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Postby Absolutely Adequate » Sat Sep 09, 2006 8:10 pm

Here is a quick list of pitchers in the NL this season with a higher VORP than Hoffman:

Carp 59.6
Oswalt 58.5
Webb 56.8
Arroyo 55.5
Jennings 54.6
Smoltz 51.4
Capuano 49.2
Schmidt 46.8
Zambrano 46.8
Lowe 40.9
Cook 39.2
Harang 38.2
Francis 37.7
Johnson 36.7
(Then I skipped a bunch because I think I've made my point...)

Hoffman 23.1 (That's 69th overall)

Now, obviously, VORP weighs heavily in favor of starters (I would argue that it does so accurately). Last year Rivera had a VORP of 32.2 but came in second in the AL Cy Young race.

I think what the problem is that we're so accustomed to seeing incredible years from starters that when we have a year without a SP putting up unbelievable numbers we're disappointed. But we shouldn't forget how much more valuable starters are than closers. Hoffman won't win and won't get a lot of consideration - not because of a East Coast bias but because he's simply not as valuable as Carp, Oswalt, Webb, and 20 other guys in the NL.
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