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Would an expanded NL Cy Young Award vote bring a different result?


Would a hypothetical expansion of the 2009 National League Cy Young Award vote to five places have changed the winner?


National League Cy Young Award voters Keith Law of ESPN.com and Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus are catching a lot of heat from major segments of the Cardinal Nation for leaving Chris Carpenter off their respective ballots.

The logic goes that these two internet rascals stole the award from Carpenter.

As a refresher, here are the vote totals. In a side point of interest, both San Francisco-area voters agreed with the winner Tim Lincecum that Carpenter was most deserving.

Actual vote 1st 2nd 3rd Points
Tim Lincecum San Francisco Giants 11 12 9 100
Chris Carpenter St. Louis Cardinals 9 14 7 94
Adam Wainwright St. Louis Cardinals 12 5 15 90
Javier Vazquez Atlanta Braves 1 3
Dan Haren Arizona Diamondbacks 1 1

Law placed Atlanta’s Javier Vazquez in second and Carroll voted Arizona’s Dan Haren third. In the 5-3-1 scoring system in place, had Carpenter received those two votes instead, the four additional points would have enabled him to only close part of the gap to Lincecum to 100-98 (corrected from first post).

That isn’t where I am going, however. Both voters have offered the detailed logic behind their votes and they are what they are: Link to Law’s explantion, link to Carroll’s explanation.

There are others who believe the real rub is the restrictive nature of the voting process. Those who select the Most Valuable Players are allowed to name ten candidates, in a 10-9-etc scoring system, yet the Cy Young process allows just three votes.

Why? Because that is the way it has always been, I guess.

Let’s make a couple of assumptions about how a better process might have worked.

  • Voters could name five players, in a 5-4-3-2-1 scoring system.
  • We will not change Law’s and Carroll’s votes, instead assuming they would have named Carpenter fourth and the last remaining player fifth.
  • All other votes remain the same, with Vazquez arbitrarily getting the other fourth-place votes and Haren at fifth.

Here is how the hypothetical voting would have come out.

Hypothetical vote 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Lincecum 11 12 9 0 0 130
Carpenter 9 14 7 2 0 126
Wainwright 12 5 15 0 0 125
Vazquez 0 1 0 30 1 65
Haren 0 0 1 0 31 34

The result would have been much closer, but Lincecum would still have been the winner and the order of finish would have remained the same.

Time to accept it and move on.

For background, the detailed votes follow. The first, second and third places are the actuals with my hypothetical fourth- and fifth-place votes added on the right.

1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
Guy Curtright At Large Atlanta Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Keith Law ESPN.com: Lincecum Vazquez Wainwright Carpenter Haren
Manny Navarro Miami Herald: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Enrique Rojas ESPNdeportes.com: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Ken Davidoff Newsday: Lincecum Wainwright Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Steve Popper Bergen Record: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Jerry Crasnick ESPN.com: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Jim Salisbury Philadelphia Inquirer: Wainwright Lincecum Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Ken Rosenthal FOX Sports.com: Wainwright Lincecum Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Mark Zuckerman Washington Times: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Paul Sullivan Chicago Tribune: Lincecum Wainwright Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Toni Ginnetti Chicago Sun Times: Wainwright Lincecum Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Will Carroll Baseball Prospectus: Wainwright Lincecum Haren Carpenter Vazquez
Tom Groeschen Cincinnati Enquirer: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Bill Madden New York Daily News: Wainwright Lincecum Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Zachary Levine Houston Chronicle: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Susan Shemanske Racine Journal Times: Carpenter Wainwright Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Dennis Semrau Madison Capital Times: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
John Perrotto Ogden Newspapers: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Chuck Finder Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Derrick Goold St. Louis Post Dispatch: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Bernie Miklasz St. Louis Post Dispatch: Carpenter Wainwright Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Nick Piecoro Arizona Republic: Lincecum Wainwright Carpenter Vazquez Haren
Sarah Trotto Arizona Daily Star: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Jack Etkin At Large Denver Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Patrick Saunders Denver Post: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Doug Padilla L.A. Newspaper Group: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Randy Youngman Orange County Register: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Scott Miller CBS Sports.com: Lincecum Carpenter Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Chris Jenkins San Diego Union Tribune: Wainwright Carpenter Lincecum Vazquez Haren
Paul Gutierrez Sacramento Bee: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren
Henry Schulman San Francisco Chronicle: Carpenter Lincecum Wainwright Vazquez Haren

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