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Will Lohse’s win rate translate into Cy Young success?

On Tuesday night, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Kyle Lohse picked up win number 15 of the season in the 4-1 victory over Houston. His 15-3 record translates into the highest winning percentage (.833) in the major leagues in 2012. Lohse brought his ERA down to 2.71, which is tied for second in the league.

Still he seems to get little respect in national discussions of Cy Young Award candidates.

Researcher Tom Orf pulled the following table. It outlines the best winning percentage seasons by MLB pitchers since 2000, by those with at least 15 victories. Lohse’s .833 mark currently ranks him in a tie for fifth during those 12 years.

At the far right, I added the pitchers’ placements in the Cy Young Award balloting following those seasons. Two of the previous five winningest hurlers won the honor, one came in second, while the other two finished fourth.

However, it should be noted that two of the top winning percentage marks occurred in the same league in the same season, with only one Cy Young Award winner possible. Cliff Lee won the 2008 AL honor with Daisuke Matsuzaka finishing fourth.

It will be very interesting to see where Lohse, an impending free agent, ends up. ESPN’s Cy Young Award Predictor currently has him a distant sixth, with R.A. Dickey of the Mets and the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez neck-and-neck in the lead.

Lohse will have a couple of more regular season starts to finalize his argument before votes are due. Post-season play is not taken into account in the award balloting by local members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Highest winning percentage seasons, MLB since 2000, minimum 15 wins

Year Pitcher Tm W-L% W L G GS ERA Cy Young Award rank
2008 Cliff Lee CLE 0.880 22 3 31 31 2.54 #1
2001 Roger Clemens NYY 0.870 20 3 33 33 3.51 #1
2008 Daisuke Matsuzaka BOS 0.857 18 3 29 29 2.90 #4 (behind Lee)
2011 Ian Kennedy ARI 0.840 21 4 33 33 2.88 #4
2012 Kyle Lohse STL 0.833 15 3 31 31 2.71 TBD
2002 Pedro Martinez BOS 0.833 20 4 30 30 2.26 #2

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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19 Responses to “Will Lohse’s win rate translate into Cy Young success?”

  1. blingboy says:

    Its gratifying to hear that Cueto is not consided a front runner anymore. I wasn’t sure if getting blown out his last three starts would do it.

    I’d been wondering if voters would penalize him for unsportsmanlike conduct, or if its just us.

  2. blingboy says:

    Sept. 19th is the date Cy Young recorded his 500th win. Good timing with the article Brian.

    And as proof that my commenting is fair and balanced I’ll mention that it is also the date in 2001 that Schmalbert broke the NL record for RBIs by a rookie with his 120th.

  3. blingboy says:

    Ozzie Guillan alive and well;

    “If they think this place is too big, let me know. I’ll put somebody else in who can hit bloopers behind shortstop.’’

    “We are not in last place because this ballpark is big. We are in last place because we are bad from the top to the bottom, myself included,’’ Guillen said.

    Guillen dismissed the suggestion that the dimensions will make it hard for the Marlins to sign free-agent power hitters.

    “That’s a bunch of crap,’’ he said. “I guarantee you, you give them $100 million, they will play here.’’

    I’m starting to warm up to that guy.

    • Brian Walton says:

      …or in Albert’s case, $350 million…

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        Not even a bronze statute and immortality in a baseball mad city was enough.

        • crdswmn says:

          Well, we don’t know everything that went on there. Maybe there were ill feelings between Albert and the FO that were just irreconcilable. Maybe he had family pressures, I did hear a rumor that Deidre really wanted to move to LA. And it could be that it was just the money and nothing else. Whatever it was, it was his choice, the city of St. Louis didn’t own him.

          I did hear from a reporter on Twitter that he had information that Albert regretted his decision. However, this was early in the season, when he was playing poorly and the Cardinals were playing well. Things have probably changed now.

          The Cardinals are better off without that huge contract. I doubt they would have been able to sign Yadi (who is more important to the team anyway) and Wainwright and any FAs they might want with that contract on the books. I for one think it was a wise decision.

  4. Kansasbirdman says:

    I saw a headline on MSN, “Pitcher gives rib to daughter” and knew exactly who said Pitcher was. They should auction some pieces off for charity. 🙂

    His big start is tomorrow. I don’t think anyone can doubt his work ethic. Good luck to Carp!

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