The CYA were just announced the other day and that is the good news side of the coin. But for every Yin there is a Yang. The CYA celebrate the best pitchers of 2014. This award celebrates the worst. Call that negative if you want and it probably is. But, ultimately, baseball is about failure. All baseball players fail. The best batters fail 60% of the time. The best pitchers fail at least 40% of the time. Some fail more spectacularly than others. That’s where I come in.
First, why Kyle Davies? Well…just ask a Royals’ fan when you find one. I don’t want to beat up Mr. Davies because he’s probably a great guy and is still toiling in the minors trying to work his way back to MLB. As such, I root for him. But I had to have a symbol of what I am shooting for and Mr. Davies qualifies as such.
My method for compiling this list starts with rWAR. I have a preference for the way baseball-reference.com calculates pitching WAR over the way Fangraphs.com does. This is strictly personal. But I did not want to rely solely on rWAR. But it was a starting point. I did a search for all starting pitchers with 22 or more starts with a negative rWAR. That rWAR was turned into points. If a pitcher finished with an rWAR of -2.3, then he got 23 points. If i was -0.9 rWAR, then it was 9 points.
But then I took the bottom five of the following categories: ERA+, OPS+ against, FIP, IP per start, Quality Start percentage, Game Score Average and walks per strikeout. The worst stat in each garnered five points, the next to last, four points and so on down to one point for fifth worst. Then I simply added up all the points and the guy with the most won the award. I will list the
best worst five with the highest point totals.
So here we go:
5. Franklin Morales. It’s no fun pitching half of your starts at Coors Field. Morales did not have a Rocky Mountain High. Well…he did if you look at his stats. A 5.37 ERA to go along with a 5.42 FIP will help you rack up the points. His WHIP over 1.6 wasn’t pretty either. In the age of the pitcher, Morales did not get the memo.
3 and 4. Clay Buchholz and Kevin Correia. With all the goop Buchholz puts in his hair and on his arms, it’s hard to watch the guy pitch. For Red Sox fans, it was even harder. His peripherals were not all that bad, but man, he went from a stud in 2013 to a really poor 2014. Kevin Correia is a pitcher only the Twins could covet.
2. Justin Masterson: For Indian and Cardinal fans, they know all about Masterson’s struggles. When a sinkerball pitcher loses his sink, his pitches get whacked like a bad wrestler. For those looking for an example of a trade deadline deal gone bad, just look at Masterson. Never has a pitcher gotten in a fan base’s dander faster than Masterson in St. Louis.
1. Our winner! Edwin Jackson! Theo Epstein will never stop hearing about this signing. Jackson has a .298 winning percentage for his two years with the Cubs with a 5.58 ERA. His ERA topped six in 2014 and his WHIP was over 1.6. He had the lowest ERA+ for all pitchers and his -2.3 rWAR is simply indicative of a guy that did not provide Cubs fans with a whole lot to cheer about (except when the manager came to get him).
So there it is, Edwin Jackson is our 2014 Kyle Davies Award winner. I really expected Ricky Nolasco to be on this list.
We have to have a relief pitcher edition. For this, I went just by rWAR. And your
top bottom five are:
5. Rex Brothers: Cool name. But perhaps another victim of Coors.
4. Craig Breslow: A hero from the 2013 season tanked in 2014.
3. Ronald Belisario: The Windy City got windier with the catcalls.
2. Ernesto Frieri: His pitching did not fool anyone in 2014. Lost the closing job twice.
1. Our winner! Jim Johnson: His season was legendarily bad for Johnson. From 101 saves for the 2012 and 2013 Orioles, Johnson finished 2014 with a 1.950 WHIP. That’s really, really bad.