The way the Dodgers are currently run, no L.A. pitcher is likely to win the Cy Young Award any time soon, simply because manager Dave Roberts won’t allow them to throw enough innings to set themselves apart.
That includes Julio Urias this season, who has been the best pitcher in the National League, but not the most valuable simply because Sandy Alcantara has thrown 58.2 more innings at almost the same quality. With an innings gap that large, Julio would have to have far exceeded Alcantara in quality, and instead he has only slightly outpaced the Marlins ace.
Roberts, according to Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times, doesn’t think that’s fair.
“These are decisions I’ve made for the best interest of the organization, the ballclub and him. Teams that are not playing through October have more of a luxury. They don’t have to plan for an extra month of baseball. That’s our reality. That’s a good thing.
“I don’t think he should be penalized for it.”
To be clear, Roberts is absolutely right that Alcantara is benefitting from not having to save anything for October. But Shaikin might not be right when he says, “Urías could do this too, if the Dodgers let him.” That is simply unknowable, and awards like the Cy Young are generally voted based on things we know, not things we think might have happened if things were different.
If Julio had thrown 58.2 more innings, would his ERA have been better than 3.07 in those innings? If so, he would end up with a better ERA than Alcantara. And you and I and Bill Shaikin might fervently believe he would have.
But what we know is that Alcantara has done that, and there’s a ton of value in those extra 58.2 innings. That’s an extra 1.8 innings per start, which means Alcantara has been a starter and the first one or two relievers every time he takes the mound.
Urias will get a lot of love in the Cy Young voting. He’ll finish second, and he’ll maybe even pull in some first-place votes. It might not be fair, but it’s the system. In the end, as Dodger fans, we’ll have to hope the strategy of keeping him healthy and fresh for October pays off, and we can console ourselves over his second-place finish by watching L.A.’s World Series DVD over and over.
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