Massarotti: Porcello, Not Verlander, Deserved To Win AL Cy Young

By Tony Massarotti

Of course, Kate Upton can do whatever she pleases to and with her fiancé in the privacy of their own home. But the Cy Young balloting? Well, she doesn’t get a vote. And the simple fact is that, in this election, the voters got it right.

If only we could say the same about every recent election. But I digress.

Rick Porcello is your 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner, folks, much to the chagrin of Justin Verlander’s fiancée. She took to Twitter last night — never a good thing — in the immediate aftermath of this year’s controversial balloting. Wondered Upton:

“Hey @MLB I thought I was the only person allowed to [expletive] @JustinVerlander ?! What 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballot?”

We’ll let you fill in the blank. But she didn’t say “kiss.”

The truth? Verlander didn’t deserve to win. Porcello did. For starters, Verlander wasn’t exactly the most consistent guy this year, no matter what the final numbers were. At the end of June, he was 7-6 with a 4.30 ERA. Had he pitched a little better in April, May or June, the Tigers might have made the playoffs. But he didn’t. And they didn’t. So let’s not feel too bad for someone who basically buried himself by halftime.

Remember: the Cy Young Award is effectively for the Pitcher of the Year. It isn’t a career achievement award. It isn’t about who has the better stuff. It’s about who pitched the best during the regular season, from beginning to end. And there was no more consistently effective pitcher in the American League this season than Rick Porcello.

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Here’s the other problem: the seeming predominance of the WAR statistic, which has become baseball’s ultimate copout. So Verlander led the AL in WAR. Great. But anyone who watched the Red Sox for five minutes this season knows that there was a case to be made for Porcello as the Most Valuable Player of the American League, let alone the Cy Young.

If we’re going to simply rely on new-age statistics for awards, why do we need voters at all? Let’s just devise the formula and be on our way. After all, Upton battling it out against grimy, overweight sportswriters (redundant?) is as much a mismatch in the press box as it would be in the ESPN The Magazine‘s body issue.

(No offense, but I don’t want Upton voting on baseball awards any more than I want to see Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Tim Kurkjian or Jayson Stark in a bikini — now there’s a scary thought.)

Is the voting process flawed? Of course it is. But only because every election process is flawed. We’re talking about people here. That’s what makes the process worthwhile and, ultimately, interesting. If you had one game tomorrow and needed to pick between Verlander and Porcello to pitch it, well, you’d probably pick Verlander. But that’s not the question. And in sports debates — and that’s what this is — the precise question matters. It always matters.

So, in a manner of speaking, Upton thinks her dreamy beau got jobbed. She has every right to express herself. But the simple truth is that Porcello had a better year than Verlander did, and the voters in this year’s election ultimately got it right.

Tonight, of course, we learn the identities of the American League and National League MVPs. Anyone know if Mike Trout’s significant other has a Twitter account?

Tony Massarotti is an avid Boston sports fan and has covered sports in Boston for more than 15 years for both the Boston Herald and Boston Globe. He now serves as a co-host on afternoon drive on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston. He was a two-time Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year as voted by his peers and has written four books, including “Big Papi,” the New York Times-bestselling memoirs of David Ortiz. You can follow Tony @tonymassarotti.

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