From the third inning of today's A's-Rangers game, and one of my favorite broadcast teams:
- Josh Lewin: Greinke and Felix Hernandez seem to be the favorites for Cy Young, but I don't know, Tag. I understand that Scott Feldman doesn't get a lot of national attention. If he ends up 20-5 -- say his ERA's about 3.30, 3.40 -- does he at least get some consideration?
Tom Grieve: Sure he does. I don't think it's, you know, a slight at all if you come in the top five in the top five in the Cy Young voting. That's a pretty nice season. Whether you win it or not. If he wins 19 or 20 games and has that kind of an ERA and finishes in the top five, that's a spectacular season. That solidifies his spot as a top-of-the-rotation guy, and probably next year's Opening Day starter.
All that was before Feldman gave up seven runs in three-plus innings, with his ERA jumping to 3.90 rather than dropping. He's not going to win 20 games. As for being the Rangers' Opening Day starter next spring, I'm afraid that's not going to be a great honor.
Still, it's been an amazing season for Feldman. As Lewin pointed out later in the conversation, Feldman opened the season in the nether regions of the Ranger bullpen, got hammered in his first three outings, and entered the rotation only because Kris Benson got hurt and the manager was desperate.
But Feldman pitched effectively in his first start and he's been in there ever since.
I don't know that he's ever going be anyone's idea of an ace, though. His strikeout-to-walk ratio this season is just 1.74. He's given up a .264 batting average on balls in play, which simply isn't sustainable. He's managed to pitch seven full innings only four times all season.
Essentially, Feldman is a No. 3 or No. 4 starter with a No. 1 starter's record and a No. 2 starter's ERA. Hey, it happens. If it's one of your guys, you enjoy the ride and make your plans accordingly. Feldman's earned his slot in the rotation next year. But if he's the best the Rangers have, they're in trouble.
A voter should consider everyone, from Zack Greinke (15-8, 2.08) to Brian Tallett (7-9, 5.39) and everyone in between (including relievers). But a voter has time to seriously consider only so many pitchers.
Do you know how many lines are on a Cy Young ballot?
How much serious consideration is necessary to determine that Scott Feldman is not one of the three best pitchers in the American League?
Three minutes? Less?
Feldman might finish fifth or sixth in the voting, if a few of the more win-obsessed voters give him a token nod for third place on their ballots. He might get a bit of down-ballot love from one or both of the voters who cover the Rangers. But he's not a great pitcher, and by most standards he's been far from spectacular.
Great story, though.