Why WAR can be misleading in the Cy Young Race
WAR is calculated two different ways by Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference. I prefer BR when evaluating pitchers since it uses RA9 in the calculation in stead of FIP. Runs allowed per nine seems more relevant than FIP to me. FIP isolates strikeouts, walks, and homers and removes balls in play. That's not going to help a guy who gets a lot of soft contact and low K-rates. In fact, these calculation variances give us some pretty big swings between the two sites. Strider has a 4.7 WAR on Fangraphs (T-2nd Among Finalists) and 3.1 on Baseball-Reference.
Because Fangraphs uses FIP it rewards Strider more than he deserves since he strikes out SO MANY guys and has decent walk and HR9 rates. His 3.1 bWAR is far and away the lowest of all the finalists because Baseball-Reference considers how many runs you are allow.
This is baseball and scoring more runs than the other team is the goal. I think fWAR might be a good example of overthinking things on pitching. It's fair to look at FIP and try to see if a guy is lucky or unlucky, but to use it as a method of evaluating their production and worth to the team doesn't make a ton of sense to me. I don't think voters are going to buy that either.
How many starts does Spencer Strider have left for the Atlanta Braves? Does he still have a chance at the Cy Young?
Strider is set to start tonight against the Phillies. Including tonight, Strider probably has just three starts left. That will give him 31 on the season. If he can pitch lights out the rest of the way and make some of the metrics look better.
Strider would have to pitch six shutout innings in each of his next three starts to get his ERA down to 3.45. Even then, that only puts him at 180 innings for the season. Zac Gallen and Logan Webb are already passed that 180 innings pitched.
This may not be Strider's season, but there is no doubt he has been must-watch television for Braves' fans. What an unbelievable start to his career! So, don't worry about the Cy Young right now and just enjoy the Spencer Strider show!