All Star Pitchers and the Cy Young Award

Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price got the nod this last Tuesday as the All-Star Game starters. Both pitchers had a decent first half, but do the pitchers that get chosen at starters end up winning that season’s Cy Young Award like Tim Lincecum did last season?

I decided to go back and look at how often the Cy Young Award winner was that year’s All-Star Game starter. Both leagues started awarding Cy Young Awards in 1967 and that is were I started my comparison. To begin with, there were seven instances where a reliever won the Cy Young. I removed these instances since there was no chance for him to start the game. So out of a possible 79 Cy Young Award winners, 20 — or 25% — of them started the All-Star Game. Of these 20 instances, 16 of the them have happen since 1988, the halfway point in years since the award started.

Besides just looking at the All-Star game starter, I looked to see if that season’s Cy Young Award winner, starter or reliever, was selected to participate in the All Star Game. Of the 86 Cy Young Award winners, 70 — or 81% — of them were selected for that year’s All-Star Game. Since 1998, when the All-Star rosters started to expand from 28 players to the current 34, 23 of the 24 Cy Young Award winners were selected for the All-Star Game. The only exception was Johan┬áSantana in 2004.

Most of these numbers make common sense. For someone to win the Cy Young, they are going to need a good first and second half of the season. All the pitchers that had a good first half are on display for the All-Star Game. These players are seen as the top pitchers and create a short list of players for the voters to watch in the second half of the season.

Ubaldo Jimenez and David Price are not guaranteed to win the Cy Young Award, but they shouldn’t be counted out either. There exists a good chance that this year’s Cy Young Award winner was on the All-Star roster though, especially considering recent trends.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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11 years ago

With a roster including about 32,624 pitchers in the 2010 All Star Game, I have to assume it’s an absolute certainty that an All Star will win this year’s Cy. Unless of course someone like Jeremy Guthrie finishes the season with 120 shutout innings.

11 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Stephen Strasburg?

11 years ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Felix Hernandez?