I'm certainly not one to insist that writers are foolish as a whole, but sometimes they do appear to get caught up not on a player's overall statistics, but on a single, shining number that they use to support their justification for giving awards to not quite as deserving players.
Though I won't say Timmy L. didn't consideration for the Cy Young, I will say he wasn't the best pitcher in the NL.
I say with as much certainty as possible given the limited access I have to their thought processes, but a consistent error leads me to a relatively easy conclusion.
Regarding the NL Cy Young voting, the top three finishers
3. Johan Santana 2.53 ERA, 234.3 IP, 206 K/63 BB, 1.148 WHIP
2. Brandon Webb 3.30 ERA, 226.7 IP, 183 K/65 BB, 1.196 WHIP
1. Tim Lincecum 2.62 ERA, 227.0 IP, 265 K/84 BB, 1.172 WHIP
Lest anyone think I've mixed up Webb and Santana, I didn't. Despite having a lower ERA and WHIP while throwing more innings, Santana actually finished behind Webb in the voting.
I bring this up because I think it explains why Santana didn't win the Cy Young.
Let's look at the pitcher's W-L records in relation to their teams:
3. Johan Santana 16-7, 0.696 W% (Team W% .549)
2. Brandon Webb 22-7, 0.759 W% (Team W% .506)
1. Tim Lincecum 18-5, 0.783 W% (Team W% .450)
So, not only did Lincecum win a greater percentage of his games, but he won at a rate much higher than the team he pitcher for.
Looking only at the above numbers, Santana appears to have taken advantage of his team's performance to pad his win total, as he won only 147% better than the Mets compared to Webb and Lincecum's 253% and 333% better than their teams.
I'm convinced that most writers did just that, as there is no other form of reasoning I can think of to explain why Webb received more points than Santana. Not only did both their teams not make the playoffs, but Webb's D-Backs were out before Santana's Mets, who hung on until being eliminated on the final day of the season.
Lincecum had more K's and wins, but Santana threw more innings with a better ERA and WHIP.
Santana threw 21 games in which he gave up 2 runs or fewer over at least 6.0 innings.
Lincecum threw 20 games in which he gave up 2 runs or fewer over at least 6.0 innings.
In 34 starts, the Mets were 22-12 with Santana on the hill.
In 34 starts, the Giants were 22-12 with Lincecum on the hill.
Santana went at least 6.0 innings in 31 of his starts.
Lincecum went at least 6.0 innings in 29 of his starts.
They were both terrific pitchers, but there is one breakdown that, in my opinion, seals it for Santana.
In games where he received either an L or ND, Santana had an ERA of 3.01 over 116.2 IP.
In games where he received either an L or ND, Lincecum had an ERA of 4.01 over 98.2 IP.
On the other hand, the writers clearly knew what they were doing in giving Albert Pujols the MVP.
I just hope the AL writers (who got it right in giving Cliff Lee the Cy Young) don't make a similarly stupid mistake and give the AL MVP to not-Pedroia.
We'll see tomorrow.