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Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 Cy Young ballot expanded from 3 to 5 slots

12/8/2009, Goold: Indianapolis: "At their annual winter meeting, the Baseball Writers' Association of America voted to expand the Cy Young Award ballot from three open spots to five, a move that broadens the number of pitchers who will receive votes but wouldn't have significantly changed the outcome of the National League Cy Young Award.

The proposal to change the ballot had its genesis during the playoffs, before the votes for this year's Cy Young award became public. The motion was presented officially during a meeting this morning at the Winter Meetings, and it passed with nearly 2/3 of the attending writers voting for the change. The change comes less than a month after the NL Cy Young vote received scrutiny because

  • and the winner received the second-most first-, second- and third-place votes.

The proposal was not made in response to the NL vote, just in the wake of it.

What has yet to be determined is how each vote will be weighted on the new ballot.

  • That will determine whether the voting process for the Cy Young has been changed -- or just expanded.

By putting five spots on the Cy Young ballot -- a change to the ballot that was

  • set at three back in 1970 --

the association has made it more difficult for one vote to determine a bonus. In this past year's NL Cy Young vote, one voter putting Javier Vazquez on his ballot assured the Atlanta righthander a fourth-place finish and, according to his contract, a $75,000 bonus.

The situation is more profound in St. Louis, where the Cardinals have an extension worth $21 million to Adam Wainwright that partially hinges on a top-five finish in the Cy Young vote. Read more about that here, back in an entry at Bird Land. Expanding the ballot to five makes it virtually impossible for a player to have a top-five finish while receiving only one vote. (In the NL, for example, it would take a 32-man tie.)

If the association votes in its summer meeting to keep the point system for the Cy Young Award static, such a move would not have changed the outcome of the 2009 Cy Young race. San Francisco righthander Tim Lincecum would still have won the award with St. Louis Cardinals pitchers Chris Carpenter and Wainwright finishing second and third, respectively.

  • If the BBWAA, however, elects to change the point structure to a top-heavy scale -- in other words, giving a larger gap between first- and second-place votes compared to second- and third-place votes --
  • then more than the ballot has changed.

Such a move in 2009 would have moved Wainwright, who received the most first-place votes, higher into the standings."

"Baseball writers vote to expand Cy Young award ballot," St. Louis Today, Derrick Goold, 12/8/09

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