It was not surprising to see Oregon State players named as the Pac-12 Player of the Year and Pitcher of the Year.

The No. 1 Beavers dominated in the conference, and have some of the best individual players in the nation.

What was surprising was that it was Jace Fry, not Ben Wetzler, who was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year.

To be clear, this is not an indictment on Fry. The junior left-hander has been outstanding all year, and his statistics would warrant this award nine out of 10 times.

This is that 10th time.

It is baffling that the Pac-12 did not give the honor to Wetzler. There is only one non-statistical factor that differentiates the two pitchers: Wetzler has two suspensions in 2014, Fry has none.

We have seen this kind of action at the professional level in baseball. The Baseball Writers' Association of America has decided to play God in recent years by omitting players who have been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs from its ballots.

That's something I vehemently disagree with, but that is another conversation.

Wetzler -- unlike Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Rafael Palmeiro and the gang of balloon heads -- did not cheat to achieve on-field success.

His first suspension was for using an adviser during contract negotiations with the Philadelphia Phillies. His second was for breaking a window at a residence he thought was his own, while he was intoxicated.

The latter suspension was valid, the first is questionable. Neither of the suspensions affected his on-field performance.

A person giving him legal advice for a major league contract did not contribute to his nation-leading 0.74 earned run average. Punching glass did not make it more likely for him to throw a complete-game shutout against Washington in his next start. It probably made it more difficult.

At least the baseball writers are neglecting players whose actions significantly improved their performance. If not, Ty Cobb would never have sniffed the Hall of Fame. That guy assaulted a man with no arms, was a blatant racist and sharpened his metal spikes to take out players when he slid.

Wetzler's actions, while the subsequent suspensions may have been warranted, did not make him the dominant pitcher he is.

Fry has had an incredible season. He has four complete-game shutouts, one of which was a no-hitter. His ERA, WHIP and wins this season are all in the national top 25.

Wetzler's season, however, has been otherworldly. He is allowing a hit every 2.1 innings and an earned run every 11.9 innings. Wetzler's ERA is first in the nation, his WHIP is third and his wins are tied for ninth.

The question shouldn't be: Is Wetzler the best pitcher in the Pac-12? It should be: Is he the best pitcher in the country?

Fry has Wetzler beat in innings pitched (because of the 11-game suspension at the beginning of the season) and in strikeouts (Fry has 7.4 strikeouts per nine innings, compared to Wetzler's 6.9).

Wetzler has Fry beat in every other statistical category, besides no-hitters, of course.

Who knows, the Pac-12 coaches who voted for these awards may have seen something else that catapulted Fry ahead of Wetzler.

Their in-conference statistics are much closer than their overall statistics for the year. Still, Fry beats Wetzler only in strikeouts and has three fewer walks.

There could be a multitude of reasons why Fry won the award, many of them deserving. But if the coaches came down to Wetzler vs. Fry for the honor, they were not looking at the statistics when they checked the box next to Fry's name.

Warner Strausbaugh, editor-in-chief

On Twitter @WStrausbaugh

sports@dailybarometer.com

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