The Cy Young award seems to be an award that has lost some luster in recent years. Scratch that. Maybe it hasn’t lost its luster, but rather its importance is slightly downplayed. Honestly, can you name the last three Cy Young winners in the American League off the top of your head? I bet you can much more easily name the last three MVP awards. It is for all intents and purposes the honor bestowed upon the best pitcher in each respective league… theoretically, that is. But as with any award there is hardly ever a unanimous winner, and this year’s AL Cy Young award doesn’t look to be any different. We can, however, narrow the list down to the real contenders for the award, so without further ado I present the top candidates for the 2010 AL Cy Young award. *In no particular order*
Jon Lester – Boston Red Sox
The case for Jon Lester claiming the Cy Young award is pretty strong, and his statistical line can speak for that. Jon Lester definitely rewarded the fantasy owners that took him early, as his average draft position was 41st overall. He was 2nd in the American League with an impressive tally of 19 wins, just one shy of the 20 game winner club (indeed quite a rarity in these days). Lester racked up 225 strikeouts on the season, good enough for 3rd in the American League, and had other notable stats, such as a batting average against of .220 and a relatively low WHIP of 1.20. Keep in mind that Lester was pitching for a Red Sox squad that was largely depleted due to injury.
C.C. Sabathia – New York Yankees
If a case for Jon Lester claiming the Cy Young award is pretty strong, then the award for C.C. Sabathia is probably even stronger. The highest paid pitcher in baseball proved to be worth his weight in gold (that’s a lot) this season. C.C. Sabathia was the only 20+ game winner in the American League (21 wins), but that tends to happen when you’re pitching for the Yankees and their usually potent offense. C.C. Sabathia managed to punch out 197 Ks on the year, en route to a solid 3.18 ERA. If there is an argument to be made against C.C. Sabathia it could be his sub-par playoff performances. Sure, he managed to reap two wins, but his ERA was an uncharacteristic 5.63 in the postseason. However, I feel this award should be merited solely based on the regular season and if that’s the case, Sabathia is indeed a strong contender.
Felix Hernandez – Seattle Mariners
Felix Hernandez has become one of the AL’s perennial aces, and he’s still at a fresh young age of only 24. Felix Hernandez’s baseline stats aren’t quite what any other pitcher’s are on the list at first glance, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll see that Hernandez might have had one of the best years in the majors, hence the nomination. Felix Hernandez ranked 1st in the AL for ERA (2.27), 1st in Innings Pitched (249.2), 2nd in SO (232) 2nd in WHIP (1.06), and tossed 6 Complete Games. However, Felix Hernandez’s stats look very skewed based off the fact that he had more losses (13) than wins (12). It may even be too obvious for me to say though that that’s nearly expected when you’re pitching for the Mariners (worst win % in the AL at .377) and a run difference of -185. No run support = less wins. Aside from that, he’s undoubtedly a nominee.
David Price – Tampa Bay Rays
David Price had a great season for the Rays which ended in the American League Division Series. David Price might have been one of the best buys in the fantasy leagues as his average draft position was 166th. In return for his fantasy owners (as well as his real team owners) he churned out quite a season. Price ranked 2nd in the American League with 19 wins, and 3rd in the American League with an ERA of 2.72. He did manage to have the highest win percentage in the American League at .760%. The Rays rode Price hard all season (107.8 p/gs), and he’s shown that he was worthy of his number one overall draft pick status. The Rays have a lot to look forward to with David Price in the coming years, as he’s only 25.
And the award goes to…
The 2010 AL Cy Young winner is much harder to choose than the National League’s as the Senior Circuit has only two, perhaps three, true nominees. As gut-wrenchingly difficult as it is for me to not give the award to Felix Hernandez (if he played on a better team he’d be winning without question), I would personally vote for C.C. Sabathia (sorry Sox fans). He anchored the New York Yankees rotation, leading them all the way to yet another ALCS and his stats are just too good to turn him down.
More MLB from Associated Content:
2010 AL MVP Candidates:
2010 NL Rookie of the Year Candidates: