Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee were teammates on the Seattle Mariners team for just about half of the 2010 major league baseball season. While pitching for Seattle with pitcher friendly Safeco Park as his home field Cliff Lee posted an 8-3 record with a 2.32 ERA.
In 2010 Felix Hernandez posted a 13-12 record with a 2.27 ERA with Safeco Park as his home field all year.
Midway through the 2010 season Cliff Lee was traded to the Texas Rangers and his home field became the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington which is the best hitters park in the American League.
For the second half of the year Cliff Lee posted a 4-6 record with a 3.98 ERA. Overall Lee ended with a 12-9 record and a 3.18 ERA. Since he pitched roughly half his season with a great pitchers park as his home field and then half the year with a great hitters park as his home field his final stats are probably are very good indication of how he would have pitched in a neutral park.
If one adjusts Felix Hernandez’s ERA in the same way that Cliff Lee’s ERA ended up then King Felix would have pitched to a 3.12 ERA in 2010. That is probably a pretty good estimate of how he really pitched in 2010 and how he would have fared with a neutral home field park. Before anyone says that is crazy look at what Hernandez did pitching in 3 games in the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington in 2010. He allowed 10 earned runs in 21 innings for a 4.29 ERA.
Make no mistake a 3.12 ERA is excellent and Felix Hernandez is one of the best pitchers in the American League and the major leagues but if his stats were 13-12 with a 3.12 ERA would he win the Cy Young Award? Probably not.
American League Cy Young Contenders Stats
Clay Buchholz – 17-7 with a 2.33 ERA
CC Sabathia – 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA
David Price – 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA
Felix Hernandez – 13-12 with a 3.12 ERA adjusted
Would anyone vote for King Felix from that chart? And the numbers for the other three contenders would almost certainly be adjusted downward if their home fields were taken into account.
Cliff Lee’s stats show why Felix Hernandez does not deserve the American League Cy Young Award in 2010.
For more see Felix Hernandez Does Not Deserve the American League Cy Young Award
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Sources:CBS Sports Player Index