Fall has come. There is less than two weeks remaining in the 2010 Major League Baseball season.
The time is right to consider which pitcher will be the American League 2010 AL Cy Young Award.
There are a number of candidates for the award. But, first things first. What is the definition of the Cy Young Award?
According to Wilkipedia, “The Cy Young Award is an honor given annually in baseball to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and the National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick, in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.”
How is the voting done? Again, according to Wilkipedia, “Each league’s award is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, with two representatives from each team, which means 28 ballots are cast for the American League winner, and 32 ballots are cast for the National League. Each voter places a vote for first, second, and third place among the pitchers of each league. The formula used to calculate the final scores is a weighted sum of the votes. The pitcher with the highest score in each league wins the award..”
The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), more often than not, reviews “glamour” numbers when selecting a Cy Young award winner. These numbers are wins, earned run average (ERA), strikeouts and, to a lesser extent, innings pitched.
Also, the BBWAA doesn’t always vote for the BEST pitcher in the league. A pitcher who is on a division winning, wild card team, or at least a winning team has a much better chance of receiving the Cy Young Award than a pitcher who is playing for a losing team.
Here are my four front runners for the AL Cy Young Award. I have broken the pitchers’ glamour statistics down to wins (W), ERA, strikeouts (K) and innings pitched (IP). Following the statistics are the pitcher’s rank in the league, as of September 22, 2010. A “T” following the rank means the pitcher is tied with one or more pitchers for this statistic.
C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees
W: 20 – 1st
ERA: 3.05 – 6th K: 183 – 7th IP 224 -2nd
David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
W: 17 – 3rdT ERA: 2.79 – 3rd K: 172 – 12th – IP: 193.2 – 16th
Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
W: 18 – 2nd ERA: 3.06 – 7th K: 212 – 3rd IP: 197 – 12th
Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners
W: 12 – 8th ERA: 2.35 – 1st K: 222 – 1st IP: 233.2 – 1st
Obviously, Seattle’s Hernandez is dominating the league in the major categories except wins. Hernandez’s record is 12 wins and 11 losses, on a team that, overall, as of September 22, 2010, is in last place in the AL West with a 57-93 won-loss mark, for a .380 win percentage. Hernandez’s .522 win-loss percentage is 142 points higher than the team’s win percentage. Without Hernandez pitching, the Mariners are 45-82, for a .354 win percentage. Overall, in a 162 game season, the Mariners, without Hernandez, would win 57 games and lose 105.
Those stats show how important Hernandez is to the team.
In 2009, Zach Greinke of the Kansas City Royals won the Cy Young Award with a 16-8 record. The Royals finished fourth in their five team division and were 21.5 games out of first place, losing 97 games. Perhaps the BBWAA will repeat history and choose a pitcher with great stats on a not so great team.
However, if the writers do not recognize Hernandez, I believe C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees will win the Cy Young Award.
Wikipedia Cy Young Award Definition:
ESPN.com AL Pitching: