I’ve been hung up on the AL Cy Young award for quite awhile now. Obviously I’m inclined to throw my undying support at Felix, but I’d prefer to do it for the right reasons, and I’m finally convinced that he deserves the award – not necessarily more than say, Cliff Lee or Francisco Liriano, but he deserves it. I didn’t want to support him just because he was the popular pick among statisticians, but with the way he’s pitched recently, and the current leader boards the way they are, I don’t have any problem doing it.
Just look at the numbers. Aside from Cliff Lee, who I would not be disappointed to see the award go to, mind you, Felix has the highest WAR in the league, at 6.4. His xFIP of 3.27 ranks 3rd, behind Francisco Liriano, who has sustained his 3.07 mark over significantly fewer innings, and Jon Lester. Strikeouts? He’s got 232 of them, the most in baseball. Like inning eaters? He’s thrown 249 2/3, second to the one and only Roy Halladay, by exactly one inning. Not so big on sabermetrics? He has a 2.27 ERA, too.
The fact is, no matter what stats you subscribe to, Felix Hernandez has been one of, if not the very best pitcher in the American League – unless, of course, you subscribe to win-loss record, in which case you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog. Similar arguments can be made for Lee and Liriano as well, and as long as one of those 3 comes away with the award, no injustice has been committed. CC Sabathia, on the other hand, really has nothing but wins going for him, and those wins mean a whole lot less when you pitch for the Yankees.
The Cy Young voters made a ton of progress last season when they went with Tim Lincecum (15 wins) and Zack Greinke (16 wins), and they have a chance to continue that progress in 2010.