Won-loss and ERA
The old standard for winning the award was your won-loss record. If a guy won 20 games, he was a lock. If more than one player won 20 or more, then you factored in other components. But that all changed starting in 2010 when Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young with a record of 13-12.
That year, Justin Verlander and Trevor Cahill each won 18 games, Jon Lester and David Price each won 19 games and CC Sabathia won 21. But when you start looking at WAR and run support, Hernandez ran away with it.
So for 2013:
Max Scherzer- 21-3, 2.90 ERA
Yu Darvish- 13-9, 2.83 ERA (Finished 2nd in voting)
Hisashi Iwakuma- 14-6, 2.66 ERA
Okay, keep in mind we are ONLY looking at win-loss and ERA. How does Darvish beat Iwakuma?
Darvish was the AL strikeout king (277) so that probably played a role, but we were just looking at ERA and record.
Let’s go a little deeper now.
WAR and run support
Hisashi Iwakuma had the highest WAR among AL pitchers at 7.0, with Scherzer 3rd at 6.7. Iwakuma was the most irreplaceable player in the AL.
Iwakuma’s win total was limited by an amazing 13 no-decisions — despite having a 2.86 ERA in those starts — and he became just the second pitcher in MLB history to have five starts of at least 6 IP in which he recorded a no-decision despite not allowing an earned run.
So that begs the question: What about run support? Well, Scherzer had the 3rd-best run support in all of the American League (5.59 runs/gm). Only Felix Doubront (5.74) and Ryan Dempster (6.07) of the Red Sox got more support.
As for ‘Kuma? All the way down to 18th on the list (4.33). The most run support for any Mariners starter this year, but over a full run per game less than Scherzer.