Skip to content

Zack Greinke captures AL Cy Young with 25 of 28 first-place votes

Nov 17, 2009, 2:35 PM EDT

Zack Greinke took home his first Cy Young award this afternoon, receiving 25 of 28 first-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He was second on the other three ballots.
Of the three first-place votes not given to Greinke, two went to Felix Hernandez and one went to Justin Verlander. Greinke should have been a unanimous selection, because he was clearly the best pitcher in the league, but Hernandez was at least great enough that a pair of voters putting him atop their ballot isn’t completely absurd.
However, one of the 28 professional writers picked to vote for the league’s best pitcher choosing Verlander is silly and not surprisingly it was Steve Kornacki of Booth Newspapers in Michigan. Verlander is an excellent pitcher who had an outstanding year, and surely Kornacki would tout his AL-leading 240 innings and 19 wins. Of course, if given anything resembling a decent supporting cast Greinke would have surpassed 19 wins and he logged just 11 fewer than innings than Verlander … while allowing 35 fewer runs.
Greinke had a 2.16 ERA in 229 innings. Verlander had a 3.45 ERA in 240 innings. Unless you’re misguidedly still focusing on win-loss records as the sole means to evaluate pitchers or you’re simply a huge Tigers fan (or a reporter paid to cover the Tigers), there’s really no way to justify giving Verlander a first-place vote. He wasn’t better than Hernandez or Roy Halladay, let alone Greinke. Whatever the case, the real story should obviously be Greinke rather than some writer in Detroit deciding to give Verlander an undeserved vote.
Kansas City’s ace had an amazing season for a terrible team, posting the lowest ERA of any American League starter since Pedro Martinez in 2000 and the best mark of the past 20 years from someone other than Pedro or Roger Clemens. He started the season by going 6-0 with a 0.40 ERA, finished it by going 5-0 with a 1.29 ERA, and in between put well-chronicled off-field issues as well as some on-field struggles behind him to establish himself as the league’s best pitcher at the age of 25.

  1. Wells - Nov 17, 2009 at 2:43 PM

    Maybe now we’ll finally hear Greinke speak. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him interviewed before.

  2. dwight s - Nov 17, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    fact: aaron gleeman hates the tigers.

  3. Luke - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    Citing ERA, while not nearly as misguided as citing win-loss record, is also a flawed indicator. Your candidates are laid out in the same explicit order as the ERA leaderboard (with the exception of Verlander leapfrogging Sabathia.) FIP has Verlander rating out as higher than both Hernandez and Halladay, but you don’t call the 2 votes for Hernandez as being indefensible. I agree that Greinke was the best pitcher in the AL (MLB, really) this season, but I wouldn’t call somebody out for disagreeing with you about something static like this. It’s his vote, not yours.

  4. TMW - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:09 PM

    I wonder where he’ll hang the plaque. Unless his fiancee takes the initiative, that thing is going to lean against a wall in his boiler room collecting dust.

  5. ochocinco - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:39 PM

    If, during this past season, I have to pick a pitcher to start–its Greinke. He was great all year with a team that plays horrible offense and horrible defense making his record all the more impressive. It is great to see him battle through his mental health issues and finally become the pitcher he always had the potential to be.
    I really am quite shocked nobody gave Mariano Rivera any votes, but he can still hold out for the MVP. I predict that he, Jeter, and Tex will share it because of what they have done(too bad the voting is before the post-season). If Joe Mauer can barely even carry his team into the playoffs, just to get swept by the Yankees, there is no way he deserves to be called “Most Valuable”. Jeter could single-handedly carry Tolbert, Harris, and Punto’s .600 OPS all the way to the Championship. He is a 10ft. tall beast-man who showers in vodka and feeds his babies shrimp scampi.

  6. EvilEmpirE2009 - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:46 PM

    Kansas City Royals are just PRETENDING to be a
    Major League baseball Team. THE OWNER SHOULD BE
    ASHAMED OF HIMSELF FOR STEALING GEORGE STENBRENNERS
    MONEY AND FOR A PUTTING A BAD TEAM ON THE FIELD FOR
    THE YANKEES TO BEAT LIKE A DRUM, SO SAD, SO SAD.
    DO YOU THINK DEREK JETER WOULD HAVE A PRESS CONFERENCE
    FOR RECEIVING THE GOLD GLOVE AND SILVER SLUGGER AWARD
    WHEN HIS TEAM LOST 100 GAMES, NO SIR.
    SADLY, THE ROYALS AND THE OWNER WILL USE THIS AS A
    PUBLICITY STUNT AND A REASON TO BUY TICKETS FOR
    2010, THE ROYALS WILL REPAY FAN LOYALTY BY LOSING
    ONE HUNDRED GAMES AGAIN.
    THE YANKEES ARE CHAMPIONS OF BASEBALL..AGAIN!!!!
    GEORGE BRETT IS CRYING SOMEWHERE, ALONE AND COLD.
    LIKE A ROYAL GAME vs SEATTLE

  7. EvilEmpirE2009 - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Ocho- (u r my favorite player)- How about we stick him in
    YANKEE STADIUM, GAME SIX 2009 WORLD SERIES………..
    THEN WHAT ???
    DOES HE PULL A ” BIG GAME ANDY ” OR A KENNY ROGERS ?

  8. EvilEmpirE2009 - Nov 17, 2009 at 3:52 PM

    Ocho- (u r my favorite player)- How about we stick him in
    YANKEE STADIUM, GAME SIX 2009 WORLD SERIES………..
    THEN WHAT ???
    DOES HE PULL A ” BIG GAME ANDY ” OR A KENNY ROGERS ?

  9. Bernie - Nov 17, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    When are we going to give the players & managers back the vote instead of these a-hole writers who always have an agenda? Don’t let the players vote for a team mate.

  10. EvilEmpirE2009 HATER - Nov 17, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    I have some sour grapes and tissues for you. Where should we post them too?
    BTW You better catch your breath while you can becuz I predictate that the your favorite nine is gonna be shut out in the MVP vote. So so sooooo sad

  11. ecp - Nov 17, 2009 at 4:59 PM

    He is absolutely one of the most deadpan, monotone speakers you’ll ever hear. But if you catch him right, he has one of the sharpest senses of humor around.

  12. CarGuy26 - Nov 17, 2009 at 5:01 PM

    HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM….. The players do get to give out awards.. GREINKE won that won too with 80%+ of the vote.. Why do uneducated people attempt to make educated comments when they are CLUELESS?

  13. geo - Nov 17, 2009 at 5:11 PM

    “When are we going to give the players & managers back the vote instead of these a-hole writers who always have an agenda?”
    The players do have a vote. It’s called the MLB Players Association Players Choice Outstanding Pitcher Award. Greinke won that a couple of weeks ago.
    Oh, and the managers have a vote as well. It’s called The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year. And Greinke won that too, last month.

  14. jim graham - Nov 17, 2009 at 6:39 PM

    Everyone seems to overlook how little support Verlander received runwise in most of his starts and how many times he was pulled in late innings wih a one or two run lead only to have the Tiger relievers blow it. Kansas City had a much more dependable cast of hitters than the pathetic Tigers who had the worse left on base record in the league. To say Verlander didn’t even deserve one first place vote is ridiculous. Who made these writers god?

  15. Mike - Nov 17, 2009 at 7:06 PM

    Chill out, brother. You stathead bloggers have been droning on for weeks about how Greinke should win the CY despite his W-L record. “Oh, please, for the love of Bill James, can’t the BBWAA get it right just once?!?” Well, they got it right…but you’re still complaining. Enough. I’m begging you.

  16. Mark Bertling - Nov 17, 2009 at 7:07 PM

    ochocinco,
    Yea it’s nice to see a professional athlete to overcome mental health issues. Perhaps you could give this man a call, get some advice, or even better, the name and phone number of his psychiatrist, and perhaps recover from your own mental health issues. However that would be a tall order from any mental health professional. But pay the guy real good, and it may just help you. Perhaps sessions starting at ochocinco thousand dollars an hour.
    Good luck with that. Mark

  17. Rachel - Nov 17, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    i agree. its because he’s a twins fan.

  18. Dan - Nov 17, 2009 at 7:38 PM

    I agree that Grienke is a great pitcher but to say Verlander did not deserve a first place vote is preposterous. Verlander led the majors in innings pitched and usually still had a 100 mph fastball in the eighth inning – how many pitchers can claim that? Granted, the Royals had a weak offense which makes Grienke look all that better but the Tigers weren’t exactly threatening the record books on offense, either. I thought that Greinke and Verlander would finish 1 and 2 in the voting – it isn’t that far out, Aaron, that Verlander would get a first place vote from a writer that covers him. I’m sure this has happened many times over the years with other players. Why single this one out?

  19. JW - Nov 17, 2009 at 7:51 PM

    And people wonder why so many baseball fans across the country hate the Yankees? Never mind being the best team money can buy, the thing that really drives Yankee-hating is their insufferable fans. Greinke won. Get over it.

  20. maninmo - Nov 17, 2009 at 11:21 PM

    All I got to say is congrats to Zacke on winning the award. Now you are part of an amazing group of players. Who cares who finished second or thrid and how many 1st place votes they got?

  21. JIM GRAHAM - Nov 18, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    Good job Dan, You said it right, Verlander deserved all the recognition he got and should have received more first place votes but thats competition. To chastise the writer for picking him first showed a real lack of class by his fellow writer.

  22. Bill@TDS - Nov 18, 2009 at 10:24 AM

    If Greinke deserved to win, doesn’t he also deserve each individual first place vote? How does it make sense to say “Dude A deserved to win, but Dude B deserved to have more people mistakenly think that HE deserved to win”? That’s just silly. As was the vote for Verlander. That guy shouldn’t be allowed to vote on any other awards, ever.

  23. Rob - Nov 18, 2009 at 12:27 PM

    Why are Yankee fan on this board talking smack? Is it because they couldn’t buy CC a few 1st place votes in the Cy Young? Is it because their favorite son and one of the greatest Yankees of all-time (Jeter) will NEVER WIN AN MVP??? I’m just confused by this Yankee fans. Isn’t it enough to win a title? Isn’t winning a title about whoever has the best “team”? If Greinke were to have pitched with the Yankee lineup behind him this year he would have won about 26 games. But don’t worry Yankee fans, he’ll be up for free agency soon enough. You’ll be able to buy him and watch him for yourselves. You should thank teams like Kansas City for developing talent that will eventually fall on your roster.

  24. Gigi - Nov 18, 2009 at 12:41 PM

    Seriously? Look up how many games the Royals relievers have blown in the last several years. Our relief pitching has been consistently awful for years. You can complain about the Tigers leaving runners on base, but hey, at least your team consistently *put* runners on base. We had limited hit production.

  25. Bill@TDS - Nov 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM

    Wow…didn’t notice this before. This is one desperate, grasping-at-straws Tigers fan. Of the 17 AL pitchers with 200 IP, Greinke had the lowest run support by more than half a run. Verlander’s run support wasn’t great either, but it beat Greinke’s by closer to a run and a half. To argue that Greinke had any advantages over anybody by virtue of playing for the Royals is just beyond absurd.
    And not that it matters at all, but Tigers’ 2009 offense with runners on base: .271/.343/.426, Royals: .270/.330/.420. They obviously had a vastly inferior offense and had many fewer runners on base to begin with, but they also (predictably) did worse once runners actually got on base.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Do the Angels have any weaknesses?
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. G. Stanton (3742)
  2. A. Rizzo (2491)
  3. R. Castillo (2390)
  4. B. Belt (2189)
  5. A. Pujols (2091)
  1. H. Ryu (2026)
  2. C. Young (2004)
  3. J. Hamilton (1940)
  4. C. Davis (1841)
  5. E. Gattis (1804)