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Poll: Who should win the American League Cy Young Award?

Sep 30, 2010, 11:28 AM EDT

I and the other members of the HBT gang have offered our opinions about the AL Cy Young Award more times than we can count. Now it's your turn.

If you’d like to do a little research first, here’s the place to go. Sorry, there is not a category for “pressure faced.” You’ll have to do what all of the national writers do on that one: make it up yourself, seemingly out of whole cloth.

  1. lenny - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:19 PM
    Felix Hernandez is MLB’s version of Boise State
    29 Sep 2010
    By: L. Smalls
    Felix Hernandez is the Boise State of MLB. He may not win the Cy Young this year because of factors that are obviously outside of his control. The same way Boise State (and TCU) was denied an opportunity to play for a National Championship last year due to factors outside of its control. Why doesn’t everybody else look at the situation the same way I do and get this thing right?
    The Cy Young is supposed to be an individual award and not an award given to a team for a group effort, correct? They award the Cy Young to the best individual pitcher for a season and not the pitcher who plays on the best team, correct? Not so fast. If Hernandez does not win the Cy Young this year after posting an ERA of 2.27 and dominating opposing batters to a tune of 30 quality starts (6 IP, 3 or fewer ER’s) while Sabathia or Price win while not performing INDIVIDUALLY as well as Felix while enjoying almost twice as much offensive and bullpen support then it is obvious the award is not what it seems to be on the surface.
    On the surface the Cy Young is an award given to the league’s best pitcher for that year but behind that façade it is just another team award given to the “have’s” and hard to award to the “have not’s”. Pitchers from Seattle, Pittsburgh and Baltimore can forget about winning the award because their offensive teammates don’t live up to their end of the bargain when the ace is on the mound and quality starts are wasted in 1-0 losses. If the Mariners would have scored more than 7 runs during his 12 losses then Hernandez would be a 20 game winner right now and I would be working on my “honey do” list instead of sitting at my laptop with a cup of coffee and an elevated heart rate.
    What makes things worse for AL pitchers on offensively challenged teams is that they don’t even get to pick up a stick and help out their own cause. Felix dominates opposing batters and then takes a seat and watches as his team make Kyle Davies, KC (8-11, 5.31 ERA) and Kevin Millwood, Bal (4-16, 5.10 ERA) look like they should be considered for the Cy Young themselves! And don’t get me started on Seattle’s bullpen which is probably more to blame for this conversation than Seattle’s anemic offense. If you leave a game with a lead in the 8th inning in professional baseball you should be confident you will win the game most of the time but this was not the case this year in Seattle.
    It is obvious Felix Hernandez will have to go the same route Boise State has gone this year. Boise State had to set themselves up for a chance at the national championship by first dominating their schedule and completing an entire season undefeated and using last year’s success to begin the season as a top 5 team this year. The fact that they are in position to play for the national championship is largely based on last year’s performance because they otherwise would have again started the season ranked outside the top 10 and found it impossible to climb high enough to get into the championship game even if they did win all their games again. If Felix doesn’t win at least he has set himself up to win next year with another dominating season, it’s just a shame that he has to do it twice while Yankees and Rays players don’t face the same challenges.

  2. udayton - Sep 30, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Last I looked it’s all about the big “W” and although quality starts is a nice stat for the talking heads to bandy about… No pitcher is getting into the Hall of Fame based on quality starts and 13 wins a season! I believe for a non-playoff pitcher to win the Cy he must be NOT arguably better than the others but inarguably better. It will be CC or Price because without them their teams aren’t in the playoffs! I’m really sorry Lester and Buchholz…NOT! :-)

  3. Old Gator - Sep 30, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    If I didn’t know that Proudly Canadian would be reading this, I could tell you. Same goes for their beer.

  4. John_Michael - Sep 30, 2010 at 8:38 PM

    Have to semi-defend Millwood. Granted his 5.10 ERA isn’t, well, good, but his 4-16 record, similarly to F-Her, isn’t all his fault. Here are a few final scores in games where he got the loss:
    Now I realize that the majority of the runs against were probably Millwood’s fault, but those are 12 (twelve!) losses right there where the O’s scored 2 or less runs. Not much he can do…I mean, he’s not Felix Hernandez. Millwood’s at 190.2 innings this year. In so far as he ate innings, and the Orioles weren’t exactly going to contend anyway, he hasn’t been all terrible.

  5. John_Michael - Sep 30, 2010 at 8:55 PM

    And onto data:
    Compared to 2009, where Millwood had a 3.67 ERA, but a 4.78 xFIP, in 2010 Millwood is striking out more (6.23 vs. 5.57 K/9IP) and walking less (3.07 vs. 3.22 BB/9IP) for a slightly better 4.67 xFIP. His BaBIP has increased to .322 from .279, but that’s against a career average of .307.
    By no means has Millwood been a success this year for Baltimore, but he hasn’t been the disappointment. He basically replicated what he did last year and ate innings that a young bullpen didn’t have to. Considering that in July the O’s were on pace for 113 losses and last night’s win kept the loss max at 99, it’s safe to say that Millwood isn’t to blame for the O’s woes. Not that I thought you meant that in the first place.
    But all this just proves is that regardless of how well one (Hernandez) pitches, or how mediocre (Millwood), the other eight guys, nine if you count the DH, in the lineup are extremely influential to a pitcher’s win-loss record…which seems to be the only knock against Felix Hernandez this year’s debate for AL Cy Young.

  6. donniedee - Oct 1, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    There seems to be a bifarcation in thinking between “old” and “new” that either you are smart and into the sabermetric analytics or your dumb and a fossil by following stale stats. I believe that ALL stats are a tool in the “kit” to be used judiciously. Wins is not the sole criteria nor is the FIP, DIP, quality starts (arbitrary at 4.50 ERA) or any other trendy stat.
    Looking at the candidates the grading is clear for the top 4
    Hernandez, Price, Sabathia and Lester. Limited innings or higher ERA’s, higher whips, less quality starts and other peripherals eliminate Weaver, Lee, Buchholz, Verlander, Liriano and Cahill.
    Here’s what I find the most interesting among the writer of this article-he extolls King Felix but yet ignores Jered Weaver who has as strong stats as the other top candidates but yet only has 13-12 record? Why was he excluded from the discussion could it be because he only had 13 wins??? I think so.
    As arbitrary as wins may be, you still need to keep your team in the game and match the other pitcher-similar to Sabathia and Price’s battle 2 weeks ago. You pitch to the score-if up by 5 or more, throw strikes, don’t walk batters, if they get a run or two, don’t worry as you are saving the bullpen and helping your team. Both CC and Felix have done that by the number of innings pitched. Pick up your teammates when errors occur. That is the most telling stat of King Felix, he has allowed the most UNEARNED RUNS over the past two years compared to the rest of his peers- 32 in total. CC-18, Zack-21, Lester-9! Why is that if Seattle is suppose be to good defensively??? There could be score keeping bias in Felix’s behalf and it could be Felix just doesn’t “pick his team mates up”.
    If sabermetrics were the end all be all, then the Padres wouldn’t be in a pennant race and the Twins should be also rans every year. Baseball is played by “teams” following instilled principals that the sum is greater than the parts. Sometimes you need to apply old thinking. CC is my Cy Young winner followed by Felix, Price, Weaver, Lester, Cahill.

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