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The case for why Felix Hernandez should win the Cy Young

09.30.10 at 1:48 pm ET
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I realize that the Yankees and the Rays are still battling it out to see who will win the AL East, but I’m more concerned with the other race in the American League: The Cy Young.

There are five legit candidates this year: CC Sabathia, David Price, Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and Felix Hernandez. (No disrespect to Trevor Cahill, who has had an outstanding year, but I just can’t put him in same class as the others.)

You can make an argument for each one of them. If you look at wins, than Sabathia may be your guy. If you look more at ERA, than its between Hernandez and Buchholz. The final vote may be one of the closest races in recent history.

My opinion?  I give the nod to Felix Hernandez.

I just think that King Felix has been the most dominant pitcher in the game this year. I know that he only has 13 wins on the year, but you have to take into consideration how bad Seattle’s offense was this year. The Red Sox, Rays and Yankees have scored 290, 287, and 337 more runs, respectively, than the Seattle Mariners.  But with a race this close, I chose to take a deeper look and see how each pitcher did against the AL East. I don’t think that this should be the deciding factor, but as we all know, the East is the best division in baseball.  Take a look:

CC SABATHIA: 21-7, 3.18 ERA, 237 2/3 IP, 197 K’s

Against ‘€¦

Baltimore (6 starts) 5-1, 3.56 ERA, 43 IP, 31 K’s

Boston (4 starts) 1-0, 3.96 ERA, 25 IP, 17 K’s

Tampa Bay (5 starts) 1-2, 3.38 ERA, 34 2/3 IP, 29 K’s

Toronto (1 start), 1-0. 1.08 ERA, 8 1/3 IP 8 K’s

Total: (16 starts) 8-3, 3.41 ERA, 111 IP, 85 K’s

(CC’s numbers are good but nothing blows you away.)

DAVID PRICE: 19-6, 2.73 ERA, 207 2/3 IP, 187 K’s

Against ‘€¦

Baltimore (2 starts), 2-0, 0.60 ERA, 15 IP, 15 K’s

Boston (3 starts), 2-1, 2.61 ERA, 20 2/3 IP, 20 K’s

New York (4 starts), 2-1, 4.39 ERA, 26 2/3 IP, 21 K’s

Toronto (4 starts), 4-0, 0.58 ERA, 31 IP, 23 K’s

Total: (13 starts) 10-2, 2.12 ERA, 93 1/3 IP, 79 K’s

(Winning 10 games in the AL East is impressive. After looking at these numbers, Price jumps up the board.)

CLAY BUCHHOLZ: 17-7, 2.33 ERA, 173 2/3 IP, 120 K’s

Against ‘€¦

Baltimore (2 starts), 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 15 IP, 7 K’s

New York (2 starts), 1-1, 5.84 ERA, 12 2/3 IP, 5 K’s

Tampa Bay (3 starts), 1-1, 0.98 ERA, 18 1/3 IP, 20 K’s

Toronto (3 starts), 3-0, 0.41 ERA, 22 IP, 15 K’s

Total: (10 starts) 6-2, 1.46 ERA, 67 2/3 IP, 47 K’s

(The starts and innings are a little short, but you have to keep in mind that he missed four starts in the middle of the year because of injury. Clay struggled in two starts vs. the Yanks but his other eight starts in the division were very impressive.)

JON LESTER: 19-8, 2.96 ERA, 204 IP, 220 K’s

Against ‘€¦

Baltimore (4 starts), 3-0, 2.16 ERA, 25 IP, 28 K’s

New York (4 starts), 3-0, 2.13 ERA, 25 1/3 IP, 25 K’s

Tampa Bay (4 starts), 3-1, 3.24 ERA, 25 IP, 34 K’s

Toronto (4 starts), 3-1, 4.50 ERA, 22 IP, 22 K’s

Total: (16 starts) 12-2, 2.96 ERA, 97 1/3 iIP 109 K’s

(If Price winning 10 games in the division is impressive how would you categorize Lester winning 12? I realize that you can’t take specific starts out of the equation, but keep in mind on Aug. 20, Lester went two innings vs. Toronto and gave up nein earned runs.  Going into that start, John was 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in thre starts vs. the Blue Jays. There is no question Lester has pitched his way into the discussion. If this year isn’t his year, it’€™s just a matter of time.)

FELIX HERNANDEZ: 13-12, 2.27 ERA, 249 2/3 IP 232 K’s

Against ‘€¦

Baltimore (2 starts), 1-0, 0.56 ERA, 16 IP, 13 K’s

Boston (1 start), 1-0, 1.23 ERA, 7 1/3 IP, 9 K’s

New York (3 starts) 3-0, 0.35 ERA, 26 IP, 31 K’s

Toronto (1 start), 0-1, 1.13 ERA, 8 IP, 5 K’s

Total: (7 starts) 5-1, 0.63 ERA, 57 1/3 IP, 58 K’s

(Complete domination! Did you see what he did against the Yankees? I realize that Felix pitches in an extremely pitcher friendly ballpark but keep in mind that five of his seven starts were on the road. Two of the three starts against the Yanks were in New York.  He threw a complete game shutout on June 30th allowing two hits and striking out 11.  He came back to Yankee stadium on August 20th and only went eight scoreless innings allowing four hits while striking out 11 again. These numbers certainly don’t hurt my argument that Felix Hernandez should be this year’€™s Cy Young Award winner.)

Maybe these numbers change your mind, maybe they don’t. The one thing that I got out of them was that CC Sabathia may actually be fifth on my ballot. I realize how valuable he is to that Yankee staff, but this race is not about the most valuable pitcher to his team. Cy Young is given to the most dominant pitcher that year. As good of a year CC is having, I don’t think that it was one of his best. If I had a vote, which I don’t, it would look like this:

1. Felix Hernandez

2. David Price

3. Clay Buchholz

4. John Lester

5. CC Sabathia

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