Last season, there was little question that Justin Verlander was going to win the AL Cy Young Award. He won the AL pitching Triple Crown, leading the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts. Pitchers who do that tend to walk away with the hardware.
Verlander is once again in the middle of a tremendous season, but the AL Cy Young race isn't nearly as cut-and-dry as it was last year; Verlander has some serious competition.
Jered Weaver is right in the thick of things. He leads the AL in wins with 15, and he also has the league's top ERA and top WHIP. The no-hitter he pitched in May looms large on his Cy Young resume.
Felix Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young winner, is also right in the thick of things. He's among the league leaders in virtually every pitching category, and he's only getting better and better as the season moves along.
Also in the thick of the race are Chris Sale and David Price, two of the best lefties in baseball.
Make no mistake about it, the chase for the AL Cy Young Award features a crowded field. Figuring out who's leading the chase on a week to week basis is an exercise in frustration.
Nonetheless, it must be done. For your reading pleasure, here are this week's AL Cy Young rankings.
Note: All stats come from Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.