Why Justin Verlander Deserves the American League Cy Young Again

Zak SchmollAnalyst ISeptember 22, 2012

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Justin Verlander #35 of the Detroit Tigers winds up for a pitch against the Oakland Athletics at Comerica Park on September 19, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The American League Cy Young award race is going to be tough to call. While there are some traditionally dominant arms like Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez or Jered Weaver in the discussion, there are plenty of other arms joining them.

In particular, David Price and Chris Sale are both having excellent seasons and could easily receive votes when the ballots are cast.

So, who has the upper hand right now?

It seems as if last year's winner will be this year's winner. Justin Verlander is currently 15-8 with a 2.74 ERA, 223 strikeouts, a .217 batting average against and a 1.06 WHIP.

In context, these numbers are even more impressive. He is tied for eighth in wins, second in ERA, second in strikeouts, third in batting average against and second in WHIP. None of the other pitchers I mentioned above have this type of across-the-board strength. Most of them excel in one area like Jered Weaver in his ability to keep people off base.

His weakest statistic seems to be his win total, but given all the success that he has had this season, part of that number was damaged from a lack of run support. The Detroit Tigers were underachieving at the start of the season, so there were times where Verlander pitched really well but couldn't bring home the victory.

His first start of the year demonstrated that as he pitched eight shutout innings of two-hit baseball but received a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox. While he definitely has had some bad starts this year, he has also had plenty of great games that he was not rewarded for.

Overall, Verlander has the all-around package to win this award. While it definitely is not as obvious as it was last year, by almost any other standard he is having an excellent season.


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