The Tampa Bay Rays’ ace became the first pitcher to achieve 20 wins in a season in the franchise's history. He owned the previous team record for wins, with his 19-win season in 2010. Unfortunately for Price, his wins were not enough in 2010, and he finished second in Cy Young voting to the Seattle Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez.
This season should end with a different result.
For starters, a 20-win season is one of those round numbers that is held in universal regard in baseball. His win Sunday tied Price with Jared Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the AL lead. As we learned in 2010, wins alone don’t guarantee a Cy Young winner since Hernandez won the award with only 13 wins under his belt that year.
Price’s resume is much more extensive than wins alone.
Here are three reasons David Price should win the AL Cy Young award.
David Price has a 2.56 ERA, which is the best in baseball. The last eight pitchers to own or share the lead the AL in wins and ERA have won the Cy Young. The only exception was Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Boddicker in 1984, who was beat out by Detroit Tigers closer Willie Hernandez, who won the award.
Interestingly, if Price were to lose the award to a closer this season, it would be his Rays teammate Fernando Rodney, who has posted an impressive 0.61 ERA and 46 saves this season.
Above his wins and ERA numbers, Price also has 211 innings pitched with 205 strikeouts. He has held opponents to a .226 batting average as well.
The combination of traditional statistics are there to support Price in 2012.
David Price did most of his heavy lifting on the road this season for the Tampa Bay Rays. It's one thing to be a dominant pitcher in front of a home crowd, but to go into hostile environments and shut down hitters is what a true ace does.
In his 18 starts on the road this season, Price compiled a 13-3 record with a 3.16 ERA.
Imagine if David Price got some offensive support from the Tampa Bay Rays’ bats.
Price has seen some of his greatest pitching performances this year wasted due to the offense’s inability to score runs. The Rays were shut out on three of his starts this season, including two starts in May where he left the game scoreless after eight innings pitched.
Also, on five occasions, he has pitched one earned run or less and either lost the game or received a no-decision. He has a 1.62 ERA in 44.1 innings in his six no-decisions this year for the Tampa Bay Rays.
It’s hard to fathom how hard it must be to take the mound knowing that in nine percent of your starts, giving up one run will lose the game. He doesn’t have elite hitters like Prince Fielder, Miguel Cabrera or Albert Pujols in the lineup to provide consistent offensive support his starts. The Rays' best offensive weapon, Evan Longoria, missed 88 games due to injury.
Nowhere on the stats sheet will the pressure Price performed under all season to be near perfect on the mound appear. Pressure makes diamonds, and in this case, a pitcher deserving of a Cy Young.
Jamal Wilburg is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.