The Cy Young Award, like MVP accolades, is one that comes with much debate and countless different opinions about its winner.
There are so many characteristics that go into choosing an award's recipient that any casual fan can say that the experts are simply over-thinking it.
In 2012, the choice should be clear in the American League. Your Cy Young winner is clearly David Price.
Price led the AL with a 2.56 ERA and was second only to Clayton Kershaw (2.53 ERA) in the entire MLB among starting pitchers.
Price also led the AL in wins with 20, trailing only Gio Gonzalez of the NL, who had 21 victories.
A valuable statistic in determining a pitcher's worth to his team is innings pitched. While Price was just eighth in total innings pitched in the AL with 211, he ranked fourth in innings pitched per start, averaging nearly seven inning per start. In 31 starts on the season, Price only pitched less than five innings in two games.
Price surrendered 173 hits, least among all pitchers in the AL who pitched at least 200 innings and third among pitchers who made at least 31 starts.
Of the pitchers with the Top 10 ERA in the AL, Price surrendered just 244 total bases to opposing hitters, good for second-best in that group. Price also surrendered the least triples (zero), the least doubles (23) and the second-least home runs (16).
An interesting statistic that is highly valued by some and not valued at all by others is "Wins Above Replacement," or WAR. Essentially, it is a number assigned to a player based on his value to his team and represents the number of games more that player is worth than someone else on a team's bench or a minor league player.
Who should win the AL Cy Young Award?
Price has the second-highest WAR number of all AL pitchers, with 6.4.
To look at how Price's 2012 numbers have stacked up against previous AL Cy Young winners, note this:
Of the past 10 winners, Price's ERA is lower than six pitchers. Only five won more games, and only six bested him in strikeouts (205).
Not only did Price have one of the best years for a Rays pitcher in franchise history, he also had one of the best pitching performances in recent league history.
It's time Price won his first Cy Young.