The Cy Young Award is given annually to the most outstanding pitcher in each league of MLB, and the 2012 American League vote was the closest that it had been in over 40 years.
On Wednesday, with a four-point margin, David Price was awarded the AL Cy Young, and while Price is very deserving of the award, the Cy Young should be displayed in Justin Verlander's trophy case.
Price received 14 first-place votes, 13 second-place and one third-place vote, compared to Verlander's 13 first-place votes, 13 second-place votes and one third-place vote, making it the closest race since 1969 when Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain tied for the award.
Yes, Price had a better record and ERA, boasting a 20-5 record with a 2.56 ERA, but Verlander's numbers—17-8, with a 2.64 ERA—are relatively similar, and Verlander did more with less to work with.
With 33 appearances on the mound, Verlander had two more starts than Price and threw 27.1 more innings (238.1 innings compared to 211) than the Tampa Bay Rays' ace.
The Tigers' workhorse led the majors in strikeouts for the second consecutive season, mowing down 239 batters, which was 34 more than Price's 205 strikeouts. Price had 59 walks this season, only one less than Verlander.
Verlander also had a better WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) and a better WAR (wins above replacement) total as well. The 2011 Cy Young winner's WHIP was 1.06, compared to Price's 1.10, and Verlander's WAR was 7.5, compared to Price's 6.4.
Price was an attractive choice to win the Cy Young because of his better record, better ERA and the fact that he pitches in the AL East, one of the best divisions in baseball.
But Verlander led the majors in strikeouts, innings pitched and complete games and finished second in the American League in ERA, WHIP and opponents' batting average.
It's hard to argue against such well-rounded numbers.
Verlander also meant much more to his team than Price did.
Verlander won each of his last four starts of the regular season—all wins that the Tigers desperately needed—and did so in dominating fashion.
He pitched at least six innings in each of his last four starts, and in three of the four, he didn't allow an earned run. And because Verlander ate up so many innings—especially late in the season—it meant that his bullpen wasn't subjected to much stress during Verlander's starts.
It also bears mentioning that Verlander took his team to the World Series while Price failed to lead the Rays to the playoffs.
Baseball writers went with conventional wisdom, though, giving the Cy Young to Price.
Jason Stark, senior writer for ESPN.com, previewed the Cy Young before the award was announced and pointed out that 19 of the last 20 pitchers to lead their league in wins and ERA, as Price did, won the Cy Young.
I'm not saying that Price didn't deserve the award.
Congratulations to him.
I'm just saying that with everything considered, Verlander deserved it a little bit more.