At the start of the 2009 season, it is almost certain that most people in baseball would never have put Zack Greinke's name on the list for A.L. Cy Young Award candidates. However, for the majority of the season, Greinke has been one of the best pitchers in baseball.
What makes Greinke an even more unlikely initial candidate, is that two years ago he couldn't get through his bullpen sessions due to an anxiety disorder that was prohibiting him from pitching.
Greinke had to take some time away from baseball in order to get his health under control, and then took the long road back to the majors.
Last year, Greinke went 13-10 with a 3.47 ERA. Those are not exactly overly impressive numbers, but what's important to remember is that Greinke pitches for the Royals, a team that is not exactly known for scoring runs for their pitchers.
Not only that, but Greinke has never been very serious about pitching. He happens to be very good at it, but he finds it boring only playing once every five days. He has repeatedly said that he thinks it would be a lot more fun to be a position player so that he could play every day. Not to mention, he happens to love hitting.
Despite all of that, Zack Greinke started off 2009 with a bang that most pitchers would commit a crime for. He posted an 8-0 record with an ERA slightly over 1.00. He is currently 13-8 with a 2.19 ERA and has pitched six complete games.
CC Sabathia leads the A.L. with seventeen wins, but the Yankees are more likely to give him run support than the Royals are for Greinke. Sabathia has 178 strikeouts to Greinke's 216, and has only pitched two complete games, while Greinke has has six.
Josh Beckett has fifteen wins, and Roy Halladay has 14, but both pitchers have ERAs over 3.00. Greinke has managed to keep his slightly above 2.00 without possessing the same kind of electric stuff that Sabathia, Beckett, and Halladay have.
Greinke should win the A.L. Cy Young Award this year because he has been consistent this season, and has done so on a team that is not at the top of their division. He has managed to keep his opponents off balance, which is evident in his strikeout total.
The really impressive thing, is that Greinke has managed to post these numbers all while keeping his anxiety disorder in check.
Hopefully, the baseball writers who vote on these distinguished awards will take all of that into consideration before they make their decision.