Debate Time Is Over: Zack Greinke Deserves the Cy Young
CC Sabathia does not deserve the American League Cy Young award. Nor do Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, or Mariano Rivera.
The way that these guys have pitched this season, each one them would typically have a pretty valid argument that he deserves the award. But not this year.
This year the award should belong to none other than the Kansas City Royals' right-hander Zack Greinke, and the reason is simple: He has been dominant.
It may be difficult to wrap your mind around the idea of any player from the Kansas City Royals being dominant, and that is understandable. The Royals have been one of baseball's biggest losers in the last two decades. They have not been true contenders since the Reagan administration.
But the team's recent history should not put a pall over the amazing season that Greinke has had.
Just look at his numbers. He has the best ERA among starters in both leagues at 2.08. He is third in all of baseball with 229 strikeouts. He has pitched six complete games, including three shutouts. He has only given up an amazing 50 earned runs.
All of these numbers seem to make him a shoo-in for the Cy Young—but there is one statistic that seems to bother a lot of baseball people.
Zack Greinke has a 15-8 record—only 15 wins and a 65 percent win percentage. Those are solid numbers, but not spectacular numbers. Some people think that these two numbers are far too average to merit him baseball's most coveted pitcher's award.
However, the real reason why Greinke has accumulated fewer wins is because he has gotten poor run support. The Kansas City Royals have "provided" him with a mere 3.5 runs per game that he has pitched in.
If that pathetic output doesn't shock you, then you should know this: Greinke has had eight no-decisions this season, and his ERA in those games is 1.95.
Just let that sink in for a minute—an ERA under 2.00 in no-decisions. That means if he had gotten just a little more support, his win numbers would be more than enough in most people's eyes.
If the Royals could have helped turn even just three of those no-decisions into wins, we would be looking at a slam dunk Cy Young winner with 18 wins, an ERA just over 2.00, and 229 strikeouts. He could even contend for the pitcher's Triple Crown. Fifteen wins will get you nowhere near a Triple Crown though.
Sabathia's 18 wins and 3.31 ERA are nice. Verlander's 245 strikeouts and 3.44 ERA are pretty impressive. Hernandez's 2.45 ERA and 16-5 record are very good. Rivera's 41 saves in 43 chances are great.
But none of those pitchers has been dominant.
Zack Greinke, he of the 2.08 ERA, 229 strikeouts, six complete games, three shutouts, and yes, those 15 wins, has truly been dominant—so dominant that there should be no more debate.
Greinke has been the best pitcher in not only the American League, but all of baseball. Kansas City Royal or not, his amazing performance should earn him the 2009 AL Cy Young.
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