A.L. Cy Young Award Contenders: Hernandez, Price, Buchholz, and Sabathia

Michael DeSantisSenior Analyst IOctober 3, 2010

David Price prepares to unleash pitch
David Price prepares to unleash pitchJ. Meric/Getty Images

The 2010 baseball season has concluded, and there are only four front-runners for the AL Cy Young award, awarded to the best pitcher in the league.  These four are Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners, David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, Clay Buchholz of the Boston Red Sox, and CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees.

Without further ado, let's look at the four aces' numbers and compare in each major category.

Wins Leader—CC Sabathia

Sabathia led the A.L. in wins this year, with a 21-7 record.  Sabathia has been excellent but the Yankees' huge run support has stolen a few wins for him.  CC is tied for the Major League lead in wins, along with Roy Halladay.

David Price came close to CC, with a 19-6 record.  Price, only 2 wins behind CC, had one less loss than him.  Clay Buchholz has a 17-7 record

Felix Hernandez comes far behind with a 13-12 record.  Hernandez easily deserved more victories, but the Mariners' lowly offense snubbed him of several victories. 

ERA Leader—Felix Hernandez

In my opinion, alongside wins, ERA is the most important category for a pitcher, because it proves how good somebody is.  Anybody can rack up wins with a superpower offense, though Sabathia deserved most of his.

"King Felix" led the A.L. with a sparkling 2.27 ERA.  This is an outstanding ERA, and he leads the majors in the category.  Next comes Buchholz with a great 2.33 ERA, and then comes David Price, with an awesome 2.72 ERA.  Price and Buchholz's ERAs are most impressive, because they pitch in the mighty A.L. East.  Finally, Sabathia has a solid 3.18 ERA, which is impressive for the AL East, but not matching those of Price and Buchholz.

WHIP Leader—Felix Hernandez

Once again, Hernandez finishes on top with an amazing 1.06 WHIP, among the top five in the Major League.  This proves the "You can't score when you don't have baserunners" theory.  Both David Price and CC Sabathia ended with a 1.19 WHIP, which is great.  Buchholz comes last with a 1.20 WHIP, which is still decent, just missing Price and CC's mark.

Strikeouts Leader—Felix Hernandez

You guessed it, King Felix.  Felix almost led the league in K's, with 232, only one strikeout behind the Angel's Jared Weaver.  That's truly impressive, and the amount of K's makes sense with his WHIP.  This proves Felix is in no way a contact pitcher.

CC comes next, with 197.  Price, the fellow left-hander, had a nice total of 188.  Buchholz had a total of 120 strikeouts.  120 isn't very good, and must've been extremely good at inducing easy grounders and pop-ups to keep his WHIP and ERA real low.  Buchholz had pitched less innings than the other 3, but his K total is still low.

Innings Leader- Felix Hernandez

Once again, Felix leads the category.  Felix's hefty 249.2 innings pitched makes his ERA and WHIP even more impressive.  CC has 237.2 innings thrown, and is an inning-eater for the Yankees.  Price also threw a heavy amount of innings, with 208.2.  Finally, Buchholz threw 173.2. 

So, who will win the award?

Sorry Red Sox fans, but it will not be Clay Buchholz.  His marks don't match those of Hernandez, not to mention he's pitched many fewer innings than the other three contenders.

The final three are Price, Sabathia, and Hernandez.  If the Mariners offense didn't play like the Bad News Bears, and given Felix the 20 or so wins he could've gotten with almost any other team, I'd have to say he'd win in a heart beat.  However, with his team not making the playoffs, not even coming close, with only 13 wins, that may be good enough to drop him out of some contention.  He's still right up there though, and should've won if he had a better team.

Between Price and Sabathia, I would have to award it to David Price.  Price had only two less wins than CC, and a significantly better ERA than Sabathia.  Also, the Rays won the A.L. East, so that's sure to be points in Price's favor.

It will be close between Felix, Price, and Sabathia, but I think Price may win it in the end.  Who do you think will win the award?