2010 AL Cy Young 2010: B/R Says Long Live the Mariners' King Felix Hernandez
Three weeks ago, Bleacher Report's Featured Columnists began to unveil the results of our end-of-season wards poll. We've looked at Gold Gloves, Silver Sluggers, Comeback Players of the Year, Relief Men of the Year, Rookies of the Year, and Managers of the year.
Now, in our last week, we get to the good part: Cy Youngs and MVPs.
As always the top five vote-getters are featured here, with commentary from the writers who chose them. The full list of results is at the end.
So read on, see how we did, and be sure to tell us what we got wrong!
No. 5: Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Featured writer: Lewie Pollis
If you determine the league’s best pitchers with wins and ERA, you won’t pick Cliff Lee for Cy Young. But if you prefer to judge hurlers based on their pitching instead of how many runs their supporting offense score or how effective the defense is at getting to the ball, Cliff Lee is your man.
Lee’s 2.58 FIP and 2.65 tERA both led the American League, and his 3.23 xFIP was the second-best. Not to mention his 7.1 FIP-based Wins Above Replacement—the best of any pitcher in baseball.
But Lee’s most amazing stat was his 10.3 strikeout-to-walk ratio, the second-best mark in baseball history. His 47:2 K:BB ratio in the postseason might not have mattered for this voting, but think about it—could any other pitcher in baseball have done that?
No. 4: Jon Lester, Red Sox
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
Featured writer: Asher Chancey
You wanna give the Cy Young Award to Felix Hernandez because he is the best pitcher in the American League, but you can’t because intuitively you know that Cy Young Award winners don’t go 13-12 no matter how bad their team is.
So you wanna give the Cy Young Award to C.C. Sabathia, because he won 21 games, but that doesn’t work either because, come on, 3.18 ERA, 2.66 K/BB ratio, and 197 strikeouts? That ain’t Cy Young caliber stuff.
So you’re stumped. Stumped, that is, until you look at Jon Lester:
His 19 wins were the second-best in the AL. His 225 strikeouts didn’t lead the league, but his 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings did. Plus, from a defense-independent stats perspective, Lester is a lot better candidate that Sabathia.
No. 3: CC Sabathia, Yankees
Andrew Burton/Getty Images
Featured writer: Dan Tylicki
When you have one player in a league who wins 20 games, naturally that player is going to be the talk of Cy Young voting. As a result, CC Sabathia is the front-runner in many people’s minds as the winner of the Cy Young Award.
Aside from his 21 wins, he’s in the top ten in ERA this year (with a better ERA than when he won the Cy in 2007), and is second in WAR. He threw 197 strikeouts, and he has been the workhorse of the Yankees, pitching just under 240 innings this season.
Whether you believe he should win it or Felix Hernandez should take home the title, you have to at least put him in the discussion. It wouldn’t make sense not to.
No. 2: David Price, Rays
J. Meric/Getty Images
Featured writer: Jamal Wilburg
Pitching in the most competitive and dominant division in baseball, David Price is more than worthy of the 2010 American League Cy Young Award.
He was by far the most dominant pitcher in the AL. Although Price was tied for second in the AL with 19 wins this season he had the best winning percentage, winning 76% of the games he received a decision. His leadership and arm led the Tampa Bay Rays to their 2nd postseason berth.
He finished the season third in the AL with a 2.72 ERA. He also compiled 188 strikeouts in his 208.2 innings pitched. He also won crucial games during the season when faced against the top pitchers in the AL including fellow Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia.
No. 1: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Featured writer: Jordan Schwartz
When it comes to pitching statistics, wins are nearly as insignificant as saves. That’s why it’s ridiculous to exclude Felix Hernandez from the American League Cy Young Award race simply because the terrible team he plays for allowed him to win only 13 games.
King Felix’s 2.27 ERA led baseball and his 249 2/3 innings were tops in the AL. His 232 strikeouts and 1.06 WHIP were second best in the league.
When you consider that no team in the designated hitter era scored fewer than the Mariners’ 3.17 runs per game this season, it’s pretty easy to throw wins and losses out the window.
Taking that one step further, Hernandez led the Majors in ERA and he didn’t even get to pad his statistics by facing one of the worst offenses of all time.
Clay Buchholz (17-7, 2.33) went 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA against Seattle, Trevor Cahill (18-8, 2.97) was 1-0 with a 0.00 mark vs. the Mariners and CC Sabathia, who led the league with 21 wins but had an ERA nearly a run higher than Hernandez, was 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA against Seattle.
King Felix was the best pitcher in the AL in 2010.
Brad White/Getty Images
1. Felix Hernandez, Mariners—97 (15)
2. David Price, Rays—65 (6)
3. CC Sabathia, Yankees—51 (5)
4. Jon Lester, Red Sox—23 (1)
5. Cliff Lee, Mariners/Rangers—19 (3)
6. Francisco Liriano, Twins—11 (1)
7. Clay Buchholz, Red Sox—7
T8. Trevor Cahill, Athletics—1
T8. Justin Verlander, Tigers—1
Voting on a 5-3-1 basis. First-place votes are in parentheses.
Schedule of Results
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
|AL Gold Gloves||October 25|
|NL Gold Gloves||October 26|
|AL Silver Sluggers||October 27|
|NL Silver Sluggers||October 28|
|AL Comeback Player of the Year||November 1|
|NL Comeback Player of the Year||November 2|
|AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 3|
|NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year||November 4|
|AL Rookie of the Year||November 8|
|NL Rookie of the Year||November 9|
|AL Manager of the Year||November 10|
|NL Manager of the Year||November 11|
|AL Cy Young||November 15|
|NL Cy Young||November 16|
|AL Most Valuable Player||November 17|
|NL Most Valuable Player||November 18