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 and he finished third with six complete games.
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.
In fact, when you remove Sabathia's stats against the Mariners, his ERA rises from 3.18 to 3.57.
Hernandez, meanwhile, was 3-0 with a 0.35 ERA vs. the Yankees in 2010.
That's right, the Seattle hurler had a lower ERA against the best offense in baseball than Sabathia had against the worst.
Hernandez was dead last among 92 qualifying pitchers in Major League Baseball at 3.75 runs of support per game; Sabathia was 15th at 7.31.
Some critics like to say Hernandez rarely had to pitch in a pressure situation because his team didn't play a meaningful game all season. But you could say he was under more pressure than any pitcher because he knew that if he gave up a run, his team had pretty much no shot at winning.
In fact, Hernandez faced more batters in high leverage situations this year than Sabathia did and had better results.
Opponents hit just .205 off the right-hander in those spots, while they batted .258 vs. the lefty.
Sabathia had a tremendous season as he finished second in the league in winning percentage (.750) and innings pitched (237 2/3) and placed sixth with 197 strikeouts, seventh in ERA and 10th with a 1.19 WHIP.
But the choice is clear when it comes to picking an American League Cy Young.
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at email@example.com