With less than a month left in the season, some division races are heating up while others distance themselves from the pack. Baseball is a team sport, where everyone works together toward the ultimate prize, the World Series.
However, this is the time of year that the MLB community starts buzzing with rumors and babble about the individuals in the game, separating the ordinary from the extraordinary.
Some people may think that all this talk is overrated, but many of the "great" athletes would trade in their personal hardware for the ring. But being a pitcher, sort of, I've always had an affinity for the Cy Young Award.
So without further ado, here are my predictions for the Cy Young.
Note: There are some guys that deserve to be on the list, but the fact that sports writers put so much stress on the win total, those guys were omitted. Also, guys that were omitted like ones that have a high win total, but a high ERA and stuff along those lines. Closers and relief staff were also omitted as there is a different award for them.
AL Award Contenders
1. Cliff Lee 21-2- 2.28 ERA- 28 GS- 4 CG- 2 SHO- 201.1 IP- 184 H- 54 R- 51 ER- 8 HR- 4 HBP- 28 BB- 154 SO
Cleveland's surprise Ace Cliff Lee is the front-runner for the award for obvious reasons. He leads in the ERA and Wins categories in the pitching "Triple Crown" and may not dominate like some of the other guys, but he definitely holds his own. Impeccable command, consistency, and great endurance has helped him solidify his chances for the award.
2. Roy Halladay 18-9- 2.64 ERA- 29 GS- 8 CG- 2 SHO- 218.0 IP- 193 H- 75 R- 64 ER- 17 HR- 12 HBP- 35 BB- 185 SO
The workhorse of the Jays staff has the chance to put up similar numbers to his 2003 Cy Young campaign, but his efforts are overshadowed by that of Cliff Lee's dream season. Halladay leads the American League in Complete games displaying amazing durability. However, several of his starts he received little run support. His record could easily be 22-5 if he had won his starts with little run support. If Cliff Lee didn't post the stellar season he's having, Halladay would be the obvious front-runner.
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka 16-2- 2.88 ERA- 25 GS- 146.2 IP- 111 H- 51 R- 47 ER- 10 HR- 5 HBP- 84 BB- 131 SO
Dice-K bounced back from a disappointing rookie season with a great sophomore campaign. He still struggles with his control walking 5 or more batters in 11 of his starts, but still managed to post an ERA under 3. Keeping the ball in the ballpark and giving up fewer hit has been keys to his success.
4. Ervin Santana 15-5- 3.23 ERA- 28 GS- 2 CG- 1 SHO- 192.0 IP- 169 H- 72 R- 69 ER- 19 HR- 5 HBP- 44 BB- 191 SO
When John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar went down, the Angels looked to a couple struggling youngsters to step up. Ervin Santana has delivered with a spectacular season, emerging as the unexpected Santana near the top of the strikeout list.
5. Mike Mussina 17-8- 3.48 ERA- 30 GS- 178.1 IP- 194 H- 79 R- 69 ER- 17 HR- 8 HBP- 25 BB- 130 SO
Perennial 10 game winner Mike Mussina has the best control out of any of the other contenders. He lives and strives on the corners, a key to his success this season. His elevated ERA and lower strikeout total are the only things holding him back from winning the award.