The two aces have combined to win 22 games this year—a feat only matched by Roy Halladay and Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. One can argue that Weaver and Haren’s win total is even more impressive because their team’s offense ranks No. 25 in MLB compared to the Phillies which ranks No. 14.
Rather than go on about why I feel that Weaver and Haren are the best pitching duo in baseball, I instead seek to analyze this question: Will Haren and Weaver steal Cy Young votes from each other?
Of the two starting pitchers, Weaver certainly gets more attention. After being named to the 2011 All-Star team—an opportunity that Haren missed out on—he was later tabbed as the AL’s starting pitcher.
Weaver is currently the only pitcher in baseball with a sub-2.00 ERA. His 12 wins give him the second highest total in baseball, and he ranks in the top 10 in almost every major statistical category. Clearly his performance is praiseworthy.
Another reason Weaver receives more love is his longevity with the Angels. He was drafted by the team in 2004, made his major league debut in 2006 and is one of the longest-tenured players on the Halos. When you think of the Angels, you think of Weaver (or maybe Vernon Wells’ contract).
Although Weaver gets more of the attention, Haren is no slouch.
On almost any other team he’d be the No. 1 guy, but on the Angels, his excellent results are often overshadowed by Weaver’s. For example, only five pitchers have a WHIP less than 1.00. Haren’s is 0.98, but Weaver’s is slightly better at 0.93. It reminds me of that annoying song, “Anything you can do, I can do better.”
Haren has been dominant since joining the Angels, but he’s been an Angel for less than a year and has played on four different teams. Angels fans won’t be voting for the Cy Young Award, but they do have an impact on the attention and buzz that surround certain players.
It’s probably too early to focus on end of season awards, given that we are in mid-July and there is plenty of baseball left. But if Weaver and Haren continue at their current pace, I think the amount of votes that get stolen would be marginal.
Both pitchers are solid, but Weaver has the edge. He stormed out of the gates with an amazing April, stumbled a bit in May, but has rebounded since. Haren has been more consistent, but Weaver has had the better overall season and made far more headlines in doing so.
Should Haren step up his game during the second half and should Weaver continue to pitch well, then the two will probably steal votes from each other.
But if Weaver finishes a great season and misses out on the Cy Young, I think it will have less to do with Haren stealing votes and more to do with the performances of Justin Verlander, Josh Beckett or CC Sabathia.
Taking a step back, things could be far worse for Angels fans. The buzz surrounding two Cy Young candidates is a fresh change from the negativity that has followed Vernon Wells, Torii Hunter and an offense that has scored fewer runs than all but two AL teams.