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Felix Hernandez, David Price vie for AL Cy

11/18/2010

David Price

Price

Felix Hernandez

HernandezThe American League Cy Young Award will be announced Thursday afternoon, and unlike in the National League -- where Roy Halladay won unanimously -- there is much debate in the Junior Circuit over who should win.

There wasn’t a lot of attention given to the fact that David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays was named the 2010 AL Outstanding Pitcher by the Players Association on Oct. 28.

But the award that began in 1994 has been a perfect indicator of the eventual Cy Young Award winner in the American League every year since 1995. The only minor exception to this was in 1998 when Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens split the Players Association award and Clemens went on to win the Cy Young.

American League xWIN Leaders

If history holds up, Price would be the 16th player in 17 years -- and the 16th consecutive player -- to win both the Outstanding American League Pitcher and the American League Cy Young awards (excluding Martinez in 1998). In the National League, the Players Association Outstanding Pitcher Award has predicted the Cy Young Award winner only nine times in 16 previous years.

But when looking at next-level metrics, we get a different answer.

xWIN is a statistic created by ESPN Stats & Information that measures how many wins a pitcher's team should get based on his combination of innings pitched and earned runs allowed in each start. It eliminates the adverse effect of a having a bad offense on a pitcher's win total.

American League
Superior Starts Leaders

As you can see, Felix Hernandez led the AL by a wide margin in this statistic, despite winning just 13 games for the last-place Seattle Mariners.

The superior start is another statistic created by ESPN’s Stats & Information designed as an enhanced version of the quality start. For each start, a pitcher is assigned a probability he gave his team of winning based on his innings pitched and earned runs -- the same statistics used to determine a quality start.

A superior start is deemed to be any start in which the pitcher gave his team at least a 75 percent chance to win. King Felix led the league in this stat as well, not to mention the standard statistics of ERA, innings pitched and hits per nine innings.

For the case of CC Sabathia, check out this article from Stats & Info's Mark Simon.