Thursday, November 18, 2010
King Felix beats David Price for Cy Young
Felix Hernandez won the American League Cy Young Award Thursday, getting 21 of a possible 28 first-place votes after going 13-12 for the Seattle Mariners. He led the league with 249 ⅔ innings pitched, a 2.27 ERA, 30 quality starts and just seven hits allowed per nine innings. He set or tied career highs in starts, innings, strikeouts and complete games, and set a career low in ERA. And as mentioned earlier today, he led the league in xWIN and Superior Starts, two statistics created by ESPN Stats & Info.
Hernandez’s 13 wins are the fewest of any starting pitcher to win the Cy Young in a non-interrupted season, and the four lowest win totals by a Cy Young-winning starting pitcher have all been posted in the last five seasons. This means that the AL wins leader has won only five of the last nine Cy Youngs, while the AL ERA leader has won four of the last five and five of the last seven awards.
Hernandez is the second Mariners pitcher to win the award joining Randy Johnson, who won in 1995, after posting the lowest ERA by a starting pitcher in franchise history. He’s also just the third American League pitcher since 1980 to throw at least 240 innings with an ERA below 2.30, joining Cy Young winners Bret Saberhagen in 1989 and Roger Clemens in 1997.
Playing on a bad team did not keep Hernandez from winning the award, something that might not have been true before the turn of the century. His team was an even .500, the lowest ever for a Cy Young Award winner. And the Mariners had the worst overall win percentage in baseball history for a team that boasted the Cy Young winner, beating the 1972 Philadelphia Phillies and their .378 win percentage when Steve Carlton won in 1972.
David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays got four first place votes after going 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and 188 strikeouts in 208 ⅔ innings for the team that posted the league's best record. He threw the first two complete games and the first shutout of his career, and he shattered the franchise record for wins in a season when he got his 15th on August 9. And his team went 24-8 in games he started, the best team win percentage in starts among the top seven vote-getters.
CC Sabathia, who won the award in 2007, finished third after going 21-7 with a 3.14 ERA and 197 strikeouts in 237 ⅔ innings for the New York Yankees. He led the league in wins for the second consecutive season, his first time winning more than 19. And he also led the AL in Win Probability Added, as detailed earlier today by Mark Simon. Sabathia has now finished in the top five of the Cy Young voting in each of the last four seasons.
Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox finished fourth, after going 19-9 with a 3.25 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 208 innings. He was second in the AL in wins, third in strikeouts, first in K per nine innings among starting pitchers and tied for the major league lead with seven double-digit strikeout games.