C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees (20-6, 3.05)
Sabathia will win the American League Cy Young at the end of the season. With a 21-6 record, he’s certainly a worthy candidate. The fact that he plays for the New York Yankees has made him a shoe-in, however. Not to take anything away from Sabathia, but the Yankees offense deserves plenty of credit for his success this year. There are a ton of pitchers in the A.L. who would be worthy of the Cy Young Award any other year. Those same pitchers would be worthy of it this year if they played for the Yankees.
Sabathia also helped his own cause by pitching deep into games. That, on the other hand, is not owed to his teammates. The Yankees’ workhorse has thrown 224 innings so far this season, which is second only to Felix Hernandez. To be able to pitch at such a high level with that large of a workload is truly remarkable in this day and age.
1. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners (12-11, 2.35)
How is it that Hernandez can lead all A.L. starters in ERA, strikeouts (222), and innings pitched (233.2) and have 12 wins and 11 losses? Simply put, he plays for one of the worst teams in baseball. Never can I remember seeing a pitcher with this type of record and such an astonishing stat line. It’s one thing if the team is leaving it’s pitchers out to dry and they’re racking up innings, but King Felix’s ERA proves that’s not the case. He’s lost a ton of close games and received no-decisions on even more while playing for a team with arguably the worst offense in baseball.
I’m not sure why Hernandez signed an extension with the Mariners, but he did. Put him on any other team and the A.L. might have a clear-cut Cy Young winner for the next five seasons.
2. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox (18-8, 3.06)
Lester hit a rough patch from early-July through early-August, yet his pitching numbers somehow match up with the elite pitchers in the A.L. Couple that with the fact that the Red Sox have been out of contention for quite some time and you get an idea of the type of fighter the Red Sox ace really is.
Lester is second in the A.L. in strikeouts with 222 behind — you guessed it — Hernandez. He has thrown 197.0 innings already, meaning he will likely eclipse the 200-inning mark for the third straight season. There’s no question he’s one of the most dominant left-handers in the game right now.
3. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays (17-6, 2.79)
Price has been one of the most consistent pitchers in the A.L. this season. He’s a big, strong lefty that throws hard. That kind of seems like it’s becoming the trend (Lester, Sabathia) doesn’t it? The frightening thing for A.L. hitters is he’s only 25. The Rays unleashed him this year and it’s paid off in a huge way. A strikeout total of 172 and almost 200 innings pitched isn’t a bad way to burst onto the scene. Price has World Series MVP-type stuff, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he led the Rays to a championship this year.
Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (20-10, 2.53)
The Doc has emerged as an obvious choice to take home the N.L. Cy Young Award. At the beginning of the season, we wondered if he might be able to reach 25 wins. A rough stretch in June nixed that idea, but he’s been locked in ever since. He’s hurled a ridiculous 241.2 innings and compiled 213 strikeouts. Actually, that’s pretty standard for Halladay.
Halladay has thrown six or more innings in all but one start this season. That’s absolutely unheard of. The guy just doesn’t want to come out of games and somehow his arm is okay with it. It was only a matter of time before he threw a perfect game. If I could have one pitcher in the game today it would be the Doc. Yes, I know he’s 33. Come the 2010 postseason, I’m a Phillies fan. No one deserves a ring more than Halladay.
1. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals (19-11, 2.45)
Unfortunately for Wainwright, Halladay has joined the N.L. Otherwise the trophy would be his. In early September, when it had been about a month since his last win, Wainwright said he wouldn’t lose again this year. He’s 2-for-3 with that promise, but has gone at least 8 innings in each start since the guarantee.
Wainwright has thrown 224.1 innings and racked up 206 strikeouts. With the exception of 2008 when he battled injuries, the Cardinals’ ace has been dominant and a mainstay in the N.L. Cy Young discussion.
2. Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies (19-6, 2.84)
Jimenez tossed Colorado’s first ever no-hitter in what is notoriously a hitter’s ballpark. Right then, we knew he was something special. He continued to dominate and had a record of 8-1 with an ERA of 0.99 through almost a third of the MLB season. Naturally, hitters gradually began catching up with Jimenez but he wasn’t slowed significantly.
A line of 202.2 innings, 192 strikeouts, and an opponent’s batting average of .213 will have him in the Cy Young discussion, but he wasn’t able to sustain his unfathomable pace over the long haul.Google+