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Lack of Mariners Run Support Made Felix Hernandez Deserving Cy Young Winner

King Felix has finally earned his crown. The 24-year-old right-hander from Venezuela was announced as the American League Cy Young Award winner on Thursday. With just a 13-12 record his Cy Young victory symbolizes a major league change in the game. What’s at stake anymore? Is it fantasy or is it real?

Mathematicians using sabermetrics are now imperative for every team to utilize in the decision making process. What used to be the ultimate purpose of the game — earning a win — has become just another number. A guy that 20 years ago may have been cast upon the scrap heap has gained new found value. Players are being judged in ways old scouts never would have dreamed. Mathematical formulas and graphs are now so intertwined its hard to tell the difference between a baseball scout and a computer programmer.

It’s hard to argue against wins being the most important stat. What else are they wearing those funny looking uniforms for?

Due to the nature of a team game, however, wins must be earned by the entire team, as a team. A pitcher cannot win if his team does not score runs. That is the tragic burden piled upon the pitching arm of Felix Hernandez. In his 12 losses, his team scored a total of seven runs while he was in the game. It’s going to be tough to win with run support like that, no matter who you are.

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Felix Hernandez Has to be the AL Cy Young Award Winner

Much to his dismay, the Seattle Mariners decided to shut down Felix Hernandez and skip his scheduled start in the season finale on Sunday. King Felix will miss a chance at solidifying his Cy Young candidacy, but it shouldn’t matter; Hernandez has shown that he is undoubtedly the best pitcher in the American League this year.

Hernandez finished the season 13-12 while leading the Majors with a 2.27 ERA. The 24-year-old stud also threw 249.2 innings, which was one shy of tying Roy Halladay for the MLB lead. Hernandez’s monstrous innings pitched total was more than anyone else in baseball the past five seasons and the most in the American League since Halladay threw 266 in 2003.

In case you don’t understand the significance of this achievement, we’ll put it simple: the more innings you pitch, the more you’re helping your team by sparing the bullpen and giving the club many more high-quality innings than they would get from more inferior pitchers.

In addition to the stellar innings total, Hernandez blew hitters away with his blazing fastball and devastating curve and change up to the tune of 232 strikeouts. The 232 total placed King Felix second in baseball, one behind Angels pitcher Jered Weaver.

Still not impressed?

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And the 2010 Cy Young Award Goes to…

AMERICAN LEAGUE WINNER

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.

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NL Mid-Season Baseball Awards

With baseball at the All-Star break, we assembled the staff here at LBS to select our mid-season baseball awards. Yesterday, we posted the AL awards. Today, it’s the NL awards.

NL MVP

Steve DelVecchio says Joey Votto, 1B, Reds: The Reds, yes the Reds, are in first place and much of it is because of the bat and glove of Votto. He’s hitting .314 with 22 HR and 60 RBI and has made only two errors, yet somehow it took the fans voting him in on the final vote to earn a spot on the NL All-Star team. I’m giving it to him for now because he has the Reds in first, but I’m sure he’ll come back to earth at some point. My honorable mentions are Albert Pujols and David Wright. Isn’t it just a tradition to give it to Pujols? He’s got the stats for it at .307 with 21 HR and 64 RBI. As for Wright, he’s been raking even though the Mets could be the streakiest team in the history of baseball. He has a .314 average with 14 HR and 65 RBI. To top that off, he’s mixed in 15 steals which is just outside the top 10 in the NL.

Alan Hull says Joey Votto: The batting average, home runs and RBI are impressive and he plays on a winning team. Pujols or David Wright are keeping pace and can’t be counted out in the second half.

Jake Walker says Joey Votto: Never has a snub for the All-Star Game proven to be more powerful. When he got left off the roster and relegated to the fan vote, it made everyone wake up to realize how much he was dominating the NL this year.

Larry Brown says Joey Votto: Much like Miguel Cabrera in the AL, Votto has some of the best numbers in the NL across the board. He finished the first half strong by homering in seven of his team’s last 15 games to give him 22 on the year. I’m guessing Albert Pujols catches him and wins it, but Votto’s putting up one heck of a fight.

NL CY YOUNG AWARD

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AL Mid-Season Baseball Awards

With baseball at the All-Star break, we assembled the staff here at LBS to select our mid-season baseball awards. Up first, the AL Awards. Tomorrow, the NL Awards.

AL MVP

Alan Hull says Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers: While Robinson Cano, Justin Morneau and Josh Hamilton are all in the mix, the MVP Award should probably be called the Triple Crown Category Leader on a Winning Team Award. Cabrera isn’t very good defensively, doesn’t play a difficult position, but with Albert Pujols having a down year, he has sneaked into the conversation for the best hitter in baseball. I could see Cano winding up winning it in the end.

Steve DelVecchio says Robinson Cano, 2B, Yankees: Cano has been the best hitter on the best team in the majors, and on top of that he’s only made one fielding error so he has second base locked down defensively. With a line of 16 HR 67 RBI and a .337, he doesn’t necessarily have the best stats in the AL, but you have to give weight to the Yankees position and also what he’s done on defense.

Larry Brown says Miguel Cabrera: From the beginning of the season all the way to the All-Star break, Miggy has been the most consistent hitter in baseball. He sobered up in the offseason and that seems to have taken his already ridiculous offensive game to an Albert Pujols-level. He’s heading for his best season ever.

Jake Walker says Miguel Cabrera: He’s leading the AL in batting average, RBIs, and he’s second in home runs. He has a legitimate shot at winning the Triple Crown in the AL. How can you not say he’s MVP? In another year Cano might get it, but not with the year Cabrera’s having.

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