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#pounditTuesday, July 23, 2024

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?

The Seattle ace led all pitchers by throwing quality starts 88% of the time. Sure quality starts may not be a great stat (all you have to do is go six innings of three-run ball to qualify), but that impressive percentage indicates Hernandez gave his team an excellent chance to win almost every single time he took the mound. In fact, of the 34 starts he made, he gave up three runs or fewer in 29 and only one run or less in 16.

So with all this statistical support, it’s pretty easy to see that Felix Hernandez was the best pitcher in the American League, right?

Wrong. Many people still feel his 13-12 record is not good enough to make him Cy Young winner.

Those detractors ignore the reality that the Seattle Mariners had the worst offense in MLB by far. Seattle scored almost 100 fewer runs than the next worst hitting team in baseball. They’ve average barely over three runs per game and scored only 60% of the runs the Yankees scored. They’ll be the first team to score less than 600 runs in a season since 2003 (Tigers and Dodgers both did it). Their 507 runs scored in 160 games makes them one of the worst offenses of the era.

Recognizing all that information, it’s a wonder Felix even reached 13 wins. How can you possibly penalize the man for his 13-12 record? Stick him on the Yankees and he’d have 25 wins. Actually, let him face the Yankees all 34 times and he would too, as evidence by his 3-0 record and 0.35 ERA against them this season. Not bad for a man pitching for the worst offensive team in baseball against the best.


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