Friday, November 19, 2010

Felix Hernandez takes home AL Cy Young

King Felix Hernandez took home the AL Cy Young. With Halladay in the National League, the AL award was fair game.
Despite posting just a 13-12 record, Hernandez finished well ahead of the Rays' David Price and Yankees 21-game winner CC Sabathia in the voting results released Thursday by the BBWAA.

While there were 17 AL pitchers with more victories this season, Hernandez impressed voters who looked deeper into his dominant season for a 61-101 Mariners club that scored the fewest runs per game of any Major League team since the designated hitter was introduced to the AL in 1973.

King Felix received 21 of a possible 28 first-place votes and finished with 167 voting points. Price, who went 19-6 for Tampa Bay, received four first-place votes and 111 points. Sabathia was named first on three ballots and garnered 102 points. Boston's Jon Lester and the Angels' Jered Weaver finished a distant fourth and fifth, respectively.[...]

Hernandez led the AL in ERA (2.27) and innings pitched (249 2/3) and struck out 232 batters, one behind Weaver for most in the league. Since the advent of the Cy Young Award in 1956, only 10 pitchers have led their league in those three categories. All 10 won Cy Youngs.

By virtually every statistical category, whether traditional or sabermatic, Hernandez had an incredible season. Yet his won-loss record created an interesting debate for the 28 Cy Young voters, two writers from each AL city.

No starting pitcher had ever won an AL Cy Young Award with fewer than 16 wins. Fernando Valenzuela captured the National League Cy Young Award with a 13-7 record in 1981, but that was a strike-shortened season in which teams played about 110 games.

Tim Lincecum's 15-7 record last year represented the lowest victory total by a starting pitcher who won the NL Cy Young in a full 162-game season.

It was a reversal of fortunes for Hernandez, who finished second to Kansas City's Zack Greinke in the '09 AL Cy Young voting, outscored, 134-80, in that balloting as Greinke garnered 25 first-place votes to two for Hernandez.

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