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Blog Entry

Verlander leads candidates for AL Cy Young Award

Posted on: September 7, 2011 1:09 pm
 
Verlander, Shields, Weaver

By Evan Brunell

During the week, Eye on Baseball will be profiling candidates to win baseball's major awards after the season. Today: the AL Cy Young Award winner.

View contenders for the: AL MVP | NL MVP

The AL Cy Young is pretty much a foregone conclusion as Justin Verlander continues to run away with the award. But the ballot gives you five names to put in, so Verlander won't be the only one getting votes. Let's take a look at the top five candidates alphabetically:

Josh Beckett, Red Sox: Beckett has two things working against him in consideration for the award -- that being his recent injury derailing him and possibly costing him a chance at 200 innings pitched. When you compare that to the four other pitchers on the list, that will be a significant issue. In addition, while pitcher wins are an irrelevant statistic when it comes to actually evaluating performance, there are still plenty of voters who believe in it. Beckett's 12-5 record won't do him any favors despite a 2.49 ERA. One thing working in his favor is that Beckett has showed up against the Yankees or any other team with a record over .500, as his 2.06 ERA in 16 such starts indicates.

CC Sabathia, Yankees: Sabathia is no Verlander, but he's racked up the second-most wins thanks to pitching behind New York's offensive, gifting him a 19-5 record. He's also already logged 218 1/3 innings and his 2.97 ERA as-is would be his best mark as a Yankee. Oh, and Sabathia leads all AL pitchers in Wins Above Replacement, so there's that. The reasoning behind that is that Verlander has pitched behind a tight defense that has only allowed 23.5 percent of batted balls to fall in, while the Yanks' defense is at 31 percent, making Sabathia and Verlander's ERA difference greater than it should be.

James Shields, Rays: Shields used to be known as Big Game James. It's Complete Game James now, as the righty has dazzled baseball with 11 complete games, four of them shutouts. He's come close a couple other times to complete games and/or shutouts as well, and has racked up 218 innings pitched over 29 starts, checking in with a 2.77 ERA and 14-10 record. The last time a pitcher had at least 11 complete games in a season was Randy Johnson (a name you will hear again in this space) back in 1999.

Justin Verlander, Tigers: It would be a surprise if Verlander didn't win the award unanimously after the year he's having. He's already notched 21 wins and is on pace to throw over 250 innings, which would be a career high. Add in 226 strikeouts in 224 2/3 innings currently with a 2.40 ERA leading the league and there simply isn't any other checkboxes one can tick off in stating a Cy Young Award case. This will very likely end up a career year for the 28-year-old ... not because he can't keep it up, but because he's had a perfect storm of a year. The last pitcher to win more than 22 in a season was Randy Johnson in 2002, when he came away with 24.

Jered Weaver, Angels: Up until a recent hiccup, Weaver was keeping pace with Verlander in the Cy Young Award race. After his Aug. 5 start against the Mariners, Weaver had a 1.78 ERA in 24 games started, posting a 14-5 record in 176 2/3 innings. Add in 150 punchouts and four complete games, and it's easy to see why some thought he could mount a challenge to Verlander. Fast-forward a month later and the righty is still having a strong year, but is solidly behind Verlander at this point with a 2.49 mark in 206 1/3 innings. There might even be an argument that Weaver was a better pitcher in 2010.

Who is the best candidate to win the AL Cy Young Award? We'll answer that later in the year, but have your say in the comments.

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Comments
hotmeuly
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 7:54 pm
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peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 12:43 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 3:08 am
 

Verlander leads candidates for AL Cy Young Award

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Since: May 7, 2011
Posted on: September 7, 2011 5:46 pm
 

Verlander leads candidates for AL Cy Young Award

"JV" is going to win the AL CY Young Award in the landslide with "CC" second,and Beckett coming in third! There's no competition as far as any pitcher whether it's the American/National League.......period!!!!!CoolMoney mouthCool


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