Unlike the American League MVP race, the Cy Young race is a bit more up in the air. Justin Verlander lead with a 6.8 WAR, but Felix Hernandez was right behind him and David Price had a better ERA. Jered Weaver also needs to be considered as he finished with a sub-3.00 ERA and won 20 games.
Those are the candidates now who is the winner?
We’ll start with Verlander. He lead with a 6.8 WAR, he finished second among the group with a 2.64 ERA, and was the best at keeping the ball in the park out of the group. There is not a lot to say about him that hasn’t already been said. He’s great. Batters had just a .601 OPS against him, he had a 9.0 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9. He’s a horse who averaged 7.22 innings per game as well. It’s going to be hard to top all those numbers.
Hernandez was once again a victim of Seattle’s poor offense as he had a mediocre 13-9 record, but we won’t hold that against him. His 3.06 ERA was a little high though, possibly a product of losing a bit of velocity. He still had a 8.7 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9 though. Batter’s had a .629 OPS against him too. All impressive numbers, but I don’t think that quite stands up to Verlander.
Price had a huge year. His 2.56 ERA bested Verlander even if his 8.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 were slightly behind him. His OPS against of .602 was practically identical. The difference between him and Verlander is probably how deep they go into games as Price averaged just 6.81 innings per start. Since he won 20 games old school baseball fans will probably prefer him to Verlander. Either way, it’s a tough call.
The other 20 game winner in this group, Weaver finished with a 2.81 ERA, a 6.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 while batters put up a .605 OPS against him. Weaver threw fewer innings than anybody in this group though averaging just 6.29 innings per start. He also had a couple of terrible starts down the stretch which threw off his second half numbers.
This is incredibly close. I think Weaver may be the worst of the group, but still should get serious consideration for the Cy. Price is probably my second favorite choice. He just had an amazing season and kept his team in a playoff hunt despite having a very weak offense behind him. Still, when it comes down to it I think that Verlander takes the Cy. He pitched deeper into games, struck more batters out, kept the ball in the ball park better than everyone else. He’s just the best and Verlander should win the 2012 Cy Young award.