A lack of run support may not pay off in a pitcher’s won-loss record. But when it comes to Cy Young voting, it’s priceless.
That’s how a 13-12 pitcher like Seattle’s Felix Hernandez beat out the Yankees’ 21-game winner, CC Sabathia, in Thursday’s AL Cy Young voting. Hernandez’ win total became the lowest of any AL Cy Young winner in history.
Sabathia actually finished third, behind Tampa Bay’s David Price.
In other years, however, Sabathia might have been an obvious choice. But the 21 voters of the Baseball Writers of America who voted Hernandez first looked more at his league-leading 2.27 ERA and .212 opponents' batting average than the wins. Even more, they considered that in 10 of the right-hander’s starts, the Mariners — an AL-worst 61-101 — were either shut out or held to one run.
“Based on the award being for the best pitcher, not the most valuable pitcher — because if it was most valuable pitcher it could have been Sabathia or Price — all the measurements, rather dramatically, point toward Felix,” said Newsday Yankees beat writer Erik Boland, who voted for Hernandez.
Sabathia won the 2007 Cy Young with Cleveland. This year, he led the league in wins at 21-7. But an offense that supported him with four or more runs in 23 of 34 starts lost him credit, considering the Mariners scored only four runs in seven of Hernandez’ 34 starts.