It was just announced that Zack Greinke has won the 2009 AL Cy Young award. Let’s take a look at each of the players receiving votes, and how their seasons went.
Greinke: 134 (25)
Felix Hernandez: 80 (2)
Justin Verlander: 14 (1)
C.C. Sabathia: 13
Roy Halladay: 11
Zack posted an extremely dominant season, starting out 6-0 and never looking back. He finished the season with 16 wins (the least of any Cy Young award winner ever), a 2.16 era, 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, 242 strikeouts, and a 1.07 whip. A dominant season by any stretch, and most likely there would have been no doubt about this if he had played in a major market, or for a contending team.
King Felix probably would have won a Cy Young with this season just about any other year. 19-5 with a 2.49 era, 217 strikeouts, a 1.14 whip, 2 complete games, 1 shutout on a 3rd place team. And he’s still only 23 years old. I know it doesn’t seem like it since he’s been in the majors for parts of 5 years already.
Verlander had what may have been his best season so far, finishing with a 17-5 record and anchoring the Tigers’ pitching staff to within one game of the playoffs. Some of the other eye-popping numbers: 269 strikeouts, a 3.45 era, 1.18 whip, and 3 complete games in 240 innings pitched. He improved nearly every key stat a pitcher can improve in a single season, seeing a lower walk total, higher strikeouts, and lower era.
Sabathia had a very good year, proving that a good pitcher can still go to the Big Apple and own the place. A World Championship in year 1, Sabathia anchored the depleted Yankee rotation with a 19-8 record, a 3.37 era, 1.15 whip, and 197 strikeouts in 230 innings pitched this year. Another player who might have won a Cy Young in a different year, the Yankees will more than get their money’s worth out of Sabathia.
Every year, it seems Halladay ends up in this discussion. This is the 4th straight year that Halladay has received votes for this award. Subjected to a summer of trade rumors, Halladay still went 17-10 with a 2.79 era, 1.13 whip, a league-leading 9 complete games and 4 shutouts, and 208 strikeouts in 239 innings for the Blue Jays. I’m not sure where he pitches come the beginning of April, but it’s safe to say at this point that Roy is going to take the ball, and keep his team in the game at all times.
This is the 4th straight Cy Young winner to come from the AL Central division (Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Cliff Lee). Hopefully this won’t be the 4th one to leave the division in the years afterward.