The Natlional League winner, Roy Halladay, was a unanimous choice and in comparison to the other NL pitchers, “Doc”s winning came as no surprise.
With the American League vote, great cases could be surmised for David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays and CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees.
Sabathia led the American League with 21 victories, a stat that shouldn’t be overly surprising considering he plays for the Yankees. In the past, wins have played a fair part in voters’ decisions but last year marked a change in seeing Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals (16 wins) and Tim Lincecum (15) of San Francisco take home their league’s Cy Young Award. It was easily Sabathia’s second best season, trailing a remarkably awesome 2008. His numbers in 2010 were nothing to shy away from: 197 strikeouts, a 3.18 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Normally that’s good enough for at least a second place finish in voting, but this season is different as he took three first-place votes en route to finishing third in the balloting.
In second place was the quite dominating David Price. Price, fulfilling the expectations of being a future ace, anchored the Tampa Bay staff with a 19-7 record and 2.72 ERA, striking out 188 hitters in the process. As great as those numbers are, he went 4-0 in September with a 1.67 ERA to lead Tampa to the AL East divisional crown. As you may remember, he also tweeted his frustration during September about the Tampa fans not coming to games even though they were about to clinch the division. If I had a vote, I would’ve certainly given him 2nd place for that alone. It’s not every day you see a player be honest and call out the hometown fans on lack of interest, so he gets points for that.
However, my vote would have gone to Hernandez, who had 21 of the possible 28 first-place votes. Hernandez had an outstanding season: 232 strikeouts (one behind Jered Weaver’s 233), an insanely low 1.06 WHIP (only behind Cliff Lee’s 1.00) and an incredible–and league leading–ERA of 2.27. King Felix’s only problem was his 13-12 record. If you remember an article written by Rob for this very site, some of this argument will be quite familiar. The question here was: Were his incredible secondary numbers actually going to get voters’ attentions or were they going to view the stat that a pitcher has the least control over? Need one be reminded in his 12 losses he was given seven runs of support in total! Never mind the fact he had the lowest run support in the whole league. When your team is scoring 0, 1, and even 2 runs it’s hard to win. Yes, he had games where he gave up six and seven runs so sometimes it wouldn’t have mattered even if he had about five runs of support–but hopefully you understand the point. Also, it’s not like he completely “feasted” on inferior opponents. In three starts against the Yankees, he went 3-0 and allowed just ONE run over 26 innings. He did struggle against Texas, this is true, giving up 20 runs in 40 innings and going 2-3 against the AL champion Rangers.
Like last year when he was a top candidate against Greinke, Hernandez was awesome–but this year he had no one else being…uh…”awesomer.” Congratulations to Felix on his accomplishment.