We used to be in there, now we’re out here
King Felix put together another outstanding season amid the morass in Seattle and is one of four worthy candidates, along with C.C. Sabathia, David Price and Clay Buchholz, locked in a free-for-all to determine the winner of the American League Cy Young Award.
When you look at Felix’s stats – 2.27 ERA, 232 strikeouts, 1.06 WHIP, 30 quality starts, 249.2 innings pitched, six complete games – the award seems like a done deal.
But two numbers that he doesn’t have any control over are likely the ones to seal his fate – 13 and 101.
Despite those gaudy stats, Hernandez won only 13 games for a terrible Mariners team that lost 101, numbers that are going to be hard for a lot of Cy Young voters to ignore, even though I know we are supposed to be beyond looking at “simple” statistics like won-loss record in this day of advanced sabermetric thinking.
But let’s face it – most sportswriters like things cut and dry. And when they see Felix at 13-12 and Price at 19-6 for the AL East-winning Rays, it’s going to be hard to ignore a “meaningless” stat like wins and the fact that Hernandez has been pitching in pressure-free situations since May while Price (or Sabathia) has been in high-stakes contests all year.
You can point to several outliers in the “big wins, good team” theory – last year’s victory by Zach Greinke of the Royals for one (beating Felix) – but no Cy Young winner has ever had as low a winning percentage as Hernandez this year.
If I had a vote, it’d go to Hernandez without hesitation. If the Mariners had ANY sort of offense, he would have easily won 19 games, his stuff was that dominant. But I don’t, and when you take into consideration all the factors, Hernandez might be on the outside looking in when all the votes are tallied, a fitting finale for the worst year in team history.
Two former sports reporters freed from the constraints of traditional print media write about the hot topics on both the Seattle and national sports scene. No deadlines, no word count, no press box decorum — we're Outside The Press Box.