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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The American League Cy Young Race

The American League Cy Young Award race has not been a huge surprise to most people so far this year.  Almost all of the pitchers in consideration this year for the Cy Young Award have been Cy Young Award contenders in previous years.  The race to be named the best pitcher in the A.L. will come down to the end, and this is how I feel the race looks right now:

1st - Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox:  It is a surprise that Chris Sale is having a Cy Young caliber season, not because he isn't capable of being a great pitcher, but because it is his first season being a starting pitcher in the MLB.  He has been one of the most dominating pitchers in the A.L. so far this season with a record of 10-2 with a 2.19 ERA and a .95 WHIP.  He ranks third in wins, eighth in strike outs with 98, and second in ERA and WHIP.  The one problem I have with Chris Sale is that he has already pitched a career high 102.2 innings.  We will have to see how he is able to hold up throughout the rest of  the season, but if the season ended today he would be the Cy Young Award winner.

2nd - Jered Weaver - Los Angeles Angels:  Jered Weaver has been very good to start the season and he is in the Cy Young Award talk again this year.  If it wasn't for him going on the DL, he would have been ranked first in my Cy Young Award race.  In 14 starts this year Jered Weaver is 9-1 with a 2.13 ERA and a .94 WHIP.  He currently ranks fifth in wins, first in ERA and WHIP, and fourth in the A.L. with two complete games.  Jered Weaver has been dominate on a good Angels team this year, and if he is able to hold up in the final months of the season, he should make a strong case to be the Cy Young Award winner.

3rd - Justin Verlander - Detroit Tigers:   Many people think Jusin Verlander is having a down year, but actually he has pitched very well on a struggling Tigers team.  His numbers aren't as good as last year when he won both the MVP and Cy Young Award, but they are still good enough to make him a Cy Young Award contender again this year.  He is 8-5 with a 2.69 ERA and a .98 WHIP in 17 starts this season.  Justin Verlander ranks first in the A.L. in innings pitched (123.2), first in complete games (4), second in strike outs (121), third in WHIP, and fourth in ERA.  If he can continue to pitch well and dominate opposing batters he should be in the Cy Young Award conversation at the end of the season.

4th - Jake Peavy - Chicago White Sox:  Jake Peavy is finally back after years of injuries and inconsistency.  He has been pitching very well of late but the White Sox have had trouble scoring runs when he pitches.  In his last four starts, a total of 30 innings, he has an ERA of 2.70, allowing a total of nine runs, four walks and 27 hits.  Yet he has lost all four starts because the White Sox have scored a grand total of two runs.  As a result of him losing four straight starts his record is 6-5, but besides his record his other stats are close to the top in the American League.  He currently ranks sixth in ERA (2.96) and fourth in WHIP (.99).  He also has pitched the most complete games with four, and he has struck out 101 batters four seventh best in the league.  Jake Peavy needs to be able to stay healthy for a whole season, and he can't wear down in the last few months of the season if he wants to be a serious Cy Young Award contender.

5th - David Price - Tampa Bay Rays:  David Price continues to develop into one of the best young pitchers in the game.  He almost won the Cy Young Award two years ago when he had 19 wins, but end up losing to King Felix.  This year Price is making another strong case to be in the Cy Young conversation.  David Price is currently 11-4 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.  He leads the A.L. in wins and is fifth in ERA in 16 starts this year.  He also is in the top ten in strike outs and innings pitched.  David Price needs to continue to pitch well and hope that some of the pitchers above hm start to struggle if he wants to have a chance at being named the American League's best pitcher.

Pitchers who are still in the race:  Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, CC Sabathia, C.J. Wilson, and Felix Hernandez.

The Cy Young Award race isn't over, and any of the pitchers who I don't have in my top five could easily make a push in the second have of the season to take home the award.  It should be interesting to see if Chris Sale can hold up through the rest of the season, and if some of these pitchers can remain healthy enough to try to win the Cy Young Award in the American League.

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