On the heels of Chappy’s MVP predictions, I figured there’s no reason not to start talking about the Cy Young races. Today, we’ll start with the American League, where I’ve narrowed it down to six guys. I had my list at seven, but after comparing the numbers, it was obvious that Edwin Jackson simply didn’t belong. There were others you could make a case for as well, such as Jarrod Washburn and Mark Buehrle, but ultimately, they wouldn’t have a chance to win it, so for that reason, we’ll leave them out. So, without further ado, I’m envisioning the award coming down to this group: CC Sabathia, Josh Beckett, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and Felix Hernandez. Fortunately, the Cy Young Award seems to place less emphasis on the team’s win-loss record than, say, the MVP award. So, you could still argue that Halladay, Greinke, and King Felix are at a disadvantage, but I don’t think at this point it takes them out of the running.
Rather than making a case for each guy, I’m going to cut right to the chase. I put these 6 guys side-by-side (by side by side by side by side) and one player stood out: Roy Halladay. See for yourself. If you asked me who I thought the frontrunner was, I would’ve said Josh Beckett or Justin Verlander. Given Sabathia’s well-documented success in the month of August, I’d have given him the inside track to make a late charge. I also would’ve thought that Zack Greinke’s dropoff since his outstanding start to the season would have taken him out of the running, but he still has very solid numbers. His 2.33 ERA is still the best in the league. So, if he were to regain his form, his final numbers might end up too good to ignore.
For now, though, it’s Roy Halladay who deserves the honor. Part of me thinks he might get overlooked because he’s won the award in the past, but that was six years ago. His 13-5 record is pretty remarkable when you consider he’s playing for a team that’s 8 games under .500. It’s too bad he didn’t get the opportunity to pitch for a contender on a bigger stage down the stretch run of the season. Nonetheless, if he keeps up what he’s doing, it would be a disgrace to give it to anyone else. He’s easily the most consistent and dependable of the group. All five of the other pitchers have been prone to blowups. Halladay’s worst outing, numbers-wise, came two weeks ago against the Yankees, where he gave up 5 ER on 9 H in 7 innings pitched. If that’s the WORST start you have all year, you take it in a heartbeat. On top of that, Doc basically ranks in the top two in this group in each relevant category. His 2.65 ERA is second only to Greinke’s. His 173 IP is only short of Sabathia’s 178.2. His 13 wins is only one less than Beckett and Verlander’s 14. Most impressive, his WHIP (1.08) and walks (21) are far better than anyone else’s. The only knock on Halladay’s numbers are the number of hits he’s given up and the low strikeout total – however, he’s right on par with Beckett and Sabathia in that department. As for the hits, it should be noted that Halladay gave up a league-high 253 during his 2003 Cy Young campaign. The key for him is damage control. His strikeouts are limited because he excels at going deep into games. He has 45 career complete games, only 7 less than the other five guys combined. There’s no harm in giving up hits if they don’t score.
I hope this all makes it as clear as it is to me. Like I said, I would’ve never put Halladay in the running before I dove into the numbers. Obviously, there’s plenty of baseball to be played, but for now, the Cy Young trophy should be in the Doctor’s waiting room.