I must really be fired up about this AL Cy Young race, because it’s the second post I’ve done on it, and I rarely go back to any subject I previously poured out my views on a post, but hearing people argue that CC should win it aggravated me enough to write a post on it again. It’s obviously a two man race for the AL Cy Young Award, and both Felix and CC made their final starts of the year last night. Like I said back in August, it was Felix’s award to lose. If anything Felix has strengthened his case over the last month and a half. Since I wrote in the original post (end of August) that it was Felix’s Cy Young to lose, they both have the same record (3-2), are within a few innings pitched of each other, have about the same K’s as each other, but CC’s ERA is two full points higher over that span. CC just happened to win his 21st game during that time span, which made more people jump on his bandwagon. Does that make him a better choice for the award? I don’t think so, because I don’t value wins and losses all that much. The award is supposed to be given to the best pitcher period, not the best pitcher on the best team. Greinke winning the award should show us that you don’t have to be on a good team, same with Cliff Lee on the Indians. Over the whole year it’s easy to see who should win the award. They both had the same amount of starts (34), but Felix threw 12 more innings, had nearly one less run on his ERA (0.91 lower), struck out 35 more hitters, and threw four more complete games (6 total) than CC. I will argue for King Felix on the points that I keep seeing light on why CC should be the winner. One last stat, 12 of 13 pitchers that held the lead in strikeouts and ERA won the award, so I’m hoping that it doesn’t go to 12 out of 14 this year.
Argument: CC won 21 games on the best team.
I know CC has won 21 games, but he’s on a team that scored the most runs in the league by nearly 50. Conversely, Felix is on a team that scored 70 less runs than anyone else in the league. You tell me which guy you’d put money on to win more games. Hell, I’d probably would’ve put money on AJ Burnett or Javier Vasquez to have more wins than Felix. If wins are so important, why aren’t Lester, Pavano, and Verlander in those Cy Young talks? They still could get 20 wins, and are comparable to CC in ERA and K’s.
Argument: CC is in a tougher division.
I can’t completely disagree that CC faced tougher lineups in his division. Sure the AL west might be a punching bag for most of the league, and Felix did face the AL West opponents often, but he did well no matter who he was facing. Also, he didn’t get to face the worst team in his own division, the Mariners. I’m sure he would’ve gone 2-0 against them just like CC did. CC did have tough competition with Boston, Tampa, and sometimes Toronto within the division, but he didn’t have to face the best in the business at hitting, the Yankees. Felix went 3-0 with two complete games against the Yankees, and the other start, he went 8 solid innings. Actually looking through his game log, Felix went 5-1 against the mighty AL East. His lone loss was to Toronto, where he lost 1-0 giving up two hits and one of them happened to be a homer.
Argument: Pitching in a pennant race is more stressful.
I’m not sure why I hear the argument that CC’s innings are so much more stressful than Felix’s innings. It’s a perplexing statement to say the least. In Felix’s 12 losses his team has scored a total of 7 runs (while he was in the game). His team scored 1 or fewer runs in 10 of his starts, 2 or fewer 15 times, and owns the AL’s lowest run support at 3.09 runs per game. I’d say those are some pretty stressful innings. It’s much easier to pitch when you are winning 6-0 in the third inning opposed to being scared to give up one run, because you know your offense might not give you anything for that entire game. Sure CC may have had some starts that were much more important than Felix’s starts, but if you were pitching would you rather be picking around the strike-zone against someone like the Royals knowing your offense sucks or would you rather have an 8 run lead throwing strikes to contact just to pickup outs and get the game over? I think with Felix having to be perfect on every pitch he throws is a lot more of a burden than pitching 10 meaningful games against division opponents when your team can score runs like they Yankees do.
As a thank you for bearing with me on my second rant about Felix for Cy Young, here’s a video of Mike Tyson busting out some Bobby Brown.