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The Cy Young Debate

Warning: This post does not contain any of my opinion, this post is specifically for you to know the reasons why and why not you should think a certain pitcher should win the Cy Young. Use this as a spreadsheet for your debate, if you will.

Candidate #1: David Price:

Record: 19-6

ERA: 2.73

K's: 187

Walks: 79

WHIP: 1.20

Best Month: September: 4-0 1.67 ERA.

Worst Month: July: 3-2 4.24 ERA

Stats vs. Yankees 2-1 4.39 ERA

Stats vs. Twins: 0-1 1.80 ERA

Stats vs. Rangers: 0-0 3.00 ERA

Why Price should win:

Steve Slowinski of DraysBay says:

Well, this is certainly a pleasant surprise. David Price is a Cy Young candidate in his first full season as a major-league starter? I feel like I'm in a dream.

That said, Price has a better traditional argument for the Cy Young than he does a saber argument. His 2.73 ERA is shiny, and it looks pretty good next to his franchise-best 19 wins. Add into the fact all the intangibles you can want - the difficulty of pitching in the AL East, his clutch pitching down the stretch, and the bonus of beating CC Sabathia twice in September - and you have a pretty darn good candidate. Price's ERA is probably unsustainably low, but the Cy Young isn't about what's likely to happen in the future: it's about what happened. And over the 2010 season, David Price was the ace the Tampa Bay Rays have been missing for a long time.

Candidate #2: Felix Hernandez

Record: 13-12

ERA: 2.27

K's: 232

Walks: 70

WHIP: 1.06

Best Month: August: 3-2 0.82 ERA

Worst Month: May: 0-3 4.79 ERA

Stats vs. Yankees: 3-0 0.35 ERA

Stats vs. Twins: 1-1 2.40 ERA

Stats vs. Rangers: 2-3 4.28 ERA

Stats vs. Rays: None

Why Hernandez should win:

An excerpt from Seattle's SB Nation site:

Seattle is easily the worst offensive team in the league, and they fail to shed that lousy label when Hernandez starts. The Mariners are averaging just 3.32 runs per game when Felix takes the mound, the the second-worst support any AL starter . Still, Hernandez ranks first in the AL in innings pitched (219.1), strikeouts (209) and his 2.30 ERA is good for second-best in the AL behind Buchholz (2.25).

Candidate #3: CC Sabathia

Record: 21-7

ERA: 3.18

K's: 197

Walks: 74

WHIP: 1.19

Best Month: June: 5-0 2.19 ERA

Worst Month: May: 1-2 5.15 ERA

Stats vs. Twins: None (isn't it weird both CC and Hughes haven't faced the Twins this year?)

Stats vs. Rangers: 1-0 1.50 ERA

Stats vs. Rays: 1-2 3.38 ERA

Why Sabathia should win:

What Pinstripe Alley users are saying:

Frankie Camp:

Before I start to give CC his due, I need to say that I don’t think Felix deserves the Cy Young in the same way that I don’t think Miguel Cabrera deserves the MVP. I think these awards deserve to be given to players who have the greatest impact on their respective playoff teams. With that out of the way, I don’t think David Price should win either. The Rays’ starting rotation has been way more consistent than the Yankees’ has, so CC’s success was more important to the Yankees overall success than Price’s was to the Rays. All the while, I still think Sabathia’s season has been stronger than Price’s. CC has thrown 30 more innings than Price, meaning the bullpen practically gets a rest when he starts. I will never underestimate how important that is, especially with Girardi as the manager, and the way he uses the bullpen. Their WHIPs are practically identical (1.191 for CC, 1.199 for Price). Their ERAs are also very similar (3.18 for CC, 2.73 for Price). CC has a 2.8 BB/9 ratio, while Price has a 3.4. They also basically have the same WAR, with CC coming in at 5.5, and Price with a 5.3. CC has 26 quality starts, and Price has 25. Finally, CC has two more wins.


CC Sabathia deserves the Cy Young award because he was the best pitcher in the league this year. Sabathia has been able to pick up the baseball and get a win whenever his team needs him. Of CC's 34 starts, only 7 of them has he allowed more than 3 runs or not gone at least 6 innings. His ability to eat innings and provide stability for a questionable starting rotation is the only reason the Yankees are tied for the best record in the AL. Not only does he lead the majors in wins with 21, but he plays in a small ballpark in Yankee Stadium against some of the most elite offenses in the AL east. Yes King Felix has a lower era, an incredible WHIP, and a great K/9 ratio, however the stats don't tell the story. He plays in a crummy division, in a huge ball park, and for a team that doesn't contend. CC's goal is to win the game, not to pitch a CG shutout each time he takes the hill. With a man on third and one out in the 6th inning, the Yankees won't bring the infield in to protect that run from scoring if they are up 6-1. Hernandez will be pressured to keep that run from scoring at all costs and that difference in the pitching is a huge reason for the discrepancy in era. Would Felix be a dominant starter for the Yankees? Absolutely. Would he be a 21 game winner? I'm not so sure. When we break the game down to its most basic of all stats, it's winning. CC gets the wins and he gets the nod for the award.


But the Cy Young is being awarded for the 2010 season, and “stress” and “leverage” are relevant factors to consider in a pitcher’s performance. Why not limit the candidate field to those who pitched under stressful and in high-leverage innings in 2010?

As for David Price, Sabathia should win out if the Yankees secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The best record in the AL is likely going to be decided by 1 game between the Yankees and the Rays, maybe even in a tie-breaker. Sabathia’s 3 extra starts this season (34 vs. Price’s 31) and the resulting advantage in innings pitched (237.2 to 207.2, to almost identical WHIPs of 1.19 and 1.20, respectively) will almost certainly be a significant deciding factor should the Yankees finish the year with 1 more win than the Rays, the difference between home field in the ALDS and ALCS, and being the road team for both.

Anthony Strano:

I can’t stress this enough. Theres two ways you can look at the Cy Young award. The 1st way would be looking at in terms of a “Most Valuable Pitcher” and the 2nd way you can look at it is, “pitcher with the best numbers”. Now, if you look at it from a Sabermetrics standpoint than Felix Hernandez is the Cy Young without question BUT from a “Most Valauable Pitcher” stance than its CC Sabathia. Me personally, I just think King Felix’s numbers are pretty. Lets be honest, this guy plays in a dismal offensive division (Aside from the Rangers) and pitches under no pressure what soever and its absolutely worth noting that in the month of May, the only month the Mariners had a shot of staying alive in their division. Felix went 0-3 with a 4+ era. Right there is all the indication I need to tell that if he were pitching under any kind of pressure that he wouldn’t have these numbers. Wheather Hernandez fails or succeeds, it doesn’t make a difference because the Mariners have been dead since May. The fact that theres no fear of failing on Hernandez’s part hurts him, in my opinion. Believe me its hard to argue his numbers but I still think you’ve gotta look past the numbers here.


CC Sabathia is probably the most underrated of the top 5 pitchers in baseball. While solid arguments can be made that he isn't the greatest, however nobody can deny that he is most physically, emotionally, and mentally stable pitcher in baseball.

Felix Hernandez has by far the most impressive numbers of any pitcher in the AL. I will not even begin to compare the stats(ERA, WHIP, K/9, BB/9, SO/BB, etc) because they all surpass those of Carsten Charles Sabathia. However, there are two glaring factors outweigh the difference in their statistics. Not only does King Felix have 1 more win than he does losses, he also pitches to the likes of the Angels, Rangers, and A's without being in a pennant race. CC Sabathia is 21-7 and plays against 3 of the top, if not the best, offensive teams in baseball. The difference in pressure between leading the Yankees and the Mariners are two worlds apart. Outside of Felix, nobody else really comes close statistically. David Price has fewer K's and 30 less innings, Bucholz hasn't even logged 180 innings, and Lester has 30 less innings. CC Sabathia goes much deeper into games than the aforementioned pitchers are able to do, which not only saves the bullpen for that night, but for the future as well. I will close with these statistics. CC has made 34 starts, logging 238 innings. Price has 31 and 201, Bucholz has 28 and 174, Lester has 32 and 208. As you can see, CC has logged in about 30+ more innings than all of these starters, while only starting 2-3 more games. Let's say these starters average out 6 innings per for the difference in starts with CC. Price would log 219 innings, Bucholz 210, Lester 220.