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One ballot: Why Price over Hernandez

Posted Nov 18, 2010 by Tribune Sports

Updated Nov 18, 2010 at 09:42 PM

As you probably know by now, Seattle ace Felix Hernandez today won the AL Cy Young Award easily over Tampa Bay’s David Price and New York’s CC Sabathia. Boston’s Jon Lester finished third and Los Angeles’ Jered Weaver fourth.

Hernandez, who was 13-12 with a league-best 2.27 ERA, received 21 of the 28 first-place votes and 167 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Price (19-6, 2.72) received 111 points and four first-place votes and Sabathia (21-7, 3.18) three first-place votes and 102 points.

Two BBWAA from each league city participated, and I had one of the ballots. I voted Price first, Hernandez second and Sabathia third.

I don’t think there was a blatantly right or wrong answer among Price, Hernandez and Sabathia for first place. I gave the edge to Price because I thought he had the best combination of wins, winning percentage, ERA and a wide variety of other measurables when also factoring in the significance of his contributions.

Price went 10-2 in what I still think is the toughest division in the American League. He pitched in high-leverage games throughout the year. When the Rays were battling the Yankees neck-and-neck for the AL East pennant in September, he went 4-0 with a 1.64 ERA. The Rays won his final six regular season starts.

After July 18, the Rays lost only twice in regular-season games Price started, and in those two games, the Rays scored a combined two runs. Opposing batters hit .172 against Price after Sept. 1.

Price didn’t pitch against Hernandez (the Rays didn’t face him), but he matched up against Sabathia twice. The Rays won both games. Both were played in September, and in one, a 1-0 Tampa Bay win on Sept. 13, Price held the Yankees to three hits over eight innings.

Going by stats alone, Hernandez wins hands-down. He had dominating numbers for a punchless team. He was also very good against the AL East, although he was only 3-6 in his own division.

King Felix is a deserving Cy Young Award winner. But when I filled out my ballot after the final regular-season game, I believed the ace on the AL East champions’ staff was the most deserving.


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