Can David Price Win The Cy Young Award?

By David Hill

In 2010, David Price put together a truly dominant season, finishing 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.193 WHiP. Over his 208.2 innings pitched, he struck out 188 batters, and issued only 79 walks. Price was second in the American League in wins, third in ERA, and eighth in strikeouts. That season, he finished second in the Cy Young voting, behind Felix Hernandez, who went 13-12, but had a 2.27 ERA and a 1.057 WHiP.

This year, Price is putting together a better season than he had in 2010. With five weeks left in 2012, Price is 16-5 with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.103 WHiP. In his 174 innings, he has struck out 170 batters, while giving up only 50 walks. As great as his 2010 season was, Price has improved in every facet of the game. His winning percentage is slightly higher, his strikeout to walk ratio has improved from 2.38 to 3.40. He has reduced his walk rate from 3.4 per nine innings to 2.6 per nine.

Price has several other pitchers that he will need to compete against, as Justin Verlander, Chris Sale, Felix Hernandez, and Jered Weaver are also putting up excellent seasons. However, the Tigers have struggled most of the season, and the Angels are on the fringes of the Wild Card hunt. As such, it is unlikely that either would be a threat for the title. Sale or Hernandez may be the biggest challengers for the award, with Sale producing a 15-5 record, a 2.65 ERA, 155 strikeouts in 157 innings, and a WHiP of 1.064. Hernandez, meanwhile, has a 13-5 record, a 2.43 ERA, 184 strikeouts in 196.2 innings, and a WHiP of 1.03.

Both Hernandez and Sale are strong candidates, and are likely to generate strong support. However, if Price can help lead the Rays into the playoffs, that may be enough to sway voters, particularly if his statistics remain similar to either Hernandez or Sale. While it is likely to be a struggle, Price may be able to win the Cy Young in a crowded field.

After missing out on the award in 2010, David Price may end up getting his due this season. Otherwise, this may be a repeat of 2010, where Price loses out to Hernandez yet again.