Does David Price Deserve to Win the AL Cy Young?


Does David Price Deserve to Win the AL Cy Young?

Now that the regular season is over it’s time to ask. Who wins the 2012 AL Cy Young award? Does David Price have a legitimate chance to win it this year? No doubt he has had an amazing season while all but carrying the Rays on his back this year, aside from the workhorse James Shields’ performances as well. In my opinion there are 5 legitimate ‘candidates’ for this season’s award, and even 5 could be stretching it. I will list all 5 below, with stat lines, in order of how I view the BBWAA (Baseball Writers’ Association of America) will likely vote.

1. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers
2. David Price, Tampa Bay Rays
3. Fernando Rodney, Tampa Bay Rays
4. Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
5. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

*denotes lead AL in category for starters, **denotes run support/game only calculated for starters

I basically see it as a three man race at this time. While Sale had a great year of his own, he did carry the highest ERA, highest batting average against, and second lowest IP. I don’t see Sale placing above fifth in the voting. Weaver is also interesting, but again in my opinion, is on the outside looking in with a potential fourth place finish with higher numbers across the board and the best run support. I see this as a three man race between Verlander, Price, & Rodney.

Now Rodney had a legendary season, breaking Eck’s record for lowest ERA for closer’s in a season while going 48 of 50 in save opportunities. Rodney’s WHIP was also way below career averages for him but still kept close to his career average of K/9 at 9.0. New age stat trackers would also note Rodney having the lowest WAR of all five candidates. So at best I see him finishing no better than third unless voters determine that the criteria for the Cy Young Award is worth giving to the greatest season ever for a closer. Now I know what you’re going to say, the award criteria is for the best pitcher in each league. But that begs the question, could he continue that on a 200+ IP throughout a season?  There have been times when a closer has won in years past, most notably the AL Cy Young went to Eck when he posted a 1.91 ERA, 7-1 record, and 51 saves in 1992, but did not win the year he posted a .61 ERA with 48 saves.  Also the 2003 NL Cy Young was awarded to Eric Gagne when he posted a 1.20 ERA with an incredible 55 for 55 in save opportunities so it’s not unheard of but unlikely.

Price has a good a chance as anyone for this year’s Cy Young. Price was tied for the league lead in wins at 20, did have the lowest ERA among qualifying starters, broke the 200+ IP mark, and had the second highest (6.4) WAR among the top five candidates. New age statistical followers would probably not vote Price to win. I see more traditionalists voting for Price based on the number of wins and lower ERA. Here’s to hoping the traditionalists win out the vote this year.

Verlander is who I see winning the award yet again. He had the highest IP of all the candidates at 238.1, second lowest ERA, highest WAR and three fewer victories than Price. He also pitched his team to a division win, even if in a weaker division. Verlander also had the lowest run support of the top five candidates. I know what all the skeptics are saying…he had Prince Fielder, he had Miguel Cabrera (Congrats on being the first Triple Crown Winner since 67’), etc. It’s the Cy Young, aka. the award for the best pitcher, not the MVP race.

I do sincerely hope to see David Price win it this year. Even though he finally was able to put it all together I believe he will end up only second best. Here’s to hoping.