Bill & Pete’s AL Cy Young Predictions

Bill’s Excellent Analysis

This year’s American League Cy Young Award may be the easiest award of the major season long accomplishment awards to decide. When one pitcher, with little run support, blows everyone else out of the water, the choice is pretty clear.

1. Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians

Winning 22 games is impressive, but doing it for a team that did not have a chance of making the playoffs basically from June, is even more incredible. Lee not only led the league in wins, he was also first with a 2.54 ERA. After considering that this feat comes after a season when he was demoted to AAA and then not even added to the Tribe’s postseason roster, the story just grows. Whatever was wrong with the left hander last year, has not come back to haunt him this season as he has been in every game he has pitched. Even the few games he did end up losing, were more because of lack of run support than anything on his part. Lee should without a doubt become the second Indian in a row, after CC Sabathia last season; to win this award after the Tribe went more than 30 years without being able to claim a Cy Young worthy pitcher. Tribe fans just hope they will be seeing a lot more of Lee than they will of Sabathia.

2. Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays

In many seasons, Halladay’s numbers may be good enough for him to win his second Cy Young, but with Lee throwing so well, 19 wins and a 2.81 ERA just doesn’t cut it. He does currently have 31 more strikeouts than Lee, but he also has nine more losses too.

3. Daisuke Matsuzaka, Boston Red Sox

The import from Japan some how flew under the radar this season despite being dominant throughout. His 18-2 record is the second best winning percentage in the league and is tied for the third highest win total. He also ranks second in the league in ERA with a 2.80, but has had great run protection nearly all season. If he keeps up this performance in the playoffs, Red Sox fans will be very pleased.

4. Ervin Santana, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

After the first three Cy Young contenders, the statistics really drop off. Santana had an impressive season, especially for a 25 year-old. He was fifth in the league with a 3.25 ERA and sixth in wins with 16. He also posted 209 strikeouts, but had six losses on a team with a great offense.

5. Mike Mussina, New York Yankees

After being left out of the starting pitcher conversation by Hank Steinbrenner at the beginning of the year, Mussina was supposed to be the afterthought of the Yankees staff. He proved to be anything but with a 19 win season where he had a 3.47 ERA, both ranking him in the top ten. The 39 year-old had nine losses for the Yankees, and if the ERA were a little lower, he would be as well.

6. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Something has to be said for someone who saves 61 games. He shouldn’t get serious Cy Young consideration, but he should be on the list. The 2.31 ERA isn’t shabby either.

7. A.J. Burnett, Toronto Blue Jays

He has 18 wins to tie him for third best in the league, but a 4.18 ERA just isn’t good enough to garner serious consideration even if he does have 220 strikeouts.

8. John Danks, Chicago White Sox

Danks currently carries the fourth best ERA in the league at 3.20, but he has just 11 wins compared to eight losses. Some of that can be attributed to low run support, but at 23 years of age, the future looks bright.

AL Cy Young 2008

# Player Team ERA Rk W Rk L Rk BB Rk K Rk Pts
1 C. Lee CLE 2.41 8 22 8 2 8 31 7 162 5 36
2 E. Santana LAA 3.25 5 16 5 6 6 46 5 209 7 28
3 R. Halladay TOR 2.81 6 19 7 11 1 38 6 201 6 26
4 D. Matsuzaka BOS 2.8 7 18 6 2 8 92 1 149 4 26
5 M. Mussina NYY 3.57 3 18 6 9 3 29 8 141 3 23
7 J. Saunders LAA 3.52 4 16 5 7 5 53 4 94 1 19
6 A.J. Burnett TOR 4.18 1 18 6 10 2 84 2 220 8 19
8 G. Floyd CWS 3.84 2 16 5 8 4 67 3 133 2 16

Pete’s Excellent Analysis

In my opinion, with Lee leading in all but two of the categories listed in my chart (only pitchers with 16 wins qualified), he’s the hands down leader. It should be unanimous!

After him, it’s a toss up between Francisco Rodriguez, Ervin Santana & Roy Halladay, but I would give the edge to K-Rod due to his record setting save total and his low ERA.

Next, I would pick Halladay (despite the 1 point differential shown in my chart) due to his complete games in an age where this is a lost art. I will admit that he probably won’t get many second place votes due to his 11 losses.

That leaves Santana fourth.

Daisuke Matsuzaka would be fifth on my list and I’m a Sox fan! His walk total prevented him from having a Cliff Lee type of year in my opinion and would have kept his pitches down and gotten him deeper into games. If he can improve in this area, I expect him to give Halladay a run for his money for complete games in 2009.

Here, I am as surprised as anyone. In my sixth spot is the Yankee’s Mike “Moose” Mussina. Even with weaker stuff, he can still pound the strike zone and get people out.

On our seventh pick, Bill and I see eye to eye again with Burnett and for the same reasons. His strikeout totals might make some put him ahead of Mussina though.

Unlike Bill, I wouldn’t even put Danks on the list with only 11 wins, but all of his other numbers are comparable. In his place, I included Joe Saunders and after him, Gavin Floyd, who I kept expecting to fall apart in the second half.

One Comment

  1. Albert

    October 10, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    K-Rod shouldn’t be in the top 5. Heck, I’m not sure he’s even the 3rd best relief pitcher. I would put both Rivera and Papelbon ahead of him. If you’re going to tout his record number of saves, you also have to consider his 7 blown saves.

    I wouldn’t have Dice-K in the top 5 either. In my book, a Cy Young pitcher had better average at least 6.5 innings per start. Dice-K only averaged 5.8.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply