The FanSided end-of-season MLB awards series continued this weekend with the unveiling of the Cy Young awards. Justin Verlander ran away with the award in the American League (as expected), while Clayton Kershaw beat out Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in the National League. For full breakdowns of the voting, I highly recommend checking out Blaine Blontz’s posts at Call to the Pen (AL, NL).
In the past, I’ve been a strong proponent of people who vote for these kinds of awards making their choices public. This might not have been as serious as the real BBWAA awards, but the principle stands. It’s only fair, then, that I be upfront about how I cast my ballot. Here’s who I voted for and why.
1. Justin Verlander, Tigers. Who else could it have been? Verlander was outstanding this season, posting a 2.40 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with 250 strikeouts in 251 innings—all of those numbers led the league. He also paced the AL in SIERA (2.99), WPA (5.14) and rWAR (8.5) while finishing second in xFIP (3.12) and fWAR (7.0) and was Top 4 in K/BB rate (4.4) and FIP (2.99). And while a pitcher’s record is a terrible metric with which to measure pitching, that he won 24 games is truly remarkable.
2. CC Sabathia, Yankees. Hard as it is to believe that the ace of the Yankees’ staff and the highest-paid pitcher in MLB history is underrated, his distant third-place finish in this voting suggests he isn’t getting his due. His 19-8 record and 3.00 ERA are impressive, and his peripherals back them up. His 2.88 FIP was second in the league, and his 3.02 xFIP was tops in the AL. Best of all, he finished first in fWAR, barely edging out Verlander with 7.1. Verlander’s No. 1, but Sabathia is the clear No. 2.
3. Dan Haren, Angels. Haren’s 15-10 record isn’t great…which is why you shouldn’t put too much stock in a pitcher’s record. He had a 3.19 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP (tied for third in the league) in 237.1 frames, and his 2.99 FIP and 6.3 fWAR ranked second and third in the AL, respectively. His 5.8 K/BB was the best in the Junior Circuit. He’s not the Cy Young, but he’s at the top of the second tier.
4. C.J. Wilson, Rangers. It’s not easy to post a sub-3.00 ERA in Arlington, but Wilson did it. He put up a 2.94 ERA with a solid 3.24 FIP while pitching 223.1 innings for Texas. His 5.9 fWAR ranked fourth in the league, and for good measure he went 16-7.
5. Justin Masterson, Indians. This one, I admit, was hometown bias, but given that no one else named him yet Jose Valverde and Glen Perkins got votes, I actually regret putting him this low. Masterson went 12-10 (thanks to inconsistent run support) with a 3.22 ERA, and while his 6.3% HR/FB rate might have been a little lucky (he’d never before posted a HR/FB rate under 10%) he still came away with a 3.28 FIP. He’s not the best pitcher in the league, but he at least deserves to be in the discussion.