Felix Hernandez won the 2010 American League Cy Young Award for the league's best pitcher yesterday. And every talk show is debating whether or not he deserved it. Felix led Major League Baseball in both ERA and innings pitched. But the argument is that his record was 13-12.
The Cy Young is supposed to go the best pitcher in the league (there is one for both the American and National Leagues). It is different from the Most Valuable Player. The MVP should be awarded to the player who is most valuable to his team. If you took the winner off his team, they would not have performed nearly as well. And it always helps being in a playoff race and playing meaningful games. The MVP shouldn't necessarily play for a playoff team, but his team should be in the race until September.
I may sound like a hypocrite, but again, the Cy Young is for the best pitcher.
The difference is that a pitcher can only affect his team one out of every five games. And when you have the lowest ERA, which is one of, if not the best indicator of a pitching performance, it is difficult to argue. But people will and are.
Felix Hernandez's Seattle Mariners scored zero or one run in 10 of his starts. So if Felix Hernandez would throw a shutout or allow one run, in 10 games he would not have had a chance to win.
Another argument is that runner up David Price and third place finisher CC Sabathia played meaningful baseball games as their respective teams, Tampa Bay and the Yankees, were in a playoff race. To reach the Major League Baseball, you have to be extremely competitive. I would argue that whether your team is or isn't in a race, you are taking the mound with the same focus and competitiveness every start.
When writers vote for awards, especially the old-school, traditional guys, wins and losses tend to overshadow everything else. It is refreshing to see that they finally got this vote right.