Friday, August 24, 2012

Hernandez’s Perfect Game Helps Solidify Cy Young Award Case

After throwing Major League Baseball’s 23rd perfect game, talk once again started to heat up regarding Felix Hernandez and the AL Cy Young Award. While both Jered Weaver and Justin Verlander are also in the thick of the race, they are both unable to hang their hats on a defining moment like a perfect game.

At first glance, many might not consider a guy with just a 12-5 record this season a Cy Young contender. This really only helps illustrate how worthless the win-loss record for a pitcher might be. Despite the decent record, Hernandez boast a 2.54 ERA, 179 strikeouts and a league-leading four shutouts.

The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner not only has a chance to win another one in 2012, but he actually could end up with a better overall season. He is striking out more batters and walking less, but currently his ERA sits slightly higher (2.27 in 2010).

He also proved that season that a so-so record of 13-12 could be overlooked because all of his other numbers proved that he was dominant. Fans of sabermetrics have to appreciate the 2012 award. So what does Felix Hernandez have to do to keep the momentum going and win his second Cy Young Award? For starters, one thing that will help him is if Jered Weaver can stop racking up wins.

As much as the win stat is being de-emphasized these days, a 22 or 23 win season with only 2 or 3 losses will be hard to vote again. When it comes to pure stats, no one can match Hernandez and Verlander. The advantage Verlander has is he is playing for a playoff contender, while the Mariners look like they will once again miss the playoffs unless they can really keep it rolling in September. Without a doubt though the perfect game thrown by Hernandez will be the top reason why Hernandez emerges as the winner.

 It is hard to differentiate Verlander and Hernandez with advanced statistics and it is hard to say a 12-5 record guy is clearly better than a 15-2 guy. The perfect game is a trump card though that Hernandez will be able to play. More than a month remains in the regular season, but as of right now, Hernandez now has to be the frontrunner for another Cy Young Award.

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