C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay, Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez, the list goes on. These are the names that come to mind in conversations about who will win the AL Cy Young Award for 2009. One name that often gets overlooked is a guy who pitches in a small market city for one of the worst teams in baseball...Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals.
For those of you who don't know it...this guy is a freak nasty! Let's take a closer look at what Greinke has done and see how his numbers rate against the other "favorites".
Greinke owns a 16-8 record in 32 starts that includes 6 complete games, 3 shutouts, and a sparkling, league leading 2.06 ERA in 223.1 innings pitched. He has whiffed 237 hitters to only 49 walks to go along with his 1.07 WHIP and .229 batting average against. Remember...he pitches for the Royals!
Sabathia has 19 wins against 7 losses w/ 2 complete games and 1 shutout in his 33 starts this season. His ERA is 3.21. In 227.1 innings pitched he has struck out 194 hitters and walked 62. His WHIP is a nice 1.10 and BAA is .227.
Halladay has fashioned a 16-10 record this season with 8 complete games including 3 shutouts in his 31 starts. His ERA is 2.90. He has struck out 202 batters against 33 walks in 230 innings pitched. His WHIP is 1.15 and his BAA is .260.
Verlander, in 33 starts, has gone 17-9 with 3 complete games and 1 shutout. He has 256 Ks, 51 walks, 3.41 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a .243 BAA in 224.1 innings pitched.
Hernandez has gone 17-5 in his 32 starts this season. He has twirled 2 complete games with one shutout. In 224.1 innings he has K'ed 207 and walked 66. His ERA, WHIP, and BAA are 2.49, 1.14, and .229 respectively.
Sure, Greinke doesn't have the most wins and doesn't have the most strikeouts, what he does have is 16 wins for the Kansas City Royals. To put just how amazing that actually is into perspective, the Kansas City Royals have won 64 games all season. Greinke has accounted for 25% of the teams victories, by far the largest percentage of any pitcher on the list. I know the Royals aren't going to the playoffs, and if that is the criteria to win the Cy Young, then you can count Halladay and Hernandez out of the running too. But this award is supposed to go to the best pitcher in the league, not the pitcher who benefits from pitching behind the best lineup in the league (Sabathia), and the fact is that Greinke has been flat out dominant all season and in my opinion there is no pitcher more deserving of the award than he is.
The scary thing is, the guy only turns 26 in October. Finally something for Royals fans to look forward to. I think Sports Illustrated agrees!