The Reason Why King Felix Won The Cy Young

It’s in the numbers.


Today Felix Hernandez of the offensively challenged Mariners (61-101) won the American League Cy Young award. He won despite pitching for a last place team.


It helped that he was second to the Royals Zach Grienke last year with a 19-5 record compared to Grienke’s 16-8.


But it is no longer about wins and losses; it is no longer about pitching for a contending club. It is about the numbers.


Felix was 13-12, hardly Cy Young material. However, with computerized statistics measuring everything possible, we have reached a new age. Today’s breed of baseball writers, having grown up studying Sabremetrics and reading Bill James, are looking beyond past standards.


They are looking at numbers like the one that shows in nine no decisions of Hernandez his e.r.a was 1.92. They are looking at walks plus hits per 9 innings. They are looking at numbers the past voters never heard of, like Xwins-the number of wins a pitcher should get based on e.r.a. among other numbers. Felix led with 24 Xwins. Had Felix pitched for the Yankees, the Phillies, or another power team, he would have won those 24 games. 


Thus he is not being punished for pitching for a team that could not score runs, could not get hits, could not play defense. Of his 34 starts, the Mariners scored more than four runs for him seven times. He pitched from the first inning on as if it was 0-0 in the ninth inning. He could not afford any mistakes.


Compare that to C.C. Sabathia who won 21 games for the Yankees. He too had 34 starts, but the Yankees scored four runs or more for Sabathia 23 times.


Hernandez led the league in e.r.a (2.27) and innings pitched (249.2) and was second to Jered Weaver in strikeouts by one. 


King Felix won the Cy Young because he was the most dominating pitcher in the American League.


It’s in the numbers.






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