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Award Watch: AL Cy Young

June 13, 2012
  1. Chris Sale – Sale’s been utterly dominant since being moved from the rotation to the bullpen and then back into the rotation early in May. After a one-inning relief appearance on May 8 in Cleveland, Sale’s 5-1 with only one poor start (a five-inning, three-earned run start in Kansas City in his first start back in the rotation); has limited hitters to a .174/.226/.235 line in 41.2 innings with 46 strikeouts and only nine walks. Narrowing it down even more, Sale’s last three starts have been one of the better runs of the season for any pitcher. Sale struck out 15 Rays on May 28; pitched a complete game with eight Ks against the Mariners on June 3; and threw eight scoreless innings with eight Ks and no walks against the Astros on June 9. Sale’s eight wins, 2.05 ERA and 0.92 WHIP lead or are tied for the AL lead.
  2. Justin Verlander – After an MVP- and Cy Young-season last year Verlander has been arguably better this year. His K/9 is up from 8.96 to 9.13 and his HR/9 is down from 0.86 to 0.58. His BB/9 is up and his K:BB is down, but he’s also missing more bats this year with an 11.5 swinging strike percentage, up from 10.2 last year.
  3. Jake Peavy – Peavy’s wonderful season has continued into June. After a rough last outing in May, Peavy’s pitched 12.1 innings of four-run ball. Peavy doesn’t throw as hard as he did when he was pitching great in San Diego, but he still hits 91 consistently on his fastball and throws five pitches consistently. He’s also cut down on his walks, to what would be a career-low 2.18 BB/9 this year. His ERA, WHIP and K numbers all rank in the top 10 in the AL.
  4. Colby Lewis – The first surprise name on our list belongs to Lewis, who leads the AL with a 6.73 K/BB by a country mile. His record says 5-5, but don’t let that fool you. His home-run rate is pretty high, but that’s inflated by a five-homer night against the Orioles. Lewis only has one start of more than two walks allowed, and five starts of zero walks. Lewis might not last long on the award watch with the Texas heat coming in soon and his home ballpark being a launching pad, but if he can continue to limit the walks he’s got a shot of finishing high on the Cy Young voting.
  5. C.J. Wilson – Lewis’ old teammate has done quite well for himself in Anaheim. Wilson’s numbers are quite similar to his own last year when he finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting. He sits second in the AL in ERA at 2.39 and his 1.09 WHIP is seventh among AL starters. Wilson’s numbers were a bit inflated pitching in Texas the past few years, as his home ERA was 3.22 compared to 2.95 on the road. So far this year his ERA is still worse in his new home, but it’s a sparkling 2.61, compared to 2.25 on the road. In June he’s only allowed one earned run in 14 innings.

From → MLB

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