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Award Watch: AL Cy Young

July 30, 2012
  1. Justin Verlander (Previous rank: 2) – JV’s been almost just as impressive as he was in his MVP-season last year. He’s as durable as ever, throwing 155.2 innings to lead the majors, and he ranks among the AL’s top three starters in strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. His K rate and BB rate are slightly worse than his ’11 rates, but are still very, very good.
  2. Felix Hernandez (PR: Unranked) – King Felix has put together a great stretch of starts the past month and a half. In nine starts since June 17 he has thrown two shutouts and only allowed more than two earned runs in any start once. He’s averaging 7.5 innings per start in that span, with a 1.60 ERA and a WHIP under 1.00. He has 69 K’s to only 12 walks and only 4 (!) extra-base hits given up. By many measures Felix is having the best year of his career: His K rate of 8.88/9, walk rate of 2.38/9 and K/BB of 3.73 are all career-bests. His 153 Ks are tops in the majors.
  3. Chris Sale (PR: 1) – Even though his numbers are still sparkly Sale has had two poor starts in a row, raising his ERA to 2.61. Sale’s still got a case to be a top Cy Young contender, but a deeper look at his numbers bring up some worries. His K/9 has each of the past two months from 9.95 in May to a season-low of 6.28 in July. His K/BB of 2.86 for July is also his worst rate per month of the season, and his HR/9 is the worst it’s been since April. While it could just be a couple of bad starts Sale has already pitched over 60 innings more than what he did last year so it could be that his work load is catching up on him.
  4. David Price (PR: UR) – Since a five-inning, seven-earned run outing against the Mets of all teams on June 13 Price has been on a roll. In seven starts he’s 6-0 with a 1.82 ERA and a 52:13 K:BB. He’s struck out seven or more in every one of those starts except one, and he’s only allowed four earned runs in four July starts. He’s fifth in the AL in strikeouts and fourth in ERA.
  5. Jered Weaver (PR: UR) – Weaver didn’t miss a beat after a brief stint on the DL in early June. He came back June 20, tossing six shutout innings. Since his return he has 46.2 innings of a 1.74 ERA. Weaver’s strikeout upside is limited, as he doesn’t throw that hard, but he’s one of the best pitchers in the AL and deserving of Cy Young contention.
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