MLB Quarter-Season Awards: Who Is the American League Cy Young?

By Bryan Lutz
Bob DeChiara – USA TODAY Sports

Although both of the Cy Young awards winners from last year are in the American League, it’s safe to assume neither of them will even get a pity vote this year. Both David Price and R.A. Dickey have been less than impressive, so we will see a new AL Cy Young in 2013.

When debating on who I would select, even if there are other legitimate candidates, I had my mind set on four guys: Yu Darvish, Anibal Sanchez, Matt Moore and Clay Buchholz.

Darvish is definitely the flashiest of the bunch, seeing as his K/9 is a ridiculous 12.71. I mean, that is just absurd as a starting pitcher. He has also cut down on his walks a great deal, which was his main problem last season and why I was skeptical about the import.

Sanchez is the SABR-friendly pick, considering he is leading the AL in fWAR at 3.1 and FIP at 1.87. Similar to Darvish, he also has a ridiculous 11.28 K/9, which has been on full display earlier in the season when he set a franchise record for strikeouts. But, his record is a mediocre 5-5; ergo, old-school fans will think he stinks.

Moore has kept the Tampa Bay Rays afloat with his 8-0 record, but he is extremely average when you look deeper into his numbers. Moore is 27th in the American League at fWAR at 0.7, and his success is due to his absurdly high 91.7 strand rate and .204 BABIP. Needless to say, if you have Moore on your fantasy team, you might want to try to move him before his good luck runs out.

This leaves Buchholz, who is my quarter AL Cy Young selection. Essentially, Buchholz is a mixture of both traditional statistics and sabermetrics. The traditionalists would like his 7-0 record and his first place Boston Red Sox, while SABR folks would point out his 2.5 fWAR and 2.53 FIP.

With that being said, though, it’s hard to imagine that Buchholz’s can keep up his 0.25 HR/9 when his career average is 0.89. Therefore, Buchholz probably isn’t the best pick going forward.

So, Buchholz is my selection now, but I am willing to bet the AL Cy Young will be a guy I haven’t even mentioned – ie. Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander. 

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