The ace of the Detroit Tigers‘ pitching staff, Max Scherzer, improved his amazing record to 17-1 with a win over the Cleveland Indians last Thursday. With by far the best record in all of baseball and pretty respectable statistics to back him up, Scherzer has been regarded as a clear favorite to win the AL Cy Young Award. If anyone out there is thinking Scherzer has the award locked up, it is time to come out from the rock you are living under, stop listening to the popular media voices and look up the statistics!
Don’t get me wrong. Scherzer has been absolutely fantastic this season. The 6-foot-3 righty has a sound ERA of 2.84 which ranks in the top 10 for AL pitchers and a 0.903 WHIP which leads all AL starters. With a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 5.0 and the third most strikeouts in the AL with 175, Scherzer most certainly states his case as a frontrunner for the Cy Young Award, but he is not the only AL pitcher who has had a great year.
2010 AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners has put together another solid year and deserves some consideration. Hernandez’s 2.28 ERA leads all AL pitchers and his WHIP is in the top 10. Further, Hernadez’s 5.9 WAR is almost an entire win ahead of Scherzer and the Mariner has three more strikeouts at 178. With a 12-5 record for a below average Seattle club, Hernandez is certainly a contender again.
Finally, Yu Darvish has been hurling the heaters for the Texas Rangers in only his second season after coming to MLB from Japan. Darvish has impressed fans again with his dazzling performance, bringing in an 11-5 record with the most strikeouts (207) in all of baseball. His 2.64 ERA and 1.00 WHIP rank him in the top five for AL pitchers in both categories. With a 4.4 WAR, Darvish stakes his claim near the front of the AL Cy Young race. As ESPN reported on twitter today, Darvish is lighting batters up:
Yu Darvish has recorded his 9th game in 2013 with at least 10 strikeouts, the most such games in the MLB this season
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 12, 2013
So here is a side-by-side recap:
- Max Scherzer: 17-1, 2.84 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 175 SO (9.9 per 9 innings), 5.0 WAR
- Felix Hernandez: 12-5, 2.28 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 178 SO (9.2 per 9 innings), 5.9 WAR
- Yu Darvish: 11-5, 2.64 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 207 SO (11.9 per 9 innings), 4.4 WAR
With these three fantastic seasons placed next to each other, it is certainly difficult to declare any one pitcher the clear winner thus far. I look forward to an interesting conclusion to the 2013 AL Cy Young race and hope that the best overall pitcher is given the crown. If I was held at gunpoint and forced to pick the winner today, I would have to go with Darvish based on the statistics.