Top 10 AL Cy Young Candidates at the All-Star Break

Cy Young Candidates

Scott Kazmir All--Star Game
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The first half of the season has seen some of the best pitching performances we have seen in a long time. Picking an All-Star team must have been one of the hardest things on John Farrell's plate. As far as the AL Cy Young Award, you could make a legitimate argument for up to 15-20 guys, so it was hard to cut it down to 10. There were some players who did get snubbed, but this would be the list I would send in at the halfway point.

10. Fernando Rodney - Seattle Mariners

Fernando Rodney - Seattle Mariners
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10. Fernando Rodney - Seattle Mariners

Fernando Rodney - Seattle Mariners
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I am usually not big on relief pitchers getting votes for the Cy Young Award, but Fernando Rodney has been amazing this season. You can see his importance by looking at his former team and the flux they have in the bullpen. He helps the Seattle Mariners know that once they get to the ninth inning, the game is over. He deserves at least a mention on the list.

9. Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox

Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox
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9. Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox

Jon Lester - Boston Red Sox
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The Boston Red Sox' defense of their title is not going as planned. as they currently reside in last place in the American League East. That doesn't translate into what is somewhat of a comeback season for Jon Lester. If the season ended today, he would have career highs in ERA, WHIP, K per BB and OBP against. He is the reason the Sox get any wins lately.

8. Garrett Richards - Los Angeles Angels

Garrett Richards - Los Angeles Angels
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8. Garrett Richards - Los Angeles Angels

Garrett Richards - Los Angeles Angels
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On a team with big money pitchers Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards has been the standout all season. He is fourth in AL in ERA at 2.55 and has carried the Angels all the way to the top Wild Card spot.

7. David Price - Tampa Bay Rays

 David Price - Tampa Bay Rays
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7. David Price - Tampa Bay Rays

David Price - Tampa Bay Rays
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David Price is another pitcher who is excelling on a bad team. He had a rough start trying to pitch while thinking about all the trade rumors swirling around. Now he has figured out how to deal with it all. He has a 2.27 ERA in five June starts and a 1.14 ERA in three July starts. If he continues on this path, he is going to cost someone even more to get him.

6. Yu Darvish - Texas Rangers

Yu Darvish - Texas Rangers
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6. Yu Darvish - Texas Rangers

Yu Darvish - Texas Rangers
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The Texas Rangers may be the biggest disappointment in the majors, but that is not Yu Darvish's fault in the least. He ranks 8th in the league with an ERA a tad under three. He has eight wins on a team that wins once every three games. If the Rangers were just better, he would have made the top five.

5. Mark Buehrle - Toronto Blue Jays

Mark Buehrle - Toronto Blue Jays
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5. Mark Buehrle - Toronto Blue Jays

Mark Buehrle - Toronto Blue Jays
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There are some lists where Mark Buehrle doesn't appear, while others put him near the top. It seems nobody knows how to explain what Buehrle is doing in 2014. In each start, everyone is expecting him to implode. Only once all season did he allow more than four runs in a start, and it was in April. Can he continue this run?

4. Scott Kazmir - Oakland Athletics

Scott Kazmir - Oakland Athletics
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4. Scott Kazmir - Oakland Athletics

Scott Kazmir - Oakland Athletics
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This may be the greatest comeback story in baseball in a long time. Scott Kazmir was a failed prospect who was supposed to be a sure thing. Between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, he had 1.2 innings pitched. Now he is a top Cy Young candidate. He is on possibly the best team in baseball and is a large reason for their success.

3. Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees
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3. Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka - New York Yankees
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Masahiro Tanaka could possibly be the top guy on this list, but it is hard to put him there knowing he is going to miss at least six weeks with an elbow injury. He has been beyond good this season. For much of the year, he was the only reason for wins on the Yankees. Now he is out, which is a bummer for everyone.

2. Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox
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2. Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox

Chris Sale - Chicago White Sox
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Chris Sale missed some time with injury, but if it hadn't been for that, he would be No. 1. Of everyone with at least 80 IP, he has the lowest ERA, the lowest WHIP, top five in quality start percentage, 7th in K/9 and 5th in K/BB. He has won eight games and only lost one. He is scary good.

1. Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners
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1. Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners

Felix Hernandez - Seattle Mariners
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Felix Hernandez is like Chris Sale without the injury. He has only allowed more than two runs in three starts. Out of 20 starts, 17 involve allowing two or fewer runs. That is something that is hard to even grasp. Only once was he not able to make six innings. Felix Hernandez is your AL Cy Young winner through the first half of the season.

Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports.  He also adds to the site’s NBA, MLB and NFL content.  You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your Google circle.

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