Continuing my prediction series, I now turn to individual awards, and the Cy Young is the first one I am going to look at. Last season, I accurately picked David Price as the Cy Young winner, who won it over our very own Justin Verlander. Two years ago, I went with Jared Weaver, but he lost to Verlander after giving him a good run for most of the season. This has easily been the category of which I am the closest on an annual basis.
Without further delay, let’s look at the candidates.
Mar 11, 2012; Lakeland, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Justin Verlander (35) pitches against the New York Mets during the game at Joker Marchant Stadium. The Mets beat the Tigers 11-0. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
1. Justin Verlander- Detroit
Verlander is a perennial candidate to win the Cy Young award, and this year should be no different. He should win a lot of games with improved defense and improved offense, so he is on the short list.
2. David Price- Tampa Bay
Price came into his own last year, and is the defending Cy Young award winner. He will likely have good peripheral numbers again in 2013, however, with Tampa Bay’s often lackluster offense, wins are a stretch. He did win enough last year. Can he do it again?
3. Felix Hernandez– Seattle
Hernandez is a real good pitcher in a real good pitchers park. He will consistently put up a bunch of innings, strikeouts, and usually has a real good ERA. Wins have been an issue for Hernandez, but Seattle improved their offense this off-season quite a bit.
4. Matt Harrison– Texas
Harrison is a guy that kind of flies under the radar, but he really shouldn’t. He pitches about half of his games in a tough ballpark, but for the past two seasons has posted sub 3.50 ERA’s. His peripherals aren’t nearly as dominant as the first three guys, but the win totals and the success should be respected.
5. Jon Lester– Boston
It would take quite a comeback by Lester to get into this conversation, but he certainly has the stuff to do so. I wouldn’t be surprised to see his name near the top of pitching leader boards throughout the season.
6. Jared Weaver- Los Angeles
Weaver has flirted with the Cy Young for a couple of years, but has yet to break through. This could be the season. He should have gawdy numbers. Has an outstanding defense behind him, as well as an offense that should score plenty of runs.
7. R.A. Dickey– Toronto
I am not sure how Dickey will translate pitching in the American League all year, but he did win the Cy Young last season in the National League, so that is going to get him on the list. Good offensive team to get the wins, and his strikeout totatls were good last year.
8. Chris Sale– Chicago
Sale has a ton of talent from the left hand side, and has the kind of stuff that will crank out good peripheral numbers. His issue is that he is so slight of frame, he wore down a little bit in the 2nd half of last year. If he can keep from wearing down over the course of the season, Sale could very well be in the conversation.
Dark horse candidates:
Here are some guys that could put themselves into the conversation rather easily, but there are some question marks.
1. Max Scherzer– Detroit
Scherzer has all the potential in the world. He hasn’t been consistent for a whole season yet in his career though, and he did have some shoulder soreness last season. His K rate is outstanding, and at times looks more unhittable than even his teammate Justin Verlander.
2. Josh Johnson– Toronto
Johnson has tremendous stuff, but has a ton of injury history. If he can stay healthy for a full season, he could work his way into the conversation, as Toronto is expected to be good this year.
3. Matt Moore– Tampa
I think it’s too early to consider Moore a legitimate contender, but he certainly has the arm to dominate. His command has to be better for him to do so however.
4. Brett Anderson– Oakland
Another guy with tremendous stuff that needs to stay healthy. He pitches in a tremendous home park, has a good defense behind him, and plays for a team that could contend for a playoff spot. Good peripheral numbers, health and a playoff run could put Anderson in the running.
Hernandez is always in the picture, and I think what his team does this year is going to make a difference in voting. I picked Seattle as a surprise playoff team, and Hernandez will get a lot of attention because of it. His numbers will be great as always, which matters, so I got King Felix putting another Cy Young award on his mantle.