Earlier this week we examined some of the National League Starting Pitchers with the best shot at a Cy Young award, so it’s only fair we do the same for the American League, right? Good, glad everyone agrees:
C.C. Sabathia, NYY – The Yankees signed Sabathia to a monster contract after the 2008 season, and he’s given them everything they’ve asked for. In two seasons, the six-foot-seven Lefty has accumulated thirty Wins, just short of 400 K’s, and a 3.27 ERA. Due to their disheveled Starting Staff, they’re going to need him to be more of a force than ever. I’d be willing to bet he’s up for the task. I would also expect him to opt out of his contract this off-season and really cash in.
Felix Hernandez, SEA – Ho hum. Sorry this article isn’t more exciting. It doesn’t take me to tell you that this guy is a phenomenal pitcher. If he comes anywhere close to last year’s 2.27 ERA, 232 K’s, and 1.057 WHIP, he’ll have a great shot at repeating last year’s award. Of course he belongs on this list. The only knock on Hernandez is the lack of wins. But as I pointed out months ago, who cares?
David Price, TB – In just his second season as a Major League starter, Price finished second in the AL Cy Young voting, thanks primarily to his 2.72 ERA. White I expect his numbers to regress slightly, he certainly belongs on the shortlist of CY Young candidates. With the major losses in the Tampa Bay bullpen, expect Manager Joe Maddon to push Price’s Innings to the limit.
Justin Verlander, DET – While Verlander (pictured right) was pretty good in 2010, it was nowhere near as his 2009 when he lead the league in Innings Pitched (240), Wins (19) and K’s (269!!!). The Tigers are going to compete in 2011, and Verlander will be a big part of that. Once his competitive juices get flowing he’ll likely put up Cy Young type numbers.
Jon Lester, BOS – If you’re going to put money on anything, put it on the Red Sox winning the AL East. The team is built to win, and Lester is pegged as their Ace. And believe me, that’s no mistake. He should have an ERA in the low 3’s, K’s in the low 200’s, with a couple of Complete-Game Shutouts sprinkled in. When left-handed hitters complain about facing strong LHP’s, Lester is the mold of guy they’re talking about.
Other Pitchers of Note: Clay Bucholz, BOS. Jered Weaver, LAA. Trevor Cahill, OAK. Francisco Liriano, MIN.