Shaping up the AL CY young race
With about 6 weeks to go in the MLB season there are 5 players who will headline the race for the AL CY Young. They are as follows: Cliff Lee, Francisco Liriano, Jered Weaver, David Price & Jon Lester. It's time to look at each player's case to see if they will be determined the best pitcher in the American League at the end of the season.
Francisco Liriano: My oh my, after having a DOMINANT season in 2006 Liriano looks to be back. As you all know Liriano had Tommy John surgery that kept him out for all of 2007 and a good portion of 2008. After a shaky year last year Liriano looks to be back. He's striking out 9.64 batters per 9 innings while only walking 2.83. He's been keeping the ball in the park at an uncharacteristic rate even for him. He's only given up 0.12 HR/9. Yes you read that right, only .12 per 9. That's incredible. His BABIP is a little high seeing as it's at .350 but his career BABIP is .322. One thing that could contribute to his high BABIP is the fact that his HR/9 is so low. Still, Liriano has been getting somewhat lucky. His ERA is a respectable 3.26 but his FIP is an incredible 2.19. His xFIP is also a respectable 2.93. One thing that surprised me was his 5.6 WAR. That's second in the AL to Cliff Lee who I will touch on in a bit. Overall I would say Liriano should have a good shot at winning the CY but don't count on it.
David Price: Price is finally turning into the pitcher everyone thought he would be. He's striking out 8.37 batters per 9 but walking 3.80 per 9 which is a little high. Unlike last year Price is doing a much better job at keeping the ball in the park as he is only giving up .59 HR/9 unlike last year when he gave up 1.19, albeit it was a SSS. His BABIP is fairly neutral a .290 to be exact. He has a nice ERA of 2.83 but his peripherals indicate that he could see a little spike in his ERA. His FIP is 3.43 and his xFIP is 3.99. His WAR is only 3.2 but if he doesn't win the CY this year don't be surprised to see him win one in the future, he has all the talent in the world.
Cliff Lee: Many believe Lee is the favorite to receive this year's CY Young award. He is striking out a healthy 7.83 per 9 and is walking a ridiculous 0.53 per. That is just unheard of. In fact, Lee has the greatest K/BB ratio in the history of the game. His ERA and FIP almost perfectly match-up. His ERA 2.77 while his FIP is 2.23. His xFIP is slightly above 3 as it's 3.22. This year Lee's WAR is 6.5 which should easily pass his 7.2 WAR which he posted in 2008 when he won the CY Young award. If Lee keeps this up he could win the award and be in line for a nice payday this off-season.
Jered Weaver: Weaver is having a fine season himself this year. He's posting career highs with 9.96 K/9 and 2.30 BB/9. Both are very solid numbers. He is giving up 1.09 HR/9 but he's been pretty steady with that number over his career. Weaver has a solid ERA of 3.11 this and his FIP isn't off much at all. It's 3.19 so hardly any difference. His xFIP is 3.44 but again not much difference at all. His WAR is a solid 4.2 which is already a career high. Weaver, in my opinion is the dark hose to win this year's CY Young award.
Jon Lester: Jon Lester is putting together another solid season as he is taking the reigns as ace of the Boston Red Sox's staff. He's striking out 9.22 per 9 and walking 3.07 per. His walks are a little high but not enough to worry me. He's keeping the ball in the park as he's only given up .56/9. His BABIP is a little low, .288 but it's basically neutral so nothing to really be worried about here. His ERA is a healthy 2.80 but his FIP indicates he could see a little rise. His FIP is 3.02 and his xFIP is 3.25. Jon Lester is on pace to get a better WAR then he had last year. Currently he's at a 4.6 WAR and last year he posted a 6.2. Lester could win the CY but I don't see it this year.
Clay Buchholz: 6.01 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, .262 BABIP, .47 HR/9. 2.36 ERA, 3.65 FIP, 4.22 xFIP, 2.5 WAR
Felix Hernandez: 8.19 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, .62 HR/9, .294 BABIP, 2.62 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 3.55 xFIP, 4.8 WAR
CC Sabathia: 7.08 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, .74 HR/9, .289 BABIP, 3.12 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 3.92 xFIP, 3.4 WAR
Who I think should win:
1. Cliff Lee
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Jered Weaver
4. Jon Lester
5. David Price
Who I think will win:
1. Cliff Lee
2. Jon Lester
3. Jered Weaver
4. David Price
5. Francisco Liriano