AL Cy Young
This should be the shortest installment of the awards, right? We should skip the nonsense and give his award to the most deserving and feel-good story of the year, Cliff Lee, right? Wrong.
Not to say he doesn’t deserve it, but instead of listing eight or so candidates who just don't stack up. Let’s have a head-to-head battle between Lee and his only real competition, Toronto’s Roy Halladay.
We will start with the hard stats that many view as the basis for winning the award:
Wins = Lee 22 – Halladay 20
ERA = Lee 2.54 – Halladay 2.78
Strikeouts = Halladay 206 – Lee 170
WHIP = Halladay 1.05 – Lee 1.11
Opp. BA = Halladay .237 – Lee .253
OK. That’s that. Take it for what you will. Halladay wins in three categories to two. However, Lee wins the two most important categories with wins and ERA. But wait, there are a couple more categories that favors Halladay, including complete games (9, 1st in AL), innings pitched (246, 1st in AL), K/BB ratio (5.28, 1st in AL), hits/9 (8.05, 5th in AL). Both pitchers had two shutouts and each had 23 quality starts this season.
Lee backers could make the argument that he led the AL in BB/9 (1.37) showing his impeccable control this season AND the fact that he not only won 22 games, but lost only three, for an unheard of .880 winning percentage.
To me, a stat that comes into play here is run support. How else could Cliff Lee manage a 22-3 record with an opponents batting average that ranked 17th in the league? Lee received 6.13 runs per start (9th in the AL) and Halladay was able to win 20 with 4.72 runs (39th in the AL).
It isn’t easy to vote against Cliff Lee, but after examining this thing up and down, I have to give the nod to “Doc”. That said, I think the writers give it to Lee.
1. Roy Halladay
2. Cliff Lee
3. Daisuke Matsuzaka
4. Mike Mussina
5. Jon Lester
6. Joe Saunders
7. A.J. Burnett
8. Ervin Santana
9. James Shields
10. Mariano Rivera
2008 MLB Awards
NL MVP – Albert Pujols, 1B, STL
AL MVP – Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum, SP, SF
AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay, SP, TOR
NL ROY – Tomorrow
AL ROY – Sunday