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Purple Row Awards: American League Cy Young Award

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As we continue our quest to award the big trophies to the deserving players, our eyes turn away from home and to the American League, where pitchers play half of a game and are given back rubs in between innings.

The writers on the staff had very little problem with finding a winner, as this particular pitcher received a unanimous vote from the Purple Row Brass.

Carl Pavano

#48 / Pitcher / Minnesota Twins

6-5

240

R

R

Jan 08, 1976

 

HA! Nah, I'm joking with you. Seriously, the winner is the following pitcher:

 

1st Place - Zack Greinke

#23 / Pitcher / Kansas City Royals

6-2

190

R

R

Oct 21, 1983

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Zack Greinke 16-8 33 33 6 3 0 0 229.1 195 64 55 11 51 242 2.16 1.07

Zack Greinke. What comes to your mind when you think about Zack Greinke? Ask me this a couple of years ago, and the first thing that comes to my mind is "man, what a shame. So much sheer talent and the kid can't keep his head on his shoulders. What a shame, I'd kill to have a guy who could throw a 95 mph sinker."

I've seen Greinke pitch once. May 20, 2007, Greinke pitched 4 outs of relief against Colorado, striking out 2, allowing no hits and walking nobody.  Nothing terribly special, but it was a sign that he might be ready to pitch as a major leaguer again.

While 2007 and 2008 definitely showed signs of improvement for young Greinke, 2009 proved to be something nearly otherworldly.

Greinke posted a 2.16 ERA over 229 1/3 innings in the 2009 campaign. He struck out 242 batters, walked only 51, and never had to intentionally walk ANYONE.

Thanks to a pitiful Royals team this season, his record was only 16-8. He made 26 Quality Starts (6.0IP or more, 3.0ER or less), out of 33 starts. He struck out 8 or more batters in 16 starts. 9 or more in 9 starts, 10 or more in 5 starts, including 1 game where he punched out 15. He pitched 5 games in which he allowed zero runs, 3 of which being complete games.

Greinke pitched 29 innings in 2009 before allowing a single run. He pitched 75 innings before his ERA cracked 1. He pitched 121 1/3 innings before it passed 2.

But the real story of Zack Greinke is in the half-season splits.

First half Greinke: 10-5, 2.12 ERA, 6.14 K/BB.

Second half Greinke: 6-3, 2.21 ERA, 3.77 K/BB.

Ok I'm kidding about that. You can see that his SHEER DOMINANCE dropped off a bit as the halves changed, but he was still pretty dynamite.

For the SABR crowd, Greinke's season line looks like this: 2.16 ERA(1st), 2.33 FIP (1st), 2.35 tRA (1st), 3.48 tRA* (1st), 4.75 K/BB (2nd to Halladay), 9.50 K/9 (3rd behind Verlander and Lester), 6.07 WPA (1st), 61.98 RE24 (1st - next highest was 44.85, Halladay).

I don't see how there's any other option than Greinke, personally. I'm thrilled to see a troubled young guy find his stride, and really fill out the dominance the Royals saw in him when they drafted him.

Greinke's 4-year, $38M extension may be the only smart decision Dayton Moore has made in the past few years.

 

Our runners up:

2nd Place - Justin Verlander

#35 / Pitcher / Detroit Tigers

6-5

200

R

R

Feb 20, 1983

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Justin Verlander 19-9 35 35 3 1 0 0 240.0 219 99 92 20 63 269 3.45 1.17

3rd Place - Felix Hernandez

#34 / Pitcher / Seattle Mariners

6-3

225

R

R

Apr 08, 1986

W-L G GS CG SHO SV BS IP H R ER HR BB K ERA WHIP
2009 - Felix Hernandez 19-5 34 34 2 1 0 0 238.2 200 81 66 15 71 217 2.49 1.14

 

Here is how the voting broke down:

AL Cy

RMN

PF

togb

Russ

Silver

Jabbs

1

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke

2

Justin Verlander

Felix Hernandez

CC Sabathia

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez

Justin Verlander

3

Roy Halladay

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander

Roy Halladay

Felix Hernandez

If I could've I would've given 3rd place to both Halladay and King Felix. That kid is also bomb, and will be a Cy Young winner before you know it.

 

Tomorrow, Jabberwocky will be telling us about who won the NL Cy Young award, why he did, and why nobody can take away the way he wears his hat.