A couple of weeks ago, I surveyed my fellow American League Cy Young voters (27 besides me) to get a sense of what factors they were considering as the primary criteria in their final decision. I especially wanted to find out how much stock they would put in win-loss records, for obvious reasons. The exercise produced this column.
One of the Cy Young voters responded to my query in an e-mail: “I haven’t decided which way I will vote yet, but I can tell you a couple of things. First, I don’t think I could vote for a .500 pitcher. Greinke was 16-8 last year for an awful team, so that wasn’t an issue. If Felix wins his next three starts and goes 14-11, I wouldn’t have a problem because his other numbers are dominant. But if he’s 12-13 or 11-14, that’s going to be tough for me to overlook despite the innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts. But again, 14-11 with three wins over the Yankees changes things, maybe even 13-12. But it’s hard to discount what Price or Sabathia have done. That game they went head-to-head the other night was pretty impressive.”
That’s obviously the kind of thought process that Felix Hernandez must overcome if he’s to win the Cy Young with a 13-12 record (and which would have been even more difficult had he finished at .500 or one game under).
Well, today this same voter sent me a followup e-mail: “Just letting you know that I’ve changed my tune on the Cy Young. The Felix numbers are just too overwhelming. He’s going to get my vote.”
So there you have it: One mind changed. One first-place vote for Felix Hernandez from a former skeptic.
I honestly think that when voters look at the respective candidates and their credentials on Sunday night or Monday morning when the ballots are due, it will be hard not to come to this same conclusion, even without one final Felix start on Sunday. When I e-mailed to ask permission to blog about the change (without using any names), this voter said it was OK and added, “My main reason for the change was I couldn’t penalize him for the team’s complete inability to hit.”
Now we’ll see how many of the 28 agree. I’ll blog about my ballot next week.
(Felix Hernandez composes himself before his final 2010 start in Texas last week. Photo by Associated Press).