2009 AL Cy Young Contenders

By: Jesse Boskoff

The AL Cy Young award is a wide open race. Should it go to the guy with the best stats? The one who plays for the best team? Let's take a look.
Zack Greinke. Who knew the kid had it in him? Greinke seemingly came out of nowhere in 2009, and many dismissed his scorching hot start, thinking he'd eventually lose his stuff. He really hasn't. With a 12-8 record, an AL-best 2.42 ERA, an AL second-best 197 strikeouts, 5 CGs (tied for most in the AL), and the lowest WHIP (1.12), Greinke has all of the stats that a Cy Young winner would typically have, and then some. Unfortunately, he plays for a bad team and this may limit his chances.
Felix Hernandez. The King has finally arrived. After a few seasons of hype, and flashes of brilliance, Hernandez has strung together a brilliant year. A 12-5 record, 2.73 ERA, and nearly a strikeout per inning have brought the Mariners back to a respectable state. He's a big reason for it.
Roy Halladay. The subject of many trade rumors last month, and with good reason. Halladay's 13-7 record, 3.03 ERA, 5 complete games, and just 24 walks (less than one per game - talk about control) are some of the best in baseball.
Justin Verlander. While teammate Edwin Jackson has a better ERA (2.86) than Verlander (3.38), Verlander's 14-7 record and his AL-high 211 strikeouts give him more flash. Plus, he's a bigger name. The fact that he's on a first-place team doesn't hurt either.
CC Sabathia. His ERA at 3.59 is higher than any of the other contenders, but he leads the AL in wins with 15 and has a low WHIP (1.13). The fact that he's playing for a team with the most wins in baseball, and is in the midst of his first season there, goes a very long way toward Sabathia's chances.
Other names to consider:
If Edwin Jackson continues to put up great numbers, he can't be counted out (no matter how relatively unknown he is).
Josh Beckett was a legit contender very recently, but some bad starts brought his ERA up to 3.65. With a very strong finish, he can bring himself back into contention.

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