Call it the ultimate triumph for sabermetrics. Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez won the American League Cy Young Award Thursday as its best pitcher.
Traditionally, pitchers who have won the AL or NL Cy Young Awards have done so by piling up wins. Hernandez had the fewest wins of any pitcher in the award’s history, going 13-12. C.C. Sabathia of the Yankees had 21 wins. David Price of Tampa Bay went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA. Yet, Hernandez ran away with the award.
The thing that separates Hernandez from pitchers with more traditional stats is the fact that he led the league in ERA, finished second in strikeouts, and held opponents to a .212 batting average. Hernandez simply had the misfortune of playing on a Mariners team that had one of the most feeble offenses since the invention of the DH.