David Lee's recovery isn't the only exciting sports news as of late - Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez, called "King Felix" and "Felix the Cat" by some fans, won the 2010 American League Cy Young Award over Tampa Rays starter David Price and New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia, who won the award in 2007 while playing for the Cleveland Indians. Felix Hernandez, who plays for the Seattle Mariners in the American League West division, won the award in spite of only winning 13 games for the season. This is the lowest win total for any starting pitcher to win the award in a non strike shortened season.
King Felix Dominates Despite Record
His record was only 13 wins and 12 losses, hardly impressive for the recipient of the award that goes to the league's best pitcher. But his other numbers were startling. First of all, playing on the last place Mariners, it was amazing that Felix Hernandez even won more than half of his games, considering the team lost over 100 for the season and were in last place. Their offense was terrible, scoring fewer runs than any other team in the league. This translated into horrible run support for Hernandez, who was victimized many times with either zero or only one run from the Seattle offense to help him along. And their defense was not much better, helping make his job even more difficult by allowing unearned runs through errors in the field.
But even in spite of all of this, Felix Hernandez was able to post easily the best earned run average among starting pitchers in the league. He was also very durable and reliable, leading the major leagues in innings pitched and coming in second with his overall strikeout totals. And there were also those pet statistics of the sabermetricians, the new school baseball stat geeks who have turned tradition on its ear in some ways. This has actually allowed many pitchers like Felix Hernandez to win awards they never would have won in years past. Though he now tops the list, all of the top (or bottom) handful of Cy Young winners with the fewest wins on the season have all been given the award in the past several years of this decade. It is as if the win loss record does not matter at all anymore.
24 Year Old Ace
Felix Hernandez is certainly deserving of this award; there is no doubting that. But David Price and even Sabathia could have arguably been given the accolades as well based on the seasons they had. Yet the vote was not even close, with Felix Hernandez getting 21 out of a possible 28 first place votes and Price and Sabathia splitting the other seven. As part of his reward, this Cy Young victory triggers a bonus clause that pumps up his salary over each of the next several years, including a $1 million bonus for 2011. That much money can pay for a lot of car insurance without even searching for auto insurance discounters for an ordinary person.
Felix Hernandez in just his fifth full major league season has already won the position's highest individual honor. Now if only he can get out of Seattle or get some decent players to stick around there with him, he might win more than 13 games and even sniff the playoffs. Felix Hernandez is a great young pitcher and his talent is still developing. His 2010 season was great in spite of a subpar win loss record. This might not be the last award Felix Hernandez wins. He figures to have a long career in major league baseball ahead of him with his talent.