Yesterday, Buster Olney gave his take on the AL Cy Young race:

An interesting aspect of Cliff Lee — and part of the reason the Indians didn’t invest in a huge contract for him — is that when he misses his spots, he tends to get lit up. That’s exactly what happened on Saturday against the Orioles. I had Lee over Felix Hernandez for the AL Cy Young with six weeks go; as of Sunday, I’d put King Felix in the lead again.

I wonder if other Cy Young voters feel the way Olney does? It would be fairly unprecedented for a pitcher with a losing record to win a Cy Young Award, and King Felix’s record is 9-10.

Of course, wins are a terrible way to judge pitcher performance. But for years, Cy Young voters have made wins and losses a major factor in their voting, and it’d be surprising if they stopped now. The only pitchers to win a Cy Young with a .500 record or worse were Bruce Sutter and Eric Gagne, both relievers.

Ironically, while Olney should be applauded for ignoring Hernandez’s poor record, he should probably still vote for Lee, who has been worth 5.9 wins over replacement this season, compared to Hernandez’s 5.1 WAR. Also, Lee’s K/BB ratio (13.73) is stop-you-in-your-tracks fantastic. The next best ratio is Jered Weaver (4.02). Yikes.

UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Stats & Info blog today also has a story about how Felix Hernandez’s won-loss record shouldn’t matter, but then forgets to include Cliff Lee in a rundown of the AL Cy Young candidates. D’oh!

One Response to “Will King Felix win a Cy Young with a losing record?”

  1. Dan Swartzendruber says:

    I know his inning count is lower, but I would like to see Buchholz get some consideration.

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