Alright…a couple of nights ago on MLB Tonight, Harold Reynolds and I engaged in a little “battle” over the American League Cy Young Award candidates. I had thrown out there that Zack Greinke, numbers-wise, is probably the guy that deserves to get it (the others I had put out there were Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez). Harold threw some “stuff” out there (as he so often likes to do to stir the pot a little), one of which was that the “strength of schedule” should come into play when determining the Cy Young Award. At that point, I checked out…or as my buddy Hawk Harrelson would say, “HE GONE!”
Look, if you’re reading this blog, you’re well aware of the fact that I love to speak my mind…they are MY thoughts and I’m aware that it doesn’t make it right or absolute. If anything, I like to debate just to get other people’s opinions/thoughts on that particular subject matter. BUT, when you throw out that USC got hosed from playing in the National Championship game last year because BCS voters were down on the Pac 10 AND then relate that to Zack Greinke and pitching in the Amercian League Central, you’re probably going to get a reaction from me. So, in my best Harold Reynolds impersonation (theater of the mind people) here it is…”Folks (clap hands)…there’s A LOT (voice-rising) of talented pitchers out there…now I knoooowwww (looking into the camera with the hint of a smirk) some of you are wondering about which guy deserves the Cy Young (hands up with a shrug of the shoulders)…so I’ve put together this breakdown of who I (emphasis on “I” with shrug of shoulders and both index fingers pointing towards chest) think should win it…this is good stuff (clap of hands)…so check it out (point to camera and wink).”
A.L. CY YOUNG AWARD: I gave you my candidates above: Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez (Sorry, C.C. and Doc). It’s a tough decision with it actually coming down to Greinke and Hernandez for me and solely based on the numbers, I’m going with Zack Greinke. What people are going to begin with is the “Wins” total…currently at 14. But that’s just a product of his surroundings. Greinke can’t help the fact he was drafted and developed by the Kansas City Royals. It is what it is and even with that in mind, he’s been absolutely commanding out on the mound. The guy has an ERA that’s been hovering around 2.00 (currently 2.14) all season long (the HIGHEST his ERA has been this year is 2.44…back on August 19th); his 6 complete games leads the league (and by the way, 5 of the 6 were 9-inning CG’s with the 8-inning one being against the Angels back on May 9th when he allowed just 4 hits and 1 earned run in a 1-0 Loss – yeah, his bad!); 3 shutouts; he has 224 strikeouts to only 44 walks (9.6 K per 9 innings pitched); has allowed just 180 hits in 210 1/3 innings pitched (.231 batting average against); his WHIP (walks and hits per 9 innings) is a minuscule 1.065, leading the AL. Through it all, he’s made 30 starts this year and as good as he’s been, the team has managed a 15-15 record in his starts…that’s not on him. I’ll leave you with one last thing…since he is in the Central, I wanted to see what he had done against the team that is leading the division, the Detroit Tigers? OPERATION SHUTDOWN: 3-1 in 5 starts with an ERA of 1.00; striking out 42 in 36 innings and two complete games. So that’s my argument for Greinke…he’s been outstanding this year and the Cy Young Award should go the best pitcher in the league…Greinke’s been that guy for me.
A.L. MVP: For a time, I thought Miguel Cabrera should have been the guy because of his carrying of the Tigers all season long. But the guy that should and will win it is Joe Mauer. Even with missing an extended period of time to start the season, Mauer is has been incredible and is on his way to winning his 3rd batting title (no catcher has ever won 3). He’s kept the Twins in it to the end and even with Justin Morneau on the shelf, Mauer just continues to produce. Very much deserving.
A.L. Rookie of the Year: Unlike the National League, the American League award comes down to just a couple of guys for me: Elvis Andrus, Gordon Beckham and Jeff Niemann. I thought for having to learn to play 3B in the big leagues, Beckham should be that guy and had he not missed some time, he still might’ve gotten the nod…but it has to be Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers. The kid came out of spring training and made the team as the shortstop and he hasn’t disappointed: .273/6 HR/33 RBI/26 SB and most importantly, his fielding percentage is at .967 and he helped that team considerably defensively. Not bad for the youngest player in the league…yes, he just turned 21.
A.L. Manager of the Year: I’m not even going to mess around here, Mike Sciossia of the Los Angeles Angels. “Hey skipper, you’re going to start the year with 3/5th’s of your rotation on the DL…so no John Lackey, Ervin Santana or Kelvim Escobar. Also, the death of emerging star Nick Adenhart may put a hole in the heart of this team, so we’ll need you to keep things together. And…oh yeah, one more thing…you’re going to be without Vladimir Guerrero for over 50 games, Torii Hunter is going to miss considerable time, your valuable set-up man Scot Shields is going to be out for the year and Jose Arredondo is going to struggle as the set-up man. Got it? Now go get ’em.” It may be the best offensive team he’s had there in his 10 seasons, but this is by far the best managing his done as well (and I was witness to 5 years of it as a broadcaster with the Rangers). It’s no wonder this guy is widely considered the best manager in the game…it’s why he’s locked up through 2018.
“Ya see (clap of hands), that’s a lot of good stuff right there. That’s it for me (clap of hands with a big smile). I’ll have the National League next time…be sure to check it out (walk off, doing the Jimmy Rollins finger-pointing at the camera).”
Just livin’ the dream…