Interestingly enough, the American League is often called the more superior league between the two and yet it has a weaker field of Cy Young candidates. It could be the overabundance of hitting in the league or the absence of two teams in comparison with the NL’s 16. Either way, the path seems to be clear for a few candidates to make a run at the award.
Jered Weaver– Los Angeles Angels
The Angels have been a disappointment overall, but that can’t be attributed to Weaver. He is 5-0 in addition to these sparkling numbers. He was arguably neck and neck last season with Justin Verlander through the end of August, but faded down the stretch. It will be interesting to see what he has left in the tank when the summer comes to a close.
Felix Hernandez– Seattle Mariners
The former Cy Young winner is having a nice bounce back season. It isn’t as if he was horrible last year, but he was merely good. Hernandez will be getting reinforcements in the rotation as early as 2013 in the form of Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker. The Mariners rotation could join the ranks of the Phillies, Rays, Giants, and Nationals at that point.
Jake Peavy– Chicago White Sox
We’re going to party like it’s 2007. That was the last time Peavy was a dominant pitcher. In the intervening seasons he has been banged or generally solid, but not great. This is the pitcher Kenny Williams thought he was getting when he traded for Peavy. It’s too bad it’s coming about three years too late.
David Price– Tampa Bay Rays
It’s possible that Price has better stuff than anyone here and he has the best defense behind him. The problem is that no one works harder to get the innings he does get. So, when the season ends he may barely get to 200 innings while the others will be getting at least 220 or 230. That’s not an insignificant sum.
Justin Verlander– Detroit Tigers
It’s hard to call someone with a 2.63 ERA unlucky, but his numbers are not remarkably different than Jered Weaver or Felix Hernandez. Last year was a magical season that just doesn’t happen very often for any pitcher. With the top end talent in this league, it will be hard for him to repeat as the winner.
C.J. Wilson– Los Angeles Angels
Imagine that Wilson is here despite struggling with his command in a couple of early starts. He seems to have gotten on track in the last three outings and is therefore a part of this conversation. He was arguably among the top ten in the AL last season despite pitching in a ban box. Now, he’s in a pitcher’s park with a great defense.
Gavin Floyd– Chicago White Sox
Floyd is a cut below the others, but he is also rumored to be on the trading block. U.S. Cellular Field is a notorious hitter’s park and the White Sox’ defense leaves some to be desired. If he gets traded to a better team he could take his game to another level. He’ll have to do it to stay in the race.
Jason Hammel– Baltimore Orioles
This is a nice story, but I just can’t see it lasting. The Orioles as a whole are playing way above their heads and he might be the perfect embodiment of that. He’s not exactly a chump as he turned in some quietly good seasons in Colorado, but quietly good and dominant are two different things.
C.C. Sabathia– New York Yankees
Sabathia is the 2010s version of Catfish Hunter and Jack Morris. He’s a very good pitcher that looks great because he consistently wins. Even this year, he is 4-0 despite some pedestrian ERA numbers. Still, the ERA is inflated (3.09 FIP) so we can expect it to return to career norms. Ultimately, he will approach 20 wins, so he will be in the conversation.
Ricky Romero– Toronto Blue Jays
Like Sabathia, Romero is not necessarily dominant, but he is winning. The Blue Jays will always provide offensive support and if he continues to pitch well he will win big. Unlike Sabathia, he is actually outperforming his ERA, so he will likely fade to the background. If he improves his walk rate he could stay in the game.
In addition to being the editor of hardballchat.com, Scott Barzilla is also the proud father of one and the author of four books. His books can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Barzilla's Hall of Fame Index was nominated for the Sporting News Award for statistical advancement.