Greinke takes home the Cy Young


Both the AL MVP and AL Cy Young are pretty obvious picks this year, and half of those awards were made official today. Royals’ righthander Zack Greinke was named the AL Cy Young Award winner, beating out Felix Hernandez in a landslide. Greinke’s season was simply off the charts: 242 K in 229.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 2.33 FIP, 2.81 tRA. His 9.4 WAR was by the far the most in baseball this year (Ben Zobrist was second with 8.6), and it was the best mark put up by a pitcher since Randy Johnson went for 9.9 WAR back in 2004. Congrats to Zack, there really wasn’t much of a debate here.

In a normal year, CC Sabathia might have gotten more consideration, but thanks to the phenomenal seasons put forth by Greinke, Justin Verlander, and Felix Hernandez, he finished fourth (two second place votes, seven third place votes). It’s all cool though, Sabathia added something to his resume this season that none of those guys have.

Categories : Asides


  1. congrats to the man that can throw a 59 mph curve and a 95 mph heater at will.

    you sir, are a baby-faced assassin.

  2. Jordan says:

    “Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals was an overwhelming choice for the American League Cy Young Award despite posting a victory total that matched the lowest for any winner in either league among starting pitchers in a full season.”


  3. Wow, the voters got it right.

  4. Mike HC says:

    Greinke definitely deserved it. Although I don’t think pitchers in the AL East get enough credit. With the unbalanced schedules and the really good lineups that every team has, pitching in the AL East is the real deal. Mussina pitched his entire career in the AL East. I don’t think that is taken into enough consideration when looking at his hall of fame credentials.

  5. Jake H says:

    I was worried that they would look at wins but it seems that they didn’t. Zach had the best year start to finish too.

    • Bo says:

      because wins dont matter in baseball apparently.

      He should be commended for winning that many games with KC

      • Bo, I hate responding to you, because you’re so frequently called out for your inanities and never back them up. But you once again conflate the argument. No one said wins don’t matter. We’re saying that wins, as in the statistic for pitchers, don’t mater. People rail against this stat and that, but refuse to recognize that pitcher wins tell us very little about the pitcher himself, and a lot more about the team around him.

        But, becuase it says “wins” people blindly think it’s a telling stat. Sorry you can’t think on more than one plane, Bo.

  6. Bill R says:

    Greinke winning the CY Young is a joke! The guy pitches the majority of his games in the weak AL central! No kidding he gets such good numbers. Put him on a team in a good division and lets see him repeat!

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      This is sarcasm right?

      • Riddering says:

        I choose to read the comment this way:

        “Greinke winning the CY Young is a joke! The guy pitches the majority of his games in the weak AL central!

        No, just kidding, he puts up such good numbers it’s ridiculous. Put him on a team in a good division and lets see him rack up 20+ wins, baby, WHOOOOOOOOOO!”

      • Rose says:

        Unfortunately, no. This man is a genuine bumbling buffoon…

      • Keanu Reeves says:

        I mean, I see his point to an extent. I could totally listen to someone tell me that Sabathia’s season was more impressive because of the opponents and the magnitude of his starts. As compared to the irrelevance of Greinke’s starts.

        However, I think his numbers really overshadow this point. He was brilliant this year.

        • Renny Baseball says:

          It is true that ZG faced more teams having weaker line-ups 1-9 with greater regularity since he pitched in the AL Central. But I don’t think that argument carries the day because he did face and do well against the better line-ups too.

          And while the AL East was the dominant of the 3 divisions, consider that King Felix faced tough line-ups too, namely the Angels with a dominant line up (and Texas similarly were no hitting slouches) — who Seattle would have played 18 times; I make this point to illustrate that there is non-AL-East-centric approach from which voters ought to view the pitcher candidates’ seasons.

          Finally, what’s ironic about those saying CC deserved CY consideration (not that staunchly on this board) is that, though an AL east pitcher, CC himself benefited by avoiding the toughest line-up in the league, namely, the Yankees line-up that hit behind him.

        • pete says:

          sabathia never had to face the yankees, though, and the AL east doesn’t look half as strong offensively without them. You could make the argument that CC pitched as well as Zach did in the 2nd half, because for all intents and purposes, he did. But ZG pitched that way all year. The guy was a freak this year.

    • Ed says:

      Somehow, whenever someone makes an argument like that, it’s always about someone on the worst team in a bad division. Which means that as far as that player/team is concerned, the division isn’t as weak.

  7. larryf says:

    and we have Zach Kroenke!

    so close yet so far :-(

  8. Rose says:

    Who gets the “Cy Yuck”? Or “Cy Old”?

  9. Riddering says:

    He had 0.43 HR/9 this year. That’s so beautiful.

  10. Fun Facts:

    - In 13 of Zack Grienke’s 16 wins, he allowed either 0, 1, or 2 runs in at least 6 full innings. The other three wins were A) two games where he only pitched 5 innings, but left said games with a 4-0 and 5-0 lead, and B) a 7 IP start against the A’s where he gave up a whopping… three runs.
    (FAIRNESS COUNT: all of his wins were legit.)

    - In 3 of his 8 losses, the Royals were shut out. One of those three shutouts was a 0-2 loss to the Rangers; Greinke pitched 7 innings, allowing 3 hits, one run, and striking out 10. Another of those shutouts was a 0-1 loss to the Angels; Greinke pitched 8 innings, allowing 4 hits, one run, and striking out 5. The run was a sac fly.
    (FAIRNESS COUNT: two of his losses shoulda been wins.)

    - Greinke also had 4 other starts where he pitched at least 7 innings and allowed 0 or 1 runs and ultimately did not factor in the decision. A 7 inning, 1 run, 7K start against Tampa in July (2-4 loss on a blown save by John Bale/Juan Cruz); seven innings of shutout ball (7K) against the Tigers a month later (0-1 loss on a Brandon Inge homer off Roman Colon); a start against the Angels in September where he went 8 innings with 8K and allowed an unearned run in the 8th on a Willie Bloomquist error (a 1-2 loss on a single-WP-walk-single off Yasuhiko Yabuta in the 11th); and a 7 inning, 1 run, 6K start a week later against the Indians (a 2-1 win where Miguel Olivo took our old pal Jose Veras deep in the 12th).
    (FAIRNESS COUNT: four of his NDs shoulda been wins.)

    Zack Greinke’s W/L record: 16-8
    Zack Greinke’s “shoulda-been” W/L record: 22-6

  11. Reggie C. says:

    Zach Greinke hits free agency when exactly??

  12. steve s says:

    Exactly what does Mo have to do to win a Cy Young? In a year when no starter wins 20 and the Cy Young winner only wins 16 a dominating relief performance should matter more than it apparently does.

    • In terms of value this year, Greinke > Mo. There’s no doubt about it.

      And by arguing wins, you are setting yourself up for a major takedown from people snarkier than I am and with more free time on their hands right now. So good luck with that.

      • Renny Baseball says:

        Just to mention one salient fact, but not with a lot of time on my hands for more: Greinke had a full 25 percent of his teams wins (16 of 64). If Sabathia were at that pace, his win total would have been 26.

      • steve s says:

        For all the snarky commentators please consider the following:

        1) Greinke’s win total was the lowest in history for a Cy Young award winner who wasn’t a relief pitcher and who didn’t win the award in a strike year.

        2) Relief pitchers have won the award 9 times.

        3) Other than strike years and relievers, a 20 game winner won the award 66 times and a non-20 game winner has won 16 times.

        4) Other than Steve Carlton, Greinke is the only winner from a last place team

        I still say, historically speaking now, Mo should have been given more consideration

        • 1) Greinke’s win total was the lowest in history for a Cy Young award winner who wasn’t a relief pitcher and who didn’t win the award in a strike year.

          This is a good development, not a bad one. It shows that the voters are beginning to move away from the flawed win-centric model of pitcher evaluation popular in the past.

          2) Relief pitchers have won the award 9 times.

          Most of those wins are very dubious in retrospect.

          3) Other than strike years and relievers, a 20 game winner won the award 66 times and a non-20 game winner has won 16 times.

          Again, I’m not sure where you’re going with this. Old baseball writers are, for the most part, dumb.

          4) Other than Steve Carlton, Greinke is the only winner from a last place team.

          See #1. This is a good thing. Frankly, more last-place pitchers should be winning the award. For both the MVP and Cy Young, it specifically tells voters on the ballot not to eliminate a player just because he’s on a bad team.

          I still say, historically speaking now, Mo should have been given more consideration

          I still say, historically speaking, the histories of these awards are full of errors we should not be duplicating.

          • steve s says:

            Without changing one statistic other than wins, what is the minimum amount of wins that CC would have needed to win to have, in your opinion, deserved the Cy Young over Greinke? In fairness there has to be a tipping point where even the flawed simplistic win statistic has an impact.

            • Hmmm… without changing any other stat?

              Greinke still has an ERA of 2.16 in 229.1 innings, and CC still has an ERA of 3.37 in 230 IP, and all we’re changing is the wins and losses of the two pitchers?

              If that’s the case, CC would need to be like 25-5 (or better) and Greinke would need to be like 15-15 (or worse) in order for me to be so swayed by the flawed statistic of wins and losses to make it make me overlook the far more critical stats like ERA/tRA/FIP.

              If Greinke goes 16-15 and CC goes 24-6, I still give the Cy Young to Greinke on the strength of that 2.16 ERA. That’s far more impressive than the wins and losses.

              • steve s says:

                Appreciate the response. It would be fascinating if this kind of fact pattern actually happens one day but my sense is that the 24-6 CC would still be elected by the dumb writers fairly easily.

    • Exactly what does Mo have to do to win a Cy Young?

      Simple: Be a starting pitcher.

      If it makes you feel any better, Mo’s got the Rolaids Relief Man Award on lock-dizzown.

    • Jordan says:

      Who needs a Cy Young when you have 5 rings and a plaque waiting to be polished for Cooperstown in just about 10 years from now?

    • Relievers should never win the CY.

    • Ed says:

      While Mo had a good year, he’s had better years. And Greinke had an unbelievable year. “Only” 16 wins is probably the only bad thing you can say about it, which doesn’t mean much.

      If you wanted to argue for Mo over Colon in ’05, I’d agree with you on that. That was one of Mo’s best seasons, if not his best, and Colon’s year wasn’t amazing. But since Mo didn’t win that year, I doubt he ever will.

  13. Pete says:

    It’s really a bizarre thing to read a bunch of posts that absolutely thrilled that the ace of their favorite team *didn’t* win.

    FWIW, I agree with the decision, although a point *could* be made about facing the weaker teams. He did pitch well against LAA and Boston, but then again it was in September when both teams were winding down a bit.

    It’s neither here nor there. I’m sure he’d rather have a ring. ;-)

  14. Rick B says:

    I think it should have gone to Felix

    • pete says:

      felix was the standout number two this year. This year was one of the better high-end pitching years i can remember in the AL (sick in the NL too, come to think of it). But the award (for once) went to the person who most deserved it.
      2009′s best AL Pitchers:
      1. Greinke
      2. Felix
      3. Halladay
      4. Sabathia
      5. Verlander

      • Bo says:

        Agreed. Felix was better. The Al Central is terrible.

      • Rick B says:

        I agree except I’d flip Felix and Greinke. If you (a voter) is going to look past Greinke’s lack of wins because of the bad team he played for, you should also look at his ERA in the context of the bad teams he played. That being said Greinke had an amazing year worthy of the award.

  15. Rey22 says:

    After this victory, my faith in voters is at 0.

    …Which is actually improvement, since it was in the negatives before. Well deserved by Greinke.

  16. pete says:

    i’m still getting over the fact that this guy:
    didn’t win a gold glove

    • pete says:

      ps does anyone remember this play?

    • Rick B says:

      Ironically, that looks pretty similar to the patented play of the guy who actually did win the gold glove. Fielding % still gets a lot of consideration when voters make their gold glove choice. A lot of people think its a useless stat but I tend to disagree. We can never know for sure whether a shortstop shouldve gotten to a ball or if another guy wouldve gotten to it because there are a ton of variables. However, fielding percentage tells us a lot about what a guy does on the balls he did get to.

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