View Full Version : Royals Greinke + Cy Young = Inevitable

11-17-2009, 10:49 AM
Written in September (so #'s are a bit dated), but the facts still ring true!


Ladies and Gentlemen, Your 2009 Cy Young Award Winner, Zack Greinke by Jordan Bratt Jordan BrattContributor, Featured Columnist
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Contributor Written on September 22, 2009 (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) By now, every angle of the American League Cy Young Award race has been examined.

The general consensus is that old-school baseball voters covet wins too much and new-school writers are attempting to usher in the new sabermetric age in respect to player evaluation.

Old schoolers will have you believe that C.C. Sebathia's 18 wins in the AL East or Justin Verlander's 16 wins in the midst of a pennant race qualify them more than Greinke.

However, besides Greinke, only Felix Hernandez has an ERA below 3.00, and the Royals' ace is rapidly approaching 2.00.

In his worst two-month stint of the season, June and July, Zack Greinke went 2-5 despite an ERA of 3.14, 65 K, and 16 BB.

(If Greinke's highest two-month ERA total of 3.14 was actually his ERA for the year, he would still rank 20th in all of baseball—just below Johan Santana's 3.13.)

Besides, what does offensive production and game outcome have to do with pitching?


Zack dominated despite the Royals' offensive ineptness.

Greinke's line going into Tuesday's start against the Red Sox looked quite impressive:

14-8 record/2.14 ERA/224 strikeouts/44 walks/1.06 WHIP

Then, all he did was go out there—against the mighty AL East that Sabathia and Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett get all the props in the world for facing—and throw six innings of two-hit shutout ball.

It just doesn't matter to Greinke:

He's facing a good team, he's facing a bad team.

His offense scores runs, his offense doesn't score runs.

He's on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he's on the cover of the Kansas City Star.

All he does is go out and pitch. He appears to be a man on a mission.

No matter if his successes are to be chalked up to his newfound maturity or an accurate prescription, Greinke is this year's Cy Young Award winner. His team or division should not cost him this praise when he was by far the most dominant pitcher in the American League this season.

The division argument wasn't brought up in 2004 or 2006 when Johan Santana won the Cy Young Award with Minnesota.

Or in 2007 when C.C. won his last Cy Young Award in Cleveland.

Or when Cliff Lee won it a year later in Cleveland.

In the eyes of the voters, the stench from the Royals just may be enough to tarnish the phenomenal season this incredible young pitcher is having.

For the AL Cy Young Award winner to come out of the AL Central for four straight seasons—and five out of six—seems crazy, but so are Greinke's numbers.

11-17-2009, 10:52 AM
Jack Harry has been giving a day-by-day countdown to Zach being awarded the Cy Young. Which all but assures that when it is announced... :shake:

11-17-2009, 11:00 AM
I havent seen him as much as some Royals die hards....but the kid is crazy good from what I have seen.That sucka is gonna hit the contract lotto if he keeps it up. Prolly bad news for KC which kinda sux...
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11-17-2009, 11:05 AM
From mlb.com today: http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090928&content_id=7204388&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

A baseball season is like a garden, with stories blooming all over. But 2009 had no better, more inspiring or jaw-dropping story than the slim, blond right-hander who, four years after being the American League's biggest loser, should be crowned as its best pitcher.

So get ready for the Zack Attack.

Perhaps you don't recall 2005, when Zack Greinke, a skittish recent top Draft choice thrust into Kansas City's rotation at 21, wobbled his way to a 5-17 record.

And we say "should be crowned" because Greinke is deserving, yet one can never be sure of the blinding effect of wins on Cy Young Award voters.

Call it the Bartolo Colon Syndrome: In 2005, the Angels' Colon received the Cy Young Award because his 21 wins were three more than anyone else had, and the heck with his underwhelming other numbers (such as a 3.48 ERA).

So can the voters now shield their eyes from a trio of 19-game winners with their own legitimate arguments?

CC Sabathia refused to lose down the stretch with the eventual World Series champion Yankees, Justin Verlander piled up the strikeouts, and Felix Hernandez had a royal ERA.

And what about a couple of other guys acing it for playoff-bound teams, Boston's Josh Beckett and Los Angeles' Jered Weaver?

Next to all that, what's a 16-game winner from a last-place team in the Midwest?

Here's our take on all this: Wins are totally out of a pitcher's control. Without supporting offense early and relief late, he is toast.

What do we mean? Giants right-hander Matt Cain -- for a random example -- twice got no-decisions despite hurling shutout ball. How can you do better than that? Five other times, he allowed one run and didn't win.

Greinke also fired blanks twice without getting the win, and twice lost for allowing one run. Overall, in nine no-decision starts in which he averaged seven innings, he had an ERA of 2.35 -- in itself low enough to lead the league.

The only thing over which a pitcher has full control is the number of baserunners he allows, his so-called WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched).

WHIP it, WHIP it good (with thanks to Devo): Greinke was low-man in the AL at 1.07, which was almost 24 percent below the average for the DH league.

But that's just a sample. The Greinke camp can crunch a whole bunch of impressive numbers out there, all of which add up to one compelling point:

Could you make a convincing argument on behalf of any other AL pitcher without mentioning wins?

Didn't think so.

11-17-2009, 11:23 AM
Even Seattle - who owns the best argument against Greinke (King Felix) - admits Zack should win it:

From the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thehotstoneleague/2010286729_felix_vs_greinke_cy_young_day.html

Felix vs. Greinke: Cy Young day of reckoning

Posted by Larry Stone

We'll find out who wins the American League Cy Young Award today (Tuesday) at about 11 a.m., Pacific time.

As much as I admire what Felix Hernandez did this year -- and it was spectacular -- here's why I expect it will be Zack Greinke getting the call today. With all due respect to Justin Verlander, CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera, I think the race boils down to those two.

In the column, I include some comments that I solicited from members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, the organization that does the voting on the four major postseason awards -- rookie of the year, manager of the year, Cy Young and MVP (two in each league city per award). Some, but not all, of the people quoted are Cy Young voters this year. For the record, I had an MVP vote.

There were some comments that got trimmed from the column, and some I didn't have room to run at all, so I'm going to include them here in their entirety, so you can get a feel for what BBWAA members are thinking (hint: They're thinking Greinke). But first, here's a quote from Greinke himself out of the Kansas City Star on the final weekend of the season. Bob Dutton of the KC Star asked Greinke to evaluate Felix and C.C. Sabathia:

"They're both awesome. Felix, I think he just figured out how hard it is to hit him. So he just attacks the zone a lot. He's so nasty -- and his defense is real good -- it's just not a fair challenge for the hitters. He's just really good, and he pumps strikes. When I watch him pitch, it looks like he throws every pitch all game long like I do when I'm reaching back with a two-strike pitch with people in scoring position. That's how good his stuff is. He can throw it over the middle where in those situations I need to hit my spots. That's how good his stuff is.

"I think C.C. is me but left-handed. Our fastballs are about the same. Our sliders are about the same. His changeup is probably a little better, but my curveball is probably a little better. We're pretty much the same exact pitcher. We're just different sides of the plate."

Good stuff. Anyway, here are the writers' comments, starting with Jeff Passan of Yahoo! (got to get that exclamation point in there!), who is based in Kansas City and has seen much of Greinke:

"It really is a shame that Felix Hernandez's most brilliant season yet came in 2009. Had it been 2008, he would've overshadowed Cliff Lee, and in 2007, he would've outshone CC Sabathia, and you can go all the way back to Pedro Martinez's 2000 season to find one of comparable dominance in the American League.

Of course, Hernandez wasn't the best pitcher in the AL this year. That honor goes to Zack Greinke. This isn't about geographic bias or anything of the sort. A simple look at the numbers shows that Greinke was superior, which in no fashion takes away from Hernandez's tremendous year. It just means he doesn't deserve Cy Young hardware.

In Hernandez's defense, he did finish the season with more victories and innings pitched than Greinke. The former is rather insignificant, as Greinke played on the worst team in the AL, and while the latter is big, the difference was fewer than 10 innings, one start, really. Greinke's earned-run average was more than a quarter of a point better, he had more strikeouts, fewer walks, hits and home runs allowed -- and did so playing for a woebegone Royals team that would crush anyone's morale. Now, that's not the reason to vote for Greinke, but it factors in secondarily, just as Hernandez's helping rescue the Mariners from the AL doldrums does.

I remember a few years back seeing Felix in spring training and thinking: If this guy doesn't start taking care of himself, he's going to blow up into the next Bartolo Colon. The next spring, I didn't recognize him. He looked remarkable, and ever since, he has been the pitcher everyone pegged the next great when he arrived at 19. The Colon comparison was more for his girth than the Cy Young he won. Hernandez isn't getting fat again anytime soon. He will win a Cy Young, though. Just not this year."

Here is another KC-based writer, Joe Posnanski, like Passan formerly of the Kansas City Star, now with Sports Illustrated (no exclamation point):

"I think Zack Greinke and Felix Hernandez were the two best pitchers in the American League. I think Greinke was just a touch better. He had a better ERA, more complete games and shutouts, walked fewer, struck out more, gave up fewer homers and had a better WHIP. The Mariners were also a significantly better defensive team than the Royals, which I think played a little bit of a role.

Hernandez did have more wins and the better winning percentage. I don't put a lot of stock in wins, but it's an advantage for King Felix. He has others. I think Greinke's advantages are more telling.

i'd take either one of them. But I think Greinke was the best pitcher in the league and (as everybody knows) he's my Cy Young guy."

Bob Nightengale, USA Today:

"I definitely think that Greinke will win the Cy Young award, perhaps quite easily. He was in the drivers' seat all of the way, and never had a hiccup along the way to permit Hernandez or Sabathia or anyone else to slip past him. Simply, he was on top, and he never permitted anyone to knock him off."

Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune:

"I don't have a vote. If I did, I would have had it Greinke 1, Felix 2. Greinke, in my opinion, answered questions about him by winning three of his last four starts to get to 16 wins. It's not a lot but it's the level where other guys have won. Hernandez was more consistent but Greinke's run of unbelievable excellence in the first half set him up where the second-half falloff didn't kill his terrific numbers. Nothing wrong with what Felix did but like Pujols in 2001, he just picked a bad year to have a great year because someone else was even greater -- and so far no PEDs questions with Zach!"

John Shea, San Francisco Chronicle:

"It's all about Grienke, who did the most with less than any other candidate. Playing on a lousy team, he was undefeated in April and September with zero-something ERAs in both months, and he was special most every start in between. Of his 33 starts, 28 were quality starts. Furthermore, every candidate but Grienke played for a winner, and that includes Hernandez. The Royals' offense and defense were awful. Greinke wasn't as dominant as Steve Carlton the year Carlton won 27 of the Phillies' 59 games, but the 2009 season made people talk about Greinke and Carlton in the same breath, and that's enough off a reason Grienke deserves the Cy Young Award."

Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star:

"If I did have a ballot, I would have put Greinke first, followed by Hernandez and Sabathia. I'm sure there's some bias in that since I covered all but one (I think) of Greinke's starts, but he was the best pitcher I've seen since Pedro Martinez in the early 2000s.

That said, Hernandez was phenomenal. Even Greinke says the guy is unlike anyone else in the league. Looking back at recent Cy winners, I think I'd still vote last season for Cliff Lee over this year's Felix but, boy, I think I'd take Hernandez over every other AL winner going back to Pedro in 2000."

Tracy Ringolsby, Inside The Rockies.com, Colorado (formerly Rocky Mountain News):

"Zack Greinke, Kansas City. He led AL in ERA, and, yes, he won "only" 16 games, but he had nine games in which he allowed two or fewer runs and didn't get a win -- six no-decisions and three losses."

11-17-2009, 11:24 AM
I'm just so used to BS in baseball I half expect them to give it to CC Sabathia.

11-17-2009, 12:09 PM
I'm just so used to BS in baseball I half expect them to give it to CC Sabathia.

sad but true.

11-17-2009, 12:32 PM
I'm just so used to BS in baseball I half expect them to give it to CC Sabathia.

It will be Hernandez or Greinke

11-17-2009, 12:35 PM
I'm absolutely confident that Greinke will win. There is not a single cogent argument out there for anyone else.

11-17-2009, 12:46 PM
I'm absolutely confident that Greinke will win. There is not a single cogent argument out there for anyone else.

I think he should win, but even though wins by a pitcher is incredibly over rated as a stat, there are enough writers that still look at it as a primary indicator to make me confident Greinke will win.

11-17-2009, 12:49 PM
Zack deserves to go play for the Cardinals.

11-17-2009, 12:52 PM
Enjoy him while he's here, I guess.

11-17-2009, 01:01 PM
I'm just so used to BS in baseball I half expect them to give it to CC Sabathia.

This is my thinking as well. I have no doubt that Zack was the best for the entire season, but this award has traditionally been based on wins. I would not be shocked if Hernandez was the selection. Disappointed and angry, but not shocked.

11-17-2009, 01:02 PM
ESPNNews coverage is acting like there are no other contenders than Zack. Which is true, actually.

11-17-2009, 01:04 PM
He wins.

11-17-2009, 01:04 PM
It's official: Zack Greinke is the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.

11-17-2009, 01:04 PM

There is a God!

11-17-2009, 01:05 PM
It's official: Zack Greinke is the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.


11-17-2009, 01:05 PM
All right Zack! Hell yeah.
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11-17-2009, 01:12 PM
25 out of 28 first place votes.

11-17-2009, 02:01 PM
He didn't just win...he dominated the vote. I guess baseball writers hate it when their intelligence is questioned.

11-17-2009, 02:02 PM
Greinke domination!!! best pitcher in baseball!

11-17-2009, 02:36 PM
It's official: Zack Greinke is the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner.