The AL Cy Young Race (On 9.10.13)

Because Felix Hernandez and Yu Darvish have both slightly slipped in the their recent starts, I’m narrowing the AL Cy Young field down to Max Scherzer, the presumed front runner, and the pitcher who beat him last night Chris Sale.

But wait, there’s more!

A friend and former producer of mine, Nick Roddy, astutely mentioned Scherzer may not even be the best Cy candidate in his own rotation. 

Why not Anibal Sanchez he says? Great question. 

Let’s compare the race that may come down to the very last start of the year (though Sale > Scherzer last night will loom large with voters), with stats that I deem most important. Since we’re excluding wins, I’m tossing out run support, which is a huge chunk of the pie that helps achieve a win for a pitcher. 

Sorry, but…WAR

Sale 7.1 (27 starts)

Scherzer 5.5 (29)

Saanchez 5.2 (25)

WHIP

Scherzer .96

Sale 1.04

Sanchez 1.14

K/9

Scherzer 9.96

Sanchez 9.55

Sale 9.52

K/BB

Sale 5.05

Scherzer 4.48

Sanchez 3.65

xFIP – explained here

Sale 2.95

Sanchez 3.03

Scherzer 3.14

Innings Per Start 

Sale 7.25

Scherzer 6.7

Sanchez 6.33

ERA+ (ERA adjusted for ballparks)

Sanchez 160

Sale 150

Scherzer 139

Now, let’s allocate points. Three for first and so on…

Sale 17

Scherzer 14

Sanchez 10

Conclusions.

As steady as Sale has been on all season, Scherzer has to steady things after allowing 11 earned runs in his last 17 innings, while trying to help the Tigers maintain a 4.5 game lead over the Indians. 

Sale’s been sensational, and may be just by a small margin a better hurler this year, I’ll entertain the argument that he hasn’t had the stress of needing to deliver for a playoff caliber team since the second week of April. However, that shouldn’t detract from just how dominant he’s been in 2013. 

Anibal Sanchez needs a ‘wow’ start to make up ground and get closer to penetrating the Scherzer vs. Sale debate.

Predicting the final starts for each to determine the winner? I think it’s going to be Sale. 

Oh boy, if you wanna take this a step further, calculate the strength of schedule for each pitcher. You can do that, I’m all math’ed out for today.

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