The votes counted, the announcement made – your 2009 American League Cy Young Award winner is Kansas City’s Zack Greinke.
Greinke received 25 first-place votes and three seconds for 134 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Seattle’s Felix Hernandez drew two firsts, 23 seconds and one third for 80 points.
By virtue of his 16-8 record, 2.16 earned run average, 229 innings and 242 strikeouts – all for a team that went 65-97 – Greinke was selected his league’s best pitcher.
Felix didn’t win but emerged a winner. At 23, he put together a season-long performance that for the first time in his career put him among the elite pitchers in the game.
Long on potential, Hernandez had made 104 starts before last season and gone 39-36. Always, there were flashes. As often, there were disappointments.
In 2009, Felix put together his first All-Star season, going 19-5 with a 2.49 ERA in a career-high 238 innings, striking out 217 batters.
Greinke was the Cy Young Award winner this season, and at 26 has a marvelous career ahead of him – especially once he escapes the Royals and plays for a winner.
Some will say the same of Hernandez, who had 10 no-decisions in 2009 – and posted an ERA of 2.15 in those 10 starts.
For all the great pitchers who had marvelous seasons in ’09 – from C.C. Sabathia to Justin Verlander to Roy Halladay – the Cy Young race came down to two pitchers.
Felix was one of those, and that’s special in its own right.