Chris Sale has been the White Sox best pitcher this year. There isn’t a good argument against that. But can Chris Sale be the best pitcher in all of Major League Baseball and win the Cy Young? The answer is maybe, and I’ll tell you why.
Right now in the American League there are four or five guys that are considered to be in the race for the Cy Young. Those pitchers are Jered Weaver, Justin Verlander, David Price, and Chris Sale. All four of those guys have been great to this point in the year and deserve consideration for the award. So let’s take a look at each guy’s stats.
Weaver has the second best ERA of the group at 2.26. He is also 11-1 on the year with 77 strikeouts. He has a WHIP of 0.95. He also has a no-hitter under his belt which counts for nothing in Cy Young voting but is worth mentioning.
Justin Verlander had such a great year last year that this year it looks like he’s terrible. The reality is that he’s still one of the best, if not the best, pitcher in Major League Baseball right now. He is 10-5 this year with a 2.43 ERA. He is second in the league with 136 strikeouts. His WHIP is the best in the American League at 0.931. Being the winner last year and having such a good season last year is one reason that it will be difficult for any pitcher to “knock Verlander off the hill”.
David Price is the league leader in wins at 12, but is tied with Matt Harrison. He has a 2.64 ERA and 120 strikeouts. His WHIP isn’t nearly as impressive as the other candidates, but is still not terrible at 1.20.
Finally, we come to Chris Sale. Sale is 11-2 with a 2.11 ERA. His ERA is the best in the American League. He has an extremely good WHIP that contends with the other players at 0.98. He has a 102 strikeouts, but could have more if he wasn’t trying to pitch to contact to save his arm. He also leads the league in ERA+ at 203.
Right now all four of these players are in a good race to see who is the best. One pitcher leads in one thing, and another leads in another thing. Deciding who really is the best pitcher in the American League is tough. Lucky for you Bill James and Rob Neyer came up with a formula to predict Cy Young balloting.
The formula looks like this: Cy Young Points (CYP) = ((5*IP/9)-ER) + (SO/12) + (SV*2.5) + Shutouts + ((W*6)-(L*2)) + VB
Not exactly easy for the average fan to understand, but they basically put into play everything that the voters put into play when considering who deserves the Cy Young award. According to this formula, the guy with the highest amount of CYP (Cy Young Points) will probably be the winner. Right now Chris Sale leads all AL pitchers with 110.1 CYP. The top five looks like this:
- Chris Sale- 110.1
- Matt Harrison- 107.6
- Jered Weaver- 106.6
- Justin Verlander- 106.1
- David Price- 103.5
This formula isn’t always right, but it’s a good way to see who the top contenders for the Cy Young are at any point in the year. Right now Chris Sale is at the top of the list. He’s done great things so far this year and has a real reason to believe that he might win the award if he keeps up the pace he has set for himself. It won’t be won easily with Verlander and other great pitchers in his way, but it can be done. Chris Sale is having that good of a year, and it would be a great thing for the White Sox if Sale did win the award.