My fourth BBA Award is the Walter Johnson Award, which acknowledges the best pitcher in the league (AL for my voting). Read my earlier post to learn more about the BBA and its awards. Out of all the BBA Awards, this one was by far the easiest to chose. It was a simple order for the first 3 and I really didn’t have to think much at all in voting. Usually when it comes to Cy Young voting, the stats say it all. Here are the top 5 AL pitchers:
1.) Justin Verlander– With all the great AL pitchers this year, Verlander is still the no-brainer for the Cy Young Award. A season to remember, as Verlander has put up some of the best pitching numbers I’ve seen in years. Not only is he the pitching Triple Crown champ, but he also leads the league in IP. I don’t think I have to say more…
2.) Jered Weaver– Weaver, who is the obvious #2 for the Cy Young voting, trails Verlander in ERA by just .01. 2011 was another terrific season for Weaver, with a 18 W, a 2.41, and 198 K’s. With all the great seasons he’s had, this one is probably the best of his career.
3.) James Shields– Another pitcher with a breakout year, and this one much more surprising. Shields worked hard during the offseason, and it really paid dividends. After an underachieving 2010, Shields put himself at the top of the great Rays rotation. He posted the third-best ERA in the AL, and was a work-horse as well with his nearly 250 IP (2nd in AL). Although many people fail to realize this, Shields leads the MLB in a very important (and underrated) pitching stat. That stat is Complete Games, which Shields has a stunning 11 of. The closest pitcher to this amazing feat, is Roy Halladay with 8. The closest AL pitcher to Shields in CGs, is Felix Hernandez with 5! Even Justin Verlander has 4 CGs, which is incredibly 7 less than Shields! There’s definitely a reason why “Big Game” James is now nicknamed “Complete-Game” James. If it wasn’t for a few horrific starts against Oakland and Seattle, Shields would be the definite #2 right behind Verlander. Hopefully the Rays can keep this guy for next year, as he was the probably the team MVP in 2011.
4.) C.C. Sabathia– Although his good ERA of 3.00 was not amongst the best in the league, Sabathia was the ace of the Yankees. He racked up 19 wins in 33 starts and was also a work-horse, with his 230 strikeouts through 237.1 IP. Just another year of work for the big southpaw.
5.) Rickey Romero– The young ace of the developing Blue Jays staff, really lead the team along with Jose Bautista this year. His 2.92 ERA is ranked 6th in the AL, and his 15-11 record was great considering the low run-support.
If you are a member of the BBA and have posted your Walter Johnson Award (or any other award) votes, I’d really like to see what you think. Comment the link of your post below. I would also love to see anyone else’s opinions. You also can rate the post from 1-5 stars, evaluating my voting. If you’re a blogger interested and joining the BBA, click here.