The Baseball Writers Association of America’s Cy Young Award winner for the American League was announced Thursday, and the winner was Cleveland’s Cliff Lee. According to the Associated Press, Lee “was a heavy favorite to win…the only question seemed to be whether the vote was unanimous.” It wasn’t. Lee received 24 of 28 first place votes, meaning that four voters didn’t vote for Lee for the Cy Young.
I was one of the four who didn’t. It was far from a clear-cut choice, from my point of view. Lee is obviously deserving of the award, and I have no problem with him winning it. He had a remarkable season, going 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA. He was second on my ballot. But Halladay’s complete game numbers blew me away.
In this day and age, to have nine complete games deserves some kind of its own award. That meant his manager didn’t have to go to the bullpen for nine games this past season. That is extremely valuable to me, as well as his 246 innings pitched that led the American League. He also led the league in strikeouts with 206, and led the majors with a 1.05 number for walks and hits to innings pitched. His 20-11 record and his 2.78 ERA were both behind Lee, but Halladay’s Blue Jays had to face the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and now the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays 18 times each during the season. And when Halladay went out there, he was usually facing the other team’s best pitcher. I have no problem with my vote. Halladay was a Cy Young winner this year.
For Nationals fans who may not be aware of this, Lee used to be a prospect in this organization when it was the Montreal Expos. He was drafted by the Expos in the fourth round of the 2000 draft. Lee was traded in June 2002 to the Indians, along with Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Lee Stevens for Bartolo Colon and Tim Drew. You could make the case that the deal set this franchise back for years to come.
I will be on The Sports Reporters on ESPN 980 AM on Monday, Nov. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m.
To learn more about Thom Loverro, go to www.thomloverro.com