Zack Greinke of the Kansas City Royals was an overwhelming choice for the American League Cy Young Award despite posting a victory total that matched the lowest for any winner in either league among starting pitchers in a full season.
Pitching for a team that was next to last in the AL in average runs per game, Greinke compiled a 16-8 record with a 2.16 ERA. No AL starter had won the Cy Young Award without winning at least 18 games. Greinke fell two victories short and equaled the output of 2006 National League winner Brandon Webb, who was 16-8 that year for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Greinke, 26, who held opponents to one run or fewer in 18 of his 33 starts, was named first on 25 and second on the other three ballots cast by two writers in each league city for a total of 134 points, based on the 5-3-1 tabulation system. The right-hander’s league-best ERA was the lowest in the AL since 2000 Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez had a 1.74 ERA for the Boston Red Sox. Greinke also was second in complete games (6), shutouts (3), strikeouts (242) and opponents’ batting average (.230). He was the only pitcher named on all ballots.
Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (19-5, 2.49 ERA), received two first-place votes and finished second in the balloting with 80 points. The other first-place vote went to Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander (19-9, 3.92 ERA), who placed third overall. Hernandez and Verlander were tied for the AL lead in victories. Hernandez led the league in winning percentage (.792) and batting average against (.227) and Verlander in innings (240) and strikeouts (269).
It marks the fourth time a Royals pitcher has been honored. Greinke joins two-time winner Bret Saberhagen (1985, 1989) and David Cone (1994).
2009 AL Cy Young Award
|Zack Greinke, Kansas City Royals||25||3||134|
|Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners||2||23||1||80|
|Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers||1||9||14|
|CC Sabathia, New York Yankees||2||7||13|
|Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays||11||11|