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Wednesday November 18, 2009 11:41 pm

AL Cy Young Award winner - Zack Greinke




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, Editorial, MLB,

Zack GreinkeThe American League Cy Young Award winner was announced recently, and while an untraditional, yet unsurprising decision, Zack Greinke took home the hardware to cap off what has been an incredible season, taking home 25 out of 28 first-place votes. Greinke just completed his sixth big-league season – all with the Kansas City Royals – but made a name for himself in 2009. To go along with his Cy Young, he also made the AL All-Star Squad as more than just a pity-pick, led the league in ERA, and was also the players’ choice for Pitcher of the Year. Greinke topped the list, followed by the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, Detroit Tigers’ Justin Verlander, and New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia.

The myth goes that once a player signs a large contract and secures some financial stability, he’ll go into cruise control until his next contract year. Greinke signed a 4-year, $38 million contract with the Royals in January, and was not expected to do too much. But he did. Greinke finished the season with a 16-8 record, a 2.16 ERA, and 242 strikeouts in 229.1 innings. His new career 50-53 record and 3.73 ERA are not too impressive, but the 26-year-old righty is clearly proving that he’s only getting better. The next challenge is to improve on being the best.

It’s good to see that wins wasn’t the top category considered in the voting, with Greinke’s 16 not as comparable to the other three each having 19. Between the four top vote-getters, Greinke still led in a number of important categories including walks, home runs allowed, hits allowed, earned runs, complete games, and shutouts. Most impressive was his ERA lead. Greinke posted a 2.16 ERA throughout the season, thanks in large part to his not allowing an earned run until his fifth start, and keeping his ERA under 1.00 until May 31. He also didn’t have a losing record in a month until July, despite Kansas City’s 33-43 record by June 30.

Greinke and the Royals have now broken the Cleveland Indians’ two-year mini-streak of sporting a Cy Young winner – CC Sabathia in 2007 and Cliff Lee in 2008. Both of whom were traded away the following midseason. Kansas City is another struggling team that appears to have found a “diamond in the rough,” and doing the same with their ace pitcher might be a way to get some good, young prospects to strengthen the system. However, that doesn’t always work, as Cleveland’s two attempts at selling high have still left them sharing the basement in the AL Central with Greinke and his Royals.

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