mariners

Hisashi and Felix are on the Cy Young track for the M’s

Terrifying 1-2

Given out to the best pitcher’s in the American and National League every year, the Cy Young award is one of the, if not the, greatest individual award a pitcher can earn. Past winners include greats such as Gaylord Perry, Catfish Hunter, Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux, Tom Seaver, and Sandy Koufax. 

The Seattle Mariners even have a pair of winners in team history, with Randy Johnson taking home the award in 1995 and Felix Hernandez taking home the award in 2010. 

Flashing forward to the present, the Mariners have two pitchers who look as though they will be front-runners for the award come the end of the season: Hisashi Iwakuma and Felix Hernandez

The deadly 1-2 punch at the top of Seattle’s rotation, both have been nearly flawless all year long and have baffled hitter after hitter. Quickly becoming a dangerous duo that no team wants to face, these two standouts will be two of the favorites to take home the 2013 AL Cy Young.

Let’s break them down.

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez 1500 K's

The King has been dominant yet again in 2013. (Photo: mlbblogs.com)

As mentioned previously, The King has already taken home a Cy Young Award in 2010. That year he went 13-12 with a 2.27 ERA and 232 striketous. He had six complete games, one shutout, and gave up just 63 earned runs over the course of 249.2 innings.

Hernandez also boasted a WAR (wins above replacement) of 6.8 and a WHIP of 1.06, both outstanding numbers.

This year, Felix looks as though he will put up nearly identical, if not better, numbers when compared to hi 2010 campaign. Making 14 starts so far this year, King Felix has compiled a 7-4 record with a 2.49 ERA. He has pitched 97.2 innings, recorded 102 strikeouts, and has a WAR of 3.2.

Interestingly enough, however, is the fact that Hernandez has not yet thrown a complete game.

While he does have around 20 starts left in his arm this year, he will have to make up some ground in the complete game category if he wants to match his season-best of six in 2010.

Of interesting note, however, is that he threw five complete games and five shutouts in 2012, evidencing that throwing a ton of complete games does not automatically give you the Cy Young.

When looking at Felix’s numbers on the year, it’s clear that he is on track to contend for the Cy Young. He gets better as the months go on and it looks like he has some of his best stuff in recent memory. His win-loss record will likely improve, too, as the Mariners are actually hitting the ball in 2013.

Hisashi Iwakuma

As good as Felix has been this year, Iwakuma has been better. Some calling him the Greg Maddux of Japanese pitchers, the second-year pitcher currently boasts a 7-1 record with a 1.79 ERA in fourteen games. With an arsenal of outstanding pitches to baffle hitters, he has quickly ascended the pitching ranks in the American League and is one of its two best.

Iwakuma currently ranks second in ERA and first in WHIP with a 0.82 in the category. His 14 walks on the year are evidence of his steady command, while his 87 strikeouts show that he can be deadly precise with his location.

If he continues on the track he is on, he will likely be either taking home the Cy Young Award or be the runner-up in the voting.

The Competition

As good as both Felix and Hisashi have been–one could even say they comprise two of the top three pitchers in the American League, one starter has been better.

Clay Buchholz is currently doing ungodly things with the Boston Red Sox, as he boasts a 9-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in twelve starts. The front-runner for the Cy Young Award, if Buchholz continues pitching as dominantly as he has this year, he may end up having one of the best pitching seasons in MLB history. 

Interestingly enough, however, when comparing Buchholz and Iwakuma, it does need to be evidenced that Buchholz has pitched 11 innings less than Iwakuma while surrendering just three earned runs less, walking 15 more, and striking out 6 less.

Other than Buchholz, Anibal Sanchez, Chris Sale, and Yu Darvish all look like Cy Young Candidates. 

With over half the season left to play, anything can really happen in baseball. But as the season does progress, make sure to keep your eye on how Felix and Iwakuma stack up to the rest of their competition, as the Mariners could very well be having a clubhouse duel for the Cy Young come the end of the year.

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About Chris Anderson

NWSB Editor. Chris hails from Eugene, Oregon; home of the Fighting Ducks. If he is not viewing, writing about, or attending sporting events, Chris is running on the trails Eugene offers or out-and-about. Aspirations to exceed expectations. Connect w/ Chris today!
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