Felix one of three finalists for AL Cy Young
Felix Hernandez, coming off the best season in his 10-year career, was named one of three finalists for the 2014 American League Cy Young Award on Tuesday, joined by Corey Kluber of the Indians and Chris Sale of the White Sox.
Hernandez is the lone Mariners representative as a finalist for the four major Baseball Writers’ Association of America Awards for MVP, Cy Young, Manager of the Year or Rookie of the Year. Those honors will be presented next week on MLB Network broadcasts, with the Cy Young presentation set for Wednesday, Nov. 12, from 3-4 p.m. PT.
Hernandez won the 2010 AL Cy Young and has a chance now to become the first two-time winner in Mariners history. Randy Johnson earned the honor in 1995, the only other Seattle pitcher ever selected.
“To be a finalist for the Cy Young Award is great,” Hernandez said. “That’s what we work for every year, to be one of the best. This recognition is a testament to the hard work that I put in during the offseason and it is great to be mentioned as one of the best pitchers in the American League.”
Hernandez was selected Monday as the AL’s Outstanding Pitcher in the Players Choice Awards, which are voted on by fellow players. The Cy Young is decided by members of the BBWAA, with two writers from each of the AL’s 15 cities voting at the end of the regular season.
The Mariners ace went 15-6 with an AL-leading 2.14 ERA and career-best 248 strikeouts in 236 innings over 34 starts. He also led the league in WHIP at 0.915 and set a Major League record with 16 consecutive midseason starts of seven or more innings with two or less runs allowed.
Hernandez’s ERA was the fourth-lowest by an AL pitcher in a season of 230 or more innings since the designated hitter was introduced in 1973 and his WHIP was the lowest by an AL pitcher since Petro Martinez’s 0.737 in 2000.
Hernandez, 28, notched his sixth straight season with 200-plus strikeouts and innings, tied for the third-longest streak in MLB history behind the nine of Tom Seaver (1968-76) and seven of Roger Clemens (1987-92) and Walter Johnson (1910-16).
Kluber and Sale had strong seasons as well. Sale finished second behind Hernandez in ERA at 2.17, while Kluber was third at 2.44. Sale was also second to Hernandez in WHIP at 0.97, with Kluber sixth in the league at 1.09.
Sale missed some time to injury early in the season with the White Sox, but finished 12-4 in 174 innings over 26 starts with 208 strikeouts.
Kluber was 18-9 for the Indians and led the AL with 269 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings over 34 starts.
Opposing batters put up a .200/.243/.303 line against Hernandez, compared to .205/.262/.305 against Sale and .233/.279/.345 vs. Kluber.
Despite Seattle’s 16-win improvement to 87-75, Mariners first-year skipper Lloyd McClendon was not one of the three finalists for the AL Manager of the Year. That award will go to either Mike Scioscia of the Angels, Buck Showalter of the Orioles or Ned Yost of the Royals. Though postseason results aren’t a factor since votes were taken at the end of the regular season, all three finalists did get their teams into the postseason.
AL Rookie of the Year finalists are White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Yankees reliever Dellin Betances and Angels starter Matt Shoemaker.
The AL MVP finalists are Angels outfielder Mike Trout, Indians outfielder Michael Brantley and Tigers designated hitter Victor Martinez.