M's pitcher Felix Hernandez named American League's best

Nov 18, 2010

The Mariners' Felix Hernandez has won his first Cy Young Award.  He was recognized Thursday as the American League’s best pitcher for the 2010 season.  Sports commentator Art Thiel talked with KPLU’s Kirsten Kendrick about Felix’s honor in this week’s installment of Sports with Art Thiel. 

Hernandez was a runner-up for the award last year, finishing second in the voting behind the Kansas City Royals’ Zack Greinke.  But 2010 was his year – although you wouldn’t know it by looking at the Mariners’ record.  Felix won the Cy Young Award with the fewest wins – just 13.  KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel credits new tools for determining the best pitcher in each league.  He says sports writers, who determine the Cy Young, are now looking at a pitcher’s total contribution – not just games won:

“It’s really big for Felix – it’s a breakthrough.  He is the American League’s finest pitcher.  I think many of us who watched him were a little biased, but we certainly felt that was the case.”

Art said in a recent commentary that Hernandez deserved the award, despite his low win total. 

Hernandez told the seattlepi.com from his home in Venezuela:

“It’s a very emotional day for me.  I’m very proud that I was able to accomplish this not only for myself, but for my family, my country and my team.”

Among American League starters, Hernandez ranked first in earned run average (ERA), innings pitched, strikeouts, quality starts, and opponents’ batting average.  He was tied for first in starts and third in complete games.   

Hernandez edged the New York Yankees' CC Sabathia and the Tampa Bay Rays' David Price for the award.  While it’s his first Cy Young, it’s the second for the Mariners organization.  Randy Johnson won it in 1995.