Several contenders were in action on Wednesday night, September 9. Roy Halladay of the Blue Jays threw his 7th complete game of the season, taking over the AL lead from Zack Greinke, but he lost 4-1 to the Twins. All four runs were earned, pushing his ERA from 2.98 up to 3.03. Although not a factor in my formula, there may be a psychological impact on voters if an ERA is below 3.00. The 9 innings also push Halladay ahead of CC Sabathia and Felix Hernandez into the AL lead in innings pitched with 208 (although that will change when CC and Felix next take the hill this weekend).

Justin Verlander was the other top contender in action. He also lost, this time to the putrid Royals, but only surrendered 1 earned run in 6 innings and racked up 8 strikeouts to pad his league-leading strikeout total. It was not the most efficient performance though as Verlander’s pitch count was 112 in only 6 innings, which explains why he was pulled after 6 innings only trailing 1-0.

Two more of the minor contenders were also in action. Jered Weaver of the Angels posted his 15th win by beating the Mariners, while Scott Feldman of the Rangers posted his 16th win, tying Sabathia and Verlander for the league lead (in fact, Feldman only has 4 losses so he gets the nod ahead of Sabathia’s 7 losses and Verlander’s 8 losses).

At this point in the season only the top 5 contenders have any reasonable shot. Actually, it might be a good idea to cut these lists down to the top 5 over the final weeks of the season. The standings through Sept 9:

  1. Roy Halladay, Blue Jays 146 points
  2. Justin Verlander, Tigers 140 points
  3. Zack Greinke, Royals 139 points
  4. Felix Hernandez, Mariners 130 points
  5. CC Sabathia, Yankees 124 points
  6. Scott Feldman, Rangers 71 points
  7. Jered Weaver, Angels 69 points
  8. Josh Beckett, Red Sox 62 points
  9. Edwin Jackson, Tigers 49 points
  10. Jon Lester, Red Sox 49 points

I must admit this is the first time since I started these rankings several weeks ago that I think they’re off. I believe Zack Greinke is still the clear favourite and the only way he won’t win is if he fails to win another game the rest of the season (which is certainly possible given the horrific Royals offense supporting him) and someone else (probably Halladay or Verlander) is dominant in their final few starts.

I should also clarify these rankings are not meant as an objective measurement of performance, but rather as a tool to predict how the baseball writers will vote. I’m well aware there are far better statistics to measure pitching performance and that common metrics like wins are actually not very informative. But I’m trying to get into the mind of the baseball writer, where wins are still clearly a factor.

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