Felix Hernandez Robbed Of AL Cy Young Award


Felix Hernandez was not a lock to win the AL Cy Young Award. He was a favorite, to be sure, but by no means a sure thing. This wasn’t a Clayton Kershaw situation, where all that really stood to be determined was his margin of victory. That much may not have been obvious before, but it certainly is now.

The 2014 AL Cy Young Award winner is Corey Kluber. Felix finished second, earning thirteen first-place votes to Kluber’s seventeen. And thus the King finished second, not first, in voting for an award he was absolutely favored to win.

It’s a blow in that Felix absolutely deserved the Cy. The argument for Kluber isn’t weak by any means: he finished with more strikeouts, which matters, and ended the season on an absolute tear. He had a significant WAR advantage, for what it’s worth. He pitched in front of a worse defense, and to a less talented catcher. The argument for Kluber is clear. It’s just that this is still a blow.

Only a few years ago the BBWAA was a lot more predictable. Felix had this locked up, you’d think, because of his 30-point ERA advantage. Kluber’s 31-point FIP advantage was bound to be ignored, you’d have thought. But now we’re forced to ask: have the tides turned entirely? Did Kluber’s edge in certain non-traditional statistics put him over the top?

As much as it feels right to say Felix was “robbed,” maybe that’s not fair to Kluber. With each hour that passes since the voting was announced, the decision rests a little easier. Kluber had all those strikeouts, and they were practically tied in innings pitched. He had the Indians defense. His ERA couldn’t be helped, really, given extenuating circumstances.

But Felix got robbed because he had the momentum early and didn’t appear to lose it as the season went on. Kluber finished lava hot, but Felix didn’t exactly snail his way to the finish line. It was the best September of Felix’s career, coming at the tail end of the best season of Felix’s career. He led the league in everything for so, so long. Yet somehow it wasn’t enough. That’s why this feels like a robbery, not because Kluber was in any way undeserving.

So there you have it: Felix Hernandez, 2014 AL Cy Young runner-up. It’s not going to make a huge difference in how we remember the King when it’s all said and done, but it is a bit of a bummer. Felix, of course, says that he now plans to “prepare harder,” adding that “next year is going to be a great year for the Seattle Mariners.” Sounds like a plan.