Consideration For American League Cy Young Award Should Include Names Beyond Kluber And Sale

While the two pitchers featured in the article are certainly among the best in all of baseball, the ESPN column was premature in handing out the coveted award to one of the pair. The Cy Young candidacy is not limited to just Cory Kluber of the Indians and Chris Sale of the Red Sox.Minnesota ace Ervin Santana may have a legitimate claim for the prize, as he ranks among the top in nearly every major pitching category. Unlike Sale and Kluber, who have experienced arms behind the in their teams’ rotations, Santana has been surrounded by youngsters or journeyman hurlers. He has almost singlehandedly kept the Twins in the thick of the pennant race.In fact, Kluber does not even lead the Cleveland staff in victories, an honor that belongs to right hander Carlos Carrasco. Fellow starter Trevor Bauer’s thirteen wins are equal to the total of Kluber, a clear indication that his value to the Indians pales considerably to that of Santana and the Twins. It would be difficult to hand the Cy Young Award to a pitcher who did not even lead his own club in wins.Even though the Cleveland Indians have ten more overall victories than the Twins, Santana has managed to earn more wins than Kluber. The Minnesota ace is in fact second overall in the American League in victories, and he lead all of baseball in both shutouts and complete games.Another reason to give Santana at least as much consideration for the award is the number of innings. Santana has pitched 16 more innings than Kluber, an average of between two and three games, thereby saving wear and tear on the relief corps of the Twins.Entering the weekend, Santana’s win total equaled that of Sale, whose Red Sox are up by eight games on Minnesota in the victory column. Again, Boston overall has ten more wins than Minnesota, indicating that Santana has won a larger percentage of his team’s games than either Sale or Kluber. Those two have the support of deeper rotations, therefore have not been as pivotal for their teams than has Santana.Just one behind Sale in victories is fellow Red Sox hurler Drew Pomeranz, who has provided his team with just as much protection as Sale. Both left handers have also been aided by veteran right handers Rick Porcello and Doug Fister, making for a rotation that would flourish even without the acquisition of Sale last winter.There no doubt that any Cy Young Award conversation has to start with Cory Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox, two of the best starters in the American League. For ESPN to limit its consideration to just those two, however, seems a grievous injustice to a veteran All-Star who has almost single handedly kept the Twins in contention, the same team who just last year lost more games than any other club in all of baseball.