Athlon Sports' 2011 AL Cy Young

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Athlon editors cast their vote for the American League's best pitcher this season

<p> Athlon editors cast their vote for the American League's best pitcher this season</p>

With the World Series in the rear-view mirror and the hot stove just beginning to heat up, it's time to hand out some awards to this year's best performers on the diamond. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) started handing out theirs today by announcing the AL and NL Rookies of the Year. And while no Athlon editors are members of the BBWAA, here's how four of us — Charlie Miller, Braden Gall, Patrick Snow and Mark Ross — would have voted if we did have a ballot to cast.

AL Cy Young

Let's face it. This is the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander's award this season and it's not even close.  There's no doubt that Verlander is going to run away with the voting for the AL Cy Young. It's more a question of who finishes behind him and in what order, and how Verlander fares in the AL MVP voting.

Even with Verlander the undisputable, clear-cut winner, there were several other pitchers who had outstanding seasons on the mound, including Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett, Verlander's Detroit Tigers teammate closer Jose Valverde, the Los Angeles Angels' starting duo of Dan Haren and Jered Weaver, New York Yankees teammates Mariano Rivera and CC Sabathia, Tampa Bay Rays starter James Shields, Texas Rangers ace C.J. Wilson, and Toronto Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero.

Contenders' Stats:

Josh Beckett, SP, Boston Red Sox: 13-7, 2.89 ERA, 193 IP, 52 BB, 175 K, 1.03 WHIP, 30 GS

Dan Haren, SP, Los Angeles Angels: 16-10, 3.17 ERA, 238 1/3 IP, 33 BB, 192 K, 1.02 WHIP, 34 GS

Mariano Rivera, RP, New York Yankees: 1-2, 1.91 ERA, 44 SV, 61 1/3 IP, 8 BB, 60 K, 0.90 WHIP, 64 GP

Ricky Romero, SP, Toronto Blue Jays: 15-11, 2.92 ERA, 225 IP, 80 BB, 178 K, 1.14 WHIP, 32 GS

CC Sabathia, SP, New York Yankees: 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 237 1/3 IP, 61 BB, 230 K, 1.23 WHIP, 33 GS

James Shields, SP, Tampa Bay Rays: 16-12, 2.82 ERA, 249 1/3 IP, 65 BB, 225 K, 1.04 WHIP, 33 GS

Jose Valverde, RP, Detroit Tigers: 2-4, 2.24 ERA, 49 SV, 72 1/3 IP, 34 BB, 69 K, 1.19 WHIP, 75 GP

Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers: 24-5, 2.40 ERA, 251 IP, 57 BB, 250 K, 0.92 WHIP, 34 GS

Jered Weaver, SP, Los Angeles Angels: 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 235 2/3 IP, 56 BB, 198 K, 1.01 WHIP, 33 GS

C.J. Wilson, SP, Texas Rangers: 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 223 1/3 IP, 74 BB, 206 K, 1.19 WHIP, 34 GS

Athlon's Winner: Justin Verlander, SP, Detroit Tigers

Here's how the Athlon editors voted

Charlie Miller's ballot:

1. Justin Verlander
Verlander turned what was a hotly contested race two months ago into a runaway. It’s not so much his 24 wins that are impressive, but he logged more than 250 innings, had 250 strikeouts and allowed just 231 baserunners via hit or walk.
2. Jose Valverde
The Tigers’ closer is among the elite firemen in baseball now. He had a perfect 49-for-49 season in save chances.
3. Jered Weaver
It was tough pitching for one of the weakest offenses in the AL. The Angels plated four runs or less in 11 of his 33 starts. Six of Weaver’s seven no-decisions were one-run games; three wins, three losses.
4. James Shields
Shields was a badly needed workhorse for the Rays, logging 249.1 innings. His 16-12 record isn’t all that impressive, but the Rays won all five of his no-decisions, making them 21-12 in his starts. And his team provided just two runs or less 12 times.
5. CC Sabathia
The Yankees were 22-11 in his starts, but let’s face it, in 10 of those starts, the Yankees plated eight runs or more. He failed to complete the sixth inning just twice.
6. C.J. Wilson
7. Dan Haren
8. Josh Beckett
9. Mariano Rivera
10. Ricky Romero

Braden Gall's ballot:

1. Justin Verlander
Leads league in IP (251.0), wins (24), strikeouts (250), WHIP (0.92) and BAA (.192). Enough said.
2. Jered Weaver
CC-lite statistically, but doing it with much less support around him. Sick 2.41 ERA and 1.01 WHIP.
3. Jose Valverde
A perfect 49-of-49 in save opps for the Central Champs is no easy feat.
4. CC Sabathia
Second in the AL in wins with 19 and strikeouts with 230 and fourth in innings with 237.1.
5. James Shields
Pitched 249.1 innings with nasty ratio 2.82 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with astonishing 11 complete games.
6. C.J. Wilson
No. 1 workhorse for the best team in the American League.
7. Ricky Romero
Wildly underrated 2.92 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 15 wins in 225 IP in brutal AL East.
8. Dan Haren
Third in AL in innings (238.1) with 16 wins, 192 strikeouts and nast 1.02 WHIP.
9. Mariano Rivera
Second in the AL in saves (44) with 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and one pitch at age 41.
10. David Price
Tossed 224.1 innings with 218 strikeouts and a 1.14 WHIP for team that surged into playoffs.

Patrick Snow's ballot:

1. Justin Verlander
This one is about as easy as it gets. The Tigers’ ace led the American League in ERA (2.40), wins (24), innings pitched (251) and strikeouts (250). Verlander also had the only WHIP under one among AL starters at 0.92. He was absolutely dominant this season and was a catalyst in propelling Detroit to the AL Central crown and an ALDS victory over the Yankees. Verlander is a lock for the Cy and will also get heavy AL MVP consideration.
2. Jered Weaver
3. Jose Valverde
4. James Shields
5. Mariano Rivera
6. Dan Haren
7. CC Sabathia 
8. C.J. Wilson
9. Josh Beckett
10. Ricky Romero

Mark Ross' ballot:

1. Justin Verlander
Besides winning the pitching Triple Crown (wins, ERA, strikeouts) in the American League, Verlander led the majors in wins (24), innings pitched (251), strikeouts (250), WHIP (0.92) and opponents’ batting average (.192). Oh yeah, he also threw his second career no-hitter in May. Talk about dominant.
2. James Shields
Shields led the majors with 11 complete games and was second with four shutouts, which was tops in the AL.  He won 16 games and came up big time and time again down the stretch as the Rays chased down the Red Sox and won the Wild Card.
3. Jered Weaver
Finished just behind Verlander for the AL ERA title at 2.41, was third in wins (18) and second in WHIP (1.01). He started the season by winning his first six starts with a 0.99 ERA and went 8-1 in June and July with a 1.65 ERA.
4. Jose Valverde
A perfect 49-for-49 in save chances as he carried the load in the Tigers’ bullpen on their way to winning the AL Central.
5. CC Sabathia
Second in the AL in wins (19) and strikeouts (230), Sabathia also posted the lowest ERA (3.00) of his three-year Yankee tenure.
6. Dan Haren
7. C.J. Wilson
8. Josh Beckett
9. Ricky Romero
10. Mariano Rivera

Other Baseball awards-related content:

American League Rookie of the Year

National League Rookie of the Year

AL & NL Managers of the Year

National League Cy Young

American League MVP

National League MVP

Miscellaneous: 
MLB League: 

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