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Players Snub Felix Hernandez, Name David Price AL Outstanding Pitcher

The MLB players chose David Price as the American League’s outstanding pitcher today, picking the Rays ace over Felix Hernandez and New York’s CC Sabathia. As it says, the Player’s Choice Award, is voted on by MLB players, perhaps giving it more levity since these guys have to face their choices in games throughout the season. Outside of wins, Hernandez had better statistics than price, so why didn’t Hernandez take home the award? Lookout Landing’s Jeff Sullivan has a theory.

One’s assumption, then, would be that the players favored Price on account of his inflated win total (ignoring Sabathia entirely because come on). But then, that doesn’t really make sense, as wins are something journalists look to when they talk about awards. Players can call on their own experiences standing in against a guy. So I don’t think it’s the wins. And then one notices that Rajai Davis batted .333 against Felix this year, while he batted .167 against Price. I’m pretty sure the Players Choice voting for AL Outstanding Pitcher was done by Rajai Davis.

Does this mean Felix is doomed and stands no chance of winning the 2010 AL Cy Young? Sullivan doesn’t think so, though the Players Choice AL Outstanding Pitcher has won the Cy Young every year dating back to 1994.

Let’s call 1998 a match anyway, despite the tie. Of the eight discrepancies, seven have occurred in the National League. The last time an AL Outstanding Pitcher didn’t end up winning the AL Cy Young was 1994, when Jimmy Key won one, and David Cone won the other.

That seems like a discouraging trend. I wouldn’t get too down about it, though. The players and the writers who vote on these awards take completely different approaches, and the latter don’t depend on the former. They end up with similar results because it usually isn’t too hard to figure out a league’s best pitcher. 2010 presents a unique challenge. The players said what the players said, but the writers considered the numbers. Many of them listened to the various arguments. Felix seemed to have strong support despite everything, and my gut feeling is that he’s very probably going to win.

Here’s to hoping Felix bucks the trend and brings home some hardware next month.