Zack Greinke capped a memorable 2009 Tuesday, winning the Cy Young Award, presented annually by the Baseball Writers of America.
Greinke led the Major Leagues with a sterling 2.16 ERA, despite pitching in front of one of the worst defenses in the American League. In August, there seemed to be doubt as to Greinke's viability as a candidate, but a strong finish by the Royal Ace solidified his support. After falling to 11-8 thanks to pitching for the worst team in the league, Greinke went 6-2 over his final eight starts, posting a 1.29 ERA in the process. Greinke led the American League in WHIP.
Greinke's win is especially sweet for Royals fans, who have wholeheartedly embraced Greinke as one of their own. Amidst the wreckage of a lost baseball decade in Kansas City, Greinke, both on the field, and with his down-to-earth nature and sometimes surrealist wit, has been a treasure.
Greinke did not allow a run until his fifth start of the season and gained additional notoriety thanks to a Sports Illustrated cover story detailing his struggles with anxiety off the field and his return to baseball (which actually happened two to three years ago, depending on how you look at it).
Greinke is the first Royal to win the award since David Cone did so in 1994. Brett Saberhagen won the Cy Young twice, claiming the prize in 1985 and 1989. Greinke received 25 of 28 votes.
The Award was strongly pushed by the Royals, who made no secret of their belief that Greinke was the best pitcher in the American League.
|2009 - Zack Greinke||16-8||33||33||6||3||0||0||229.1||195||64||55||11||51||242||2.16||1.07|
And the advanced stats:
- WAR: 9.4 (1st in AL)
- FIP: 2.33 (1st in AL)
- WPA: 6.07 (1st in AL)
- PRC: 168 (1st in AL)
- RA: 2.51 (1st in AL)
- xFIP: 3.36 (3rd in AL)
- ERA+: 205 (1st in AL)