|Are these three the AL Cy Young frontrunners? (Getty Images)|
We continue our look this week at the races for individual awards, and this time up it's the American League Cy Young race. In this one, three established, frontline aces lead a race that's anything but decided.
Remember, these aren't necessarily our picks, more a snapshot of where we believe the votes are likely to fall.
1. Jered Weaver, Angels
Yes, Weaver has the sparkling record, the no-hitter and the majors-leading 2.22 ERA. Those are the reasons he's in front at the moment. Justin Verlander has been the better pitcher this season, but Weaver has the numbers that figure to appeal to voters. With that said, Weaver is obviously having an excellent year.
ALSO IN THE MIX
2. David Price, Rays
Per Baseball Prospectus, Price's average opposing hitter this season has an OPS of .770, which means he's faced some of the toughest lineups of any AL pitcher. That's no surprise considering he toils in the AL East. Throw in his 15 wins and top 10 rankings in innings and strikeouts and third-best ERA in the AL, and it's easy to see why Price will be high on many ballots.
3. Justin Verlander, Tigers
The reigning AL Cy Young winner and AL MVP is authoring another outstanding season. Win-loss record is a silly way to evaluate pitchers, but Weaver's record right now gives him the edge over the more deserving Verlander. Verlander's big edges in innings, K/BB ratio and strikeouts mean he's had the better 2012.
4. Chris Sale, White Sox
The 23-year-old lefty's first season as a starter is exceeding anyone's hopes. He leads the AL in K/BB ratio, and he's third in the league in WHIP and strikeouts. Old-line voters will also be drawn to Sale's 14-3 record. The White Sox say they won't pump the brakes on young Sale down the stretch, and that should help his Cy resume.
5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Is any pitcher hotter than King Felix? He has a 1.71 ERA in the second half, and he just recently ended a stretch of six straight quality starts. Hernandez is also flashing the best control of his career, and his strong winning percentage (despite pitching for the last-place M's) won't hurt him with voters.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT
6. Jake Peavy, White Sox
It's been a nifty renaissance for the 2007 NL Cy Young winner. Despite a long history of health concerns, Peavy's on pace for a career-high 230.2 innings pitched. He also ranks in the top 10 in the AL for ERA, strikeouts, games started, K/BB ratio, and WHIP.
7. Matt Harrison, Rangers
Harrison's ERA of 3.31 becomes even more impressive when you consider that his home park is in Arlington. On a park-adjusted basis, Harrison ranks eighth in the AL in ERA. He's likely to wind up with the most wins on what should be the AL's best team, and that will earn him traction with voters.
8. Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
The underrated Kuroda has been the fulcrum in the Yankee rotation this season: 150.0 IP, 3.24 ERA, 3.22 K/BB ratio. In a season that's seen much upheaval among Yankee starting pitchers, Kuroda has been the steady presence for the team that paces the brutal AL East.
9. C.J. Wilson, Angels
Wilson has slipped significantly in the second half, but the overall numbers remain strong. He's a notable name on a contending team.
10. Scott Diamond, Twins
Consistency? Diamond's ERA has never been higher than 3.16 this season. He won't have the innings to contend seriously for the award, but some down-ballot support is both likely and deserved.