Am I missing something? Justin Verlander is arguably the best pitcher in baseball, while Felix Hernandez is right there with him. So why is Verlander a near unanimous choice for the American League Cy Young in the eyes of Sabermetricians, while Felix's name is barely mentioned. fWar has the two pitchers 0.7 wins apart, which is virtually nothing. Baseball Reference has them three fwins apart. Why is this though?
By all accounts, according to Fangraphs (my preferred choice when it comes to modern baseball statisitics) has the two pitchers virtually indecipherable.
Verlander struck out 0.38 batters more per nine than Felix.
Felix walked .10 fewer batters.
The King gave up slightly fewer homers per nine, had a slightly lower FIP and a slightly lower xFIP.
Hernandez had a Batting average on balls in play that was 35 percentage points higher and both pitchers stranded about the same amount of base runners.
The main difference between the two pitchers was Verlander's ERA was nearly a half of fun lower than Hernandez's. But with that being said, Hernandez played in a division that featured Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, etc. And even though Hernandez faced competition that was only five points higher in OPS, he still none the less, faced better competition.
I don't care if Justin Verlander would have won the Cy Young, the race was very close, and it could have gone to a few different pitchers. But why is Felix continually overlooked in seasons in which he doesn't sport a .500 record? Why is it so hard to give him his due when he actually wins more games than he loses (something voters for some reason care about).
Felix Hernandez is one of the greatest pitcher anyone will ever see. Appreciate him for once.