The Seattle ace earned the AL Cy Young Award on Thursday despite a modest 13-12 record. His major league-leading 2.27 ERA and superior stats put him far ahead of Tampa Bay's David Price and the Yankees' CC Sabathia and their impressive win-loss numbers.
Victimized by the Mariners' poor hitting all season, Hernandez found ample backing with the voters. They clearly recognized how little the last-place Mariners helped him -- in 10 starts, they were either shut out and held to one run.
"This confirms the Cy Young is an award not only for the pitcher with the most wins, but the most dominant," Hernandez said while celebrating with relatives at the family home in Valencia, Venezuela.
Hernandez got 21 of the 28 first-place votes and 167 points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The 24-year-old right-hander led the league in innings (249 2/3), was second in strikeouts (232) and held AL opponents to the lowest batting average (.212).
Price, who went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA, was second with four first-place votes and 111 points. Sabathia, who was 21-7 with a 3.18 ERA, drew the other three first-place votes and finished third at 102.
The 13 wins by Hernandez marked the fewest for a Cy Young starter in a full season -- Tim Lincecum set the record last year with 15 victories for San Francisco.
Fernando Valenzuela won the NL award in strike-shortened 1981 after going 13-7. His mark of six games over .500 had been the lowest for any Cy starter until Hernandez.