We can further narrow the field using the following metrics:
- fWAR, which uses FIP to calculate Wins Above Replacement for pitchers,thus making it defense independent
- RA9-Wins, which is just like the standard WAR for pitchers, except it uses runs allowed per nine innings (RA/9) as its basis rather than a modified version of FIP.
Corey Kluber leads AL pitchers in fWar, with Hernandez close behind. As for RA9-WAR, Hernandez has a healthy lead on all the top contenders.
But this isn’t all about advanced metrics. We can also look at wins, losses, ERA and innings pitched.
Included above are the Fielding Independent Pitching numbers for each pitcher. Hernandez has a FIP of 2.59, which is what his ERA would look like over his innings pitched if he were to have experienced league average results on balls in play and league average timing. Kluber and Sale are slightly better, but only Sale is significant enough to warrant pause. The same is true once we adjust for park effects and the league.
Hernandez has pitched more innings than Sale, and has been more valuable than any pitcher aside from Kluber, who has more losses, a higher ERA and slightly worse command of the strike zone. Once you take into consideration the entire body of work, it is clear King Felix is this year’s AL Cy Young Award winner.