Joe Smith's AL Cy Young ballot 1. David Price, Rays 2. Justin Verlander, Tigers 3. Fernando Rodney, Rays 4. Jered Weaver, Angels 5. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
The decision to pick Rays left-hander David Price the American League Cy Young winner was, for me, an easy one. Price led the league in ERA (2.56) and won 20 games for an offensively challenged club while pitching in arguably the toughest division in baseball (going 10-2 with a 2.51 ERA against the AL East). And Price was the most consistent of the other starting candidates (AL-best two earned runs or fewer in 23 starts). Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander, the 2011 Cy Young and MVP, was worthy as well, leading the league in strikeouts (239) and innings (238?). You could also make a case for Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, a 20-game winner with the AL's best WHIP (1.02), but he pitched just 188? innings due to injury. The toughest part was where to put Rays closer Fernando Rodney on my ballot. Nine relievers have won a Cy Young (four in the AL), and Rodney had arguably the best season of them all, including a record 0.60 ERA. Putting him third ahead of Weaver wasn't due to anything the Angels ace lacked; I believed Rodney's historic year merited special consideration.