Oakland Athletics Award Watch: Four Threats to Sonny Gray In Cy Young Race

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Aug 8, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting and winning pitcher David Price (14) pitches in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 6-0. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Trade Piece: David Price

David Price’s 2.35 ERA falls just behind Gray and fellow Astro Scott Kazmir, and his fifth-place 1.07 WHIP is nearly as impressive as Gray’s. While he has far more punchouts that the A’s ace, Price still ranks a distant fourth in strikeouts, trailing Kluber’s 186 with just 156 of his own.

Price has also pitched almost exactly the same amount of innings as Gray – 161 compared to Grays’ 161.2 – and they’ve both had three complete games. Might Price be the real competition for Gray?

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Like Kluber and Hernandez, Price already has a Cy Young of his own. He acquired his in 2012 as a Tampa Bay Ray, when he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 211 innings, amassing 205 strikeouts along the way. While Price isn’t having that kind of season, he is having an especially good year, and Gray may have to worry about the new Blue Jays’ ace swooping in and stealing his spotlight.

Price does have a few shortcomings. He’s 11-4 right now, and while his losses are low enough to perhaps convince voters to look the other way about his low win total, he’s going to have to pick up a few more victories by the end of the season.

In the same way Hernandez is a threat because voters have shown a propensity to ignore advanced metrics and focus on more traditional measures of greatness, it seems possible that Price could slip ahead of Gray due to his role with the Jays. While Gray is on a losing club, Price is considered the piece that could help push the Blue Jays into the playoffs. Even though postseason performance does not count towards awards voting, voters may give special consideration towards the contributions of Price in relation to the Blue Jays’ successful season.

Of course, if the Blue Jays somehow falter and miss the playoffs, Price’s chances become slimmer. Then everything comes down to…

Next: Cy Young Candidate: The Newcomer