Hernandez's 2.14 ERA and 0.92 WHIP were not only the best marks of his career, but led the AL as well. He also posted career bests in strikeouts (248) and ground-ball rate (56.2 pct.). In recognition of his dominance, he was selected to start the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. It was his fifth overall appearance in the Summer Classic.
In any other year, Hernandez would be an odds-on favorite to win AL Outstanding pitcher honors, but 2014 wasn't any other year, as both Corey Kluber and Chris Sale made strong cases of their own.
After flashing breakout potential in 2013, Kluber fulfilled that potential this year. In addition to a 2.44 ERA, Kluber tied for the league lead with 18 wins and finished second in strikeouts (behind only David Price) with 269.
Sale has proven to be one of the AL's bright young talents over the last few years. Between 2012 and 2013, Sale put up a 28-22 record with a 3.06 ERA while striking out over a batter per inning. And if 2014 is any indication, he may have just been scratching the surface.
Despite missing a month to injury, Sale still posted a 12-4 record over 26 starts. He led the league in strikeouts per nine innings (10.76) and finished a close second in both ERA (2.17) and WHIP (0.97). He also made his third All-Star appearance in just three full seasons in the Majors.
The winner of the AL Outstanding Pitcher award will be unveiled on Monday, Nov. 3, when the Players Choice Awards show is televised at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network.
Click HERE for the complete list of 2014 Players Choice Awards finalists.
The Players Choice Awards on MLB Network, presented by PlayStation, makers of the popular MLB The Show video game franchise, benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the charitable foundation created and run by the players themselves.
The 2014 Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000 from the Major League Baseball Players Trust. Since 1992, the Players Trust has contributed more than $3.5 million to charities around the world on behalf of Players Choice Awards winners. For additional information, please visit playerstrust.org.
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