Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece for Insider based on the Ace Barometer, which is a quick-and-dirty tool I came up with that attempted to use statistics to determine what constitutes a true ace.
The piece received some healthy criticism in the comments section because CC Sabathia didn't fit the criteria. Whether or not he was motivated by what I wrote (and I'm guessing he wasn't), Sabathia has been pitching as if he's out to prove me wrong, going 9-3 with a 2.62 ERA and 118 strikeouts -- to go with only 21 walks -- since that piece was published in late June.
Simply put: The hefty lefty is having his best season since 2008, when he posted a 1.65 ERA in 17 second-half starts for the Milwaukee Brewers. Today, ESPN.com turns its focus to the 2011 awards with a Cover It Live discussion. And although most of the baseball world has pretty much anointed Justin Verlander as the 2011 American League Cy Young winner, Sabathia's case is a lot stronger than most people realize.