This is the second installment in the Early Cy Young
Candidates NL Series. For the
first installment, click here
The NL Cy Young race is shaping up to be extremly
close. All five of the contenders
here have a legitimate chance to win the award. They’re all great, but there’s no pitcher blowing away the
1) Danny Haren, RHP, D-backs
Dan Haren has cooled off a little bit in the second half,
but his peripherals are still amazing.
Haren’s 2.74 ERA ranks 6th in the league, his 167 strikeouts
are 4th in the NL, he’s tied for second in complete games, and his
0.93 WHIP leads the league. Haren
has been helped by a low .248 BABIP, but he’s managed to maintain his gaudy
numbers even with his BABIP rising.
Haren is not only a strikeout pitcher, but a control specialist, he
walks just 1.3 batter per 9
innings. That, and a 8.6
SO/9 rate, contribute to his
league-leading 6.42 SO/BB
rate. As I covered in the first
installment, Haren has superb peripherals, but his meaningless 12-8 record,
he’s receiving just 4.5 runs per game in support. Haren’s record over a full season projects to be 16-11, not
representative of his ability, and unfortunatly, Cy voters won’t care about the
2) Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants
Tiny Tim has set his eyes on back-to-back Cy Youngs. His numbers will appeal to any
voter. Lincecum is 12-3 this year,
not that it matters, and has a 2.37 ERA, good for 2nd place in the
NL, and a 1.04 WHIP, good for 3rd in the league. Lincecum is excellent in all other
categories too. Look at these
stats, 207 SO, 46 BB, 2.3 BB/9,
10.4 SO/9, 4.50 K/BB ratio. Oh
yeah, he also leads the league in complete games, and shutouts. Tim Lincecum dominated in 2008, he’s even better in 2009.
3) Matt Cain, RHP, Giants
In 2008, Lincecums’s teammate Matt Cain was arguably the
unluckiest pitcher in baseball.
His numbers were solid, but the Giants scored just 3.12 runs per game in
support of him. It’s safe to say
his luck has changed in 2009. Not
only has Cain upgraded hs performance, he’s 12-4, with a 2.43 ERA, and a 1.15 WHIP, he’s benefited from a low
.258 BABIP, and the Giants have scored a full run more in support of him. His peripherals aren’t amazing, but he
deserves to be considered along with his teammate.
4) Wandy Rodriguez, LHP, Astros
You can’t say Wandy Rodriguez came out of nowhere, because
this small-market late-bloomer always had talent. But you can say that he’s put it all together this
year. Rodriguez has stayed
healthy, and has been more durable than in previous years. He’s ramped up his strikeouts, and has
pulled down both his ERA, which is a sparkling 2.89, and his WHIP, which is a
servicable 1.25. Like Cain, Rodriguez,
doesn’t have great peripherals, but he’s a fringe candidate who deserves a
Carpenter, RHP, Cardinals
Chris Carpenter has returned to his 2005 form better than
anyone could of dreamed. Carpenter
is pitching even better than he did in ’05, with a 13-3 record, a 2.27 ERA,
tops in the league, a 0.97 WHIP, 2nd only to Haren, and incredible
durability, averaging a round 7 innings per start. Carpenter also only gives up 0.5 HR/9 innings, and walks
just 1.3 batters per 9. Carpenter
has gotten his job done this year and is a main reason why the Cardinals lead
the Cubs by 7 games in the central.
race will come down to Carpenter, Lincecum, and Haren.
Before I get to the main subject of today’s post, a few quick notes…
- Congratulations To Red Sox Pitcher Jon Lester For Taking A Perfect Game Into The 7th
Jon Lester is a success story to many. A miraculous recovery from cancer, pitching again, winning the last game of the 2007 World Series, and finally pitching a no-hitter in 2008. Lester’s story runs almost parallel with another player’s: Dave Dravecky. At the beginning off the 1988 season, Dravecky had a cancerous desmoid tumor removed from his pitching arm, along with half of the deltoid muscle, and freezing the humerus bone. On August 10, 1989, Dravecky made a remarkable return to the majors, pitching 8 innings, and giving up three runs. However tragedy struck in his next start, Dravecky’s humerus bone snapped while he was delivering a pitch, ending his career. Let’s hope that Lester’s career won’t mirror Dravecky’s that closely!
- Chad Tracy, Stephen Drew, Chris Young, and Eric Byrnes, You Should Be Ashamed
Diamondbacks pitcher Max Scherzer has a .667 OPS, horrible, right? What else would you expect from a pitcher? Four D-back starters, 1B Chad Tracy, SS Stephen Drew, CF Chris Young, and RF Eric Byrnes, have lower OPS’s than Scherzer! The D-backs offense should be ashamed.
es (257), Mets (286) and Cardinals (351) skipper becomes the first person in big league history to have to reached the milestone and also have at least 2,000 hits as a player.
Sorry, I didn’t have internet access yesterday, so no post. On to the NL’s top pitchers…
I consider Chad Billingsley a darkhorse candidate for the Cy Young, he will catch voters’ attentions with gaudy win totals, produced not by Billingsley, but by the Dodgers offense. Billingsley has received an average of almost 6 runs per game in support, he’s not a Dan Haren. Billingsley has a good 2.67 ERA, and a solid 1.19 WHIP, he also has a BABIP a sliver on the high side. Billingsley rarely gives up homeruns, but his glaring weakness, not illustrated by his WHIP, is walks, he walks 4 batters per 9 innings, he offsets this somewhat, by striking out a batter an inning.
Haren has the best peripherals, Billingsley has undeserved win totals, Santana has the “dominate” numbers that voters will look for.