Who wins the NL Cy Young?

9/11/13 in MLB   |   jvardaman   |   3 respect

This season has seen a lot of regular Cy Young award candidates-- Matt Cain, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, to name a few-- have uncharacteristically poor years, while some guys you would never expect-- Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Patrick Corbin and Hyun-Jin Ryu, among others-- are creeping into the conversation. All of the confusion of who is actually good and who is just having a breakout year makes the question of who deserves the NL Cy Young a bit more complicated. Added to that, some guys have all of the intangibles to be named the best pitcher of the National League, but don't have the wins to back it up or don't play on a playoff-bound team. So, who do you name the Cy Young this year?

Aug 22, 2013; Miami, FL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) throws a pitch during the eighth inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY SportsThe most obvious (if any of them are really that obvious) choice would have to be Clayton Kershaw. The guy has been a horse this year, already pitching 216 innings, which leads the MLB by 2.1 innings. Along with that, he leads the MLB in WHIP, leads the NL in strikeouts and sports a mind shattering 1.92 ERA, only allowing 46 earned runs to date. However, he only has 14 wins to show for his impressive statistics, a number that looks a little low when compared to his eight losses.

Kershaw's teammate, Zack Greinke, has been almost as filthy this year and is another quality choice to win the Cy. He has only thrown 154.2 innings, thanks to missing some starts in the middle of the year due to injuries, but he has a sub-three ERA at 2.79, and he has only lost three games compared to the 14 wins he has tallied. Those two numbers alone make him a viable choice for the Cy Young, and, like his teammate Kershaw, he plays for a team that is headed to the playoffs and quite possibly farther.

A surprise to the list that I couldn't seem to keep off is that of Francisco Liriano. The Pirates new ace has been the steal of the year, and has fought off injuries and been one of the best pitchers in the NL. He, like the two already mentioned on the list, has a sub-three ERA at 2.92 to go along with two complete games. However, when Liriano has not been good, he has been bad. His 16 wins put him in a tie for second in the NL behind 17-game winner Jordan Zimmerman, but he also has seven losses to go with them. He has only started 23 games this season, which, if you do the math, means when he hasn't been good enough to get the win, he gets saddled with the loss every time. His inconsistencies make his resume look a little worse, but he is undoubtedly in the conversation with a few weeks left in the season.

Aug 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Adam Wainwright (50) points over to third baseman Matt Carpenter (not pictured) during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Busch Stadium. St. Louis defeated Atlanta 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY SportsThe last man on my list, Adam Wainwright, makes another case for pitchers being as good, if not better, than before having Tommy John Surgery. This season Wainwright has been a workhorse for the St. Louis Cardinals, amassing 213.2 innings pitched in 30 starts. He holds the league lead in complete games with five, two ahead of second-place Kershaw, and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Although he hasn't kept the record-breaking pace he was at early in the year, his K/BB is still at a very respectable 6.29, well ahead of Matt Harvey, who is done for the year. His 16 wins are good for a tie for second in the league, and if it weren't for two terrible starts to end August, his ERA would be sub-three like the others on the list. As it stands now, he bolsters a 3.03, still one of the tops in the league.

These are just four of the many pitchers who have pitched their way into the conversation for NL Cy Young this year. The award could go to about ten guys without arguments from many people, so voters will have their hands full when the season comes to an end. The last few weeks of the regular season will provide more insight into who will be the most deserving for the Cy, and yet again the MLB has the top reality show on TV in its hands. Stay tuned!
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9/12/13   |   jvardaman   |   3 respect

Pat wrote:
Kershaw is the choice, hands down. But Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez should be 2nd and 3rd.

Matt Harvey at 2nd with only 26 starts? I don't know about that one. Fernandez definitely should get some consideration though, even though Miami should be considered a triple-A team.

9/12/13   |   Pat   |   5232 respect

Kershaw is the choice, hands down. But Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez should be 2nd and 3rd.