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Award Watch: NL Cy Young

June 23, 2012
  1. R.A. Dickey – I don’t think enough’s being made of Dickey’s current stretch. Despite ranking first in ERA, WHIP and wins among NL starters, Dickey’s also second (!) in strikeouts, just seven behind Stephen Strasburg’s league-leading 110. Dickey hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 42.2 innings, dating back to the seventh inning of his May 22 start against Pittsburgh. And in his last 68.2 innings, since the beginning of May, he’s only allowed seven earned runs for a 0.92 ERA, to go along with 75 strikeouts and only 11 walks. Dickey’s been very good the past two years, but so far in 2012 he’s jumped to elite status and has been the best pitcher in baseball.
  2. Stephen Strasburg – Stras’ has been everything advertised and more, pretty much like the Cheesy Gordita Crunch. Despite only pitching 84 innings, which is 35th most among NL starters, Strasburg leads the league in strikeouts, with 110, good for a K/9 of 11.79, which is over a full K/9 better than the next best NL pitcher, his teammate Gio Gonzalez. The best K/9 rate of the past five years in the NL belongs to Zack Greinke and his 10.54 last year. So Strasburg is doing something that hasn’t been seen in years, with the only pitcher coming close to Strasburg’s mark in the last 10 years being Randy Johnson in 2002 at 11.56. Strasburg’s K and BB numbers are a bit “worse” than his 68-inning rookie season so there’s a definite chance he could even improve his performance throughout the rest of the year if the Nationals don’t shut him down.
  3. Matt Cain – Cain has been arguably just as dominant as the two men above him in these rankings. Just look at his 14-strikeout perfect game; or his April 13 start where he went the distance, giving up only one hit and striking out 11; or his start five days later against Philadelphia in which he got a no decision but pitched nine scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and one walk.
  4. Gio Gonzalez – The move to the NL has paid off for the young lefty. His K/9 has gone up from 7.67 and 8.78, respectively, from his two 200-inning seasons in the AL to a 10.74 this year. His walk rate has also gotten better, dropping from 4.13 and 4.05 in ’10 and ’11, respectively to a career-best 3.61 this year. He’s also only allowed one home run this year, in 84.2 innings, after allowing 15 and 17, respectively, in the past two years.
  5. Zack Greinke – It’s another one of those weird years for Greinke, whose peripheral numbers (K/9, BB/9, FIP) all say he should have better stats than he really does. But even without much “luck” he’s still put up some pretty good numbers. He still hasn’t lost a game in Milwaukee as a Brewer, going 4-0 this year with a 1.08 ERA at home. But his road numbers are as bad as his home numbers are good. He’s got a 4.14 ERA away from Wisconsin, and his K rate is 13 percent lower on the road than at home. Greinke can obviously pitch away from Milwaukee, as evidenced by his Cy Young season as a Royal in ’09, but this is now his second straight year of far worse numbers on the road than at home. For the Brewers to have any shot at contending this year he’ll need to better his road numbers.

From → MLB

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