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Award Watch: NL Cy Young

August 10, 2012
  1. R.A. Dickey (Previous rank: 1) – Dickey’s cooled off since his stretch of over 40 innings of no-run ball in May and June, compiling a 5.13 July ERA. But in his last three starts he’s went 23 innings, allowing only three runs while striking out 27 and walking only six. He’s lowered his ERA from 2.97 to 2.72 in that time, which ranks him fourth in NL ERA. He’s first in the NL in wins, strikeouts, WHIP and complete games, and he’s second in innings.
  2. Jordan Zimmermann (Previous rank: not ranked) – Zimmermann doesn’t get as much hype as his teammate Stephen Strasburg, but he’s been just as good if not better. Up to his five-inning, four-earned run start August 4th, Zimmermann had thrown at least six innings in every start. He followed that August 4th start – his worst of the year – with six shutout innings with 11 strikeouts, three hits and no walks. He’s only allowed more than three earned runs in three of his 23 starts, and he leads the NL in quality starts, with 20. Since the calendar turned to June Zimmermann has a 2.00 ERA, which is second among all major league starters in that time period. Zimmermann’s the only NL pitcher to rank in the top five in ERA and WHIP.
  3. Madison Bumgarner (Previous rank: NR) – Bumgarner has really solidified himself as a true ace this season. He’s sixth in the NL in innings and strikeouts, 10th in ERA, but fourth in WHIP. His K-rate is just about the same as last year, but after an early season dip in strikeouts he’s brought that number up to 10.03 strikeouts per nine since May 21, which ranks third in the NL behind Stephen Strasburg and Dickey. Bumgarner’s also cut his walks down this year, from 2.02 per nine last year to 1.80 this year, a number which ranks sixth among NL starters; his K/BB of 4.65 is fourth.
  4. Matt Cain (Previous rank: 3) – Cain’s been about just as good as his teammate Bumgarner, matching him in WHIP and besting his ERA by .07. Since being great before the all-star break he’s slipped a bit after, putting up a 4.50 ERA post-all-star game.
  5. Stephen Strasburg (Previous rank: 2) – Strasburg would be ranked at least third if he was allowed to go more than six innings in a start. But a major key to being the top pitcher in your respective league is to be an innings-eater and go deep into games. And Strasburg, by no fault of his own, doesn’t do that. He’s only gone past six innings in five of his 22 starts, and he has six starts of less than six innings. His K-rate of 11.31 per nine is historic and is 1.5 batters per nine higher than the next highest NL pitcher.
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