National League Cy Young Award Nominations
- Updated: October 8, 2008
Bill’s Excellent Analysis
This has to be one of the hardest awards to pick this season as no one has really distinguished themselves from the field. The fact that a player who was traded to the league halfway through the season is in the discussion speaks volumes on how close this race is. Even so there has to be a winner…
1. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
Not what you were expecting is it? He hasn’t had to pitch in many tense situations this year, but as a bad team helped Lee get the award in the American League, the Giants’ lack of hitting helps Lincecum. If you are a doubter, consider that Lincecum ranks first in the NL in strikeouts with 252, first in winning percentage at .773, second in wins with 17, second in ERA at 2.66, third in innings pitched with 220 and fifth in complete games. No one else comes close to having that many top five finishes in major pitching categories. There is do doubt that if he would have had more offense, he would have at least 20 wins.
2. Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks
Webb will not be adding to his 2006 award even though he had 22 wins this season partly because his team just tanked at the end of the year and even more so because of his 3.24 ERA. He also only had 176 strikeouts, which is tenth in the league.
3. Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati Reds
Yet another player on a lowly team, but he is here for a reason, mainly because of his statistics. Volquez is in the top five in wins with 17, winning percentage at .739, strikeouts with 206 and is in the top ten in ERA at 3.21. His stats don’t blow you out of the water like Lincecum’s, but they are impressive and the Reds should be happy to have him, especially at the price they do.
4. Ryan Demptser, Chicago Cubs
If you were looking for a pitcher from a winning team, now you have one. Dempster is also tied for second in the league with 17 wins and his 2.99 ERA isn’t shabby either. He had a lot of support all season which is why he is third and he did walk a good number of batters (75).
5. Johan Santana, New York Mets
Santana proved it doesn’t matter what league he is in, he can still pitch the lights out. The two time Cy Young Award Winner misses it this year mainly because he only has 15 wins and ranks seventh with a .682 winning percentage. Other than that, he pitched a lot of innings (225.1 so far) and was first in ERA (2.64). He is also one of the main reasons the Mets stayed in playoff contention for so long.
6. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros
Oswalt was impressive yet again, just not enough to have serious consideration for the award. He is second in wins, third in complete games and eighth in innings pitched, but is 12th in ERA and 14th in strikeouts.
7. CC Sabathia, Milwaukee Brewers
Last year’s American League award winner has pitched so well in the National League that he actually made the list. Despite being in the league for only half of the season, he is first in complete games. He is also 10-2 with an amazing 1.78 ERA. If he would have done this all season in one league, he would have run away with the award.
8. Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers
The former ace of the Milwaukee staff didn’t have a bad year himself, ranking fourth in ERA and second in complete games. He is this low because he only has 13 wins and is 21st in strikeouts.
9. Jake Peavy, San Diego Padres
Some may say that he dropped off after winning the award in ’07, but his team had a lot to do with that. Peavy still ranked fourth in ERA and second in strikeouts, but was also sixth in losses and only 21st in strikeouts.
**Bill’s section was written before the day’s games on September 26th**
Again, I agree with Bill concerning the overall pick of Lincecum and that it was a lot closer that the AL. The fact that he won 17 games with the Giants behind him is an accomplishment in and of itself.
Dempster, after being in the bullpen in recent years, had a very nice return year to the rotation and his fewer losses put him just above Haren and Webb.
How Bill leaves Dan Haren off his list is a mystery to me, but he was a big part of the reason the D’Backs didn’t finish below second place. Just check out his numbers! In my opinion, he just edges out Webb for third place votes (see below for the reason why).
Although Webb had the most wins, his other stats just aren’t close enough to Lincecum to put him in first and is just edged out by Haren for third due to Haren beating him in strikeouts and walks.
Johan Santana just misses my list as his overall score, per these metrics just didn’t cut it and that probably in part due to his team’s lack of sustaining his leads.
Like Santana, on a better team, Volquez would be higher on my list because he’d have more than just 16 wins.
My last three starters Cook, Lilly and Oswalt are just as close together stat-wise as Dempster, Haren and Webb, but just don’t have the numbers to even come close to the top half of my list.
Both Sheets and Peavy, like Santana just missed my list as well. I had to cut it off at somewhere and they just didn’t cut it. Although, Peavy is another one of those pitchers who’s stats could have been better (more wins) if they weren’t on such awful teams.
Finally, I just can’t add CC Sabathia to a league’s ballot if he hasn’t at least played 60% of his games in that league. Now maybe that’s a bit harsh, but that’s my thinking about how this voting should be.