NL Cy Young: So Good Its Kind of Boring
I don’t know if you are one of those people who sits around thinking of reasons why the National League is better than the American League, but if you are here is another one: pitching. The NL has the better pitchers by far. So picking a Cy Young winner is not going to be the easiest job in the world. I’d like to spend some time on each pitcher but there are just too many that are capable of giving Cy Young worthy performances so I’m going to have to just pick a couple. Its Friday so I am lacking in patience and motivation.
The pitching in the NL is so good that I might have to go by pitching staff. What can I say about the Phillies staff? This is definitely the best group of starters that has been put together in my lifetime. Roy,Clifton, Colbert, and Leroy (Seriously. Those are real.) have a combined thirteen all star games and three Cy Youngs. These guys all have the physical ability and combine that with the amount of wins the Phillies are expected to get and it might just be a toss up between the four of them. The problem with having so many good pitchers on one staff is that they may overshadow each other. The guy who wins the Cy Young is usually the obvious ace of a staff and this team doesn’t have an obvious one. In this case thats a good thing.
If you are talking about great pitching staffs I guess we need to mention the Giants, too. Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and now Bumgarner. This team just keeps pulling quality young pitchers out of their asses. While Sanchez and Bumgarner might not be there yet Cain and Lincecum sure are. Lincecum has already won a couple of Cy’s and Cain would be the ace of 75% of the other teams in baseball (99% of the AL teams). Coming off of a World Series win this season might be perceived as a let down if they fail to win it all again and that might hurt their chances in the eyes of the voters.
Anyone who follows the pitiful Royals, like I do, (Hey, I live in Nebraska. They are the closest thing I have to major leauge team. Back off.) knows how good Zach Greinke is. Although his numbers were down a bit last year he is still under 30 and is getting better. If the Brewers are as good as many of the talking heads think they will be this could be his chance to step into the limelight.
The Rockies’ Ubaldo Jimenez got off to a great start last year. If he had continued his pace he would have been a shoo in for the award. With another year of experience under his belt it is going to be interesting to see if he can become the guy that throws his best every night.
A healthy Chris Carpenter is always in the mix. He continues to be the most baffling case for me. Here is a guy who throws low 90’s and straight as an arrow. He’s got an ok curveball, an ok slider, an ok changeup. He’s got no stuff but he continues to win games. I don’t get it. Maybe its how intense he is. To me he just kind of looks like a dick. His biggest problem is that now that Wainwright is down LaRussa is going to need him to throw an extra 100 innings on top of his usual 250. Good luck Chris.
Whats nice about the Cy Young is that the voters seem to be more inclined to give the award to a player who doesn’t necessarily play on a great team. Felix Hernandez won it last year with only 13 wins for a god-awful Mariners club. If you looked past the lack of wins (which tends to be more a team stat than an individual stat) his numbers were off the charts. Greinke also won it in 2009 with the hapless Royals.
This year a player in that mold that could be in the Cy Young Discussion is Josh Johnson of the Marlins. The Marlins are not going to be a factor in any race but Johnson can be so dominant when he is on. If he can be on for an entire year he might surprise everyone.
When the season is over I don’t think there will be a clear cut winner. There is so much quality pitching that I think the whoever had the best year on the best team is probably going to win the award. That is most likely going to go to one of the four Phillies. I don’t necessarily think that is right but thats just kind of the way things work. Hopefully, someone will come out of nowhere and make this race something to get excited about.