A Peek at the NL Cy Young Race

Like the AL MVP race, and unlike the AL Cy Young (Cliff Lee) and the NL MVP (Albert Pujols) races, the NL Cy Young has a few worthy candidates, each with their specific claim to the title of best pitcher in the National League for 2008.

Brandon Webb has the pedigree and the twenty wins that voters will gravitate toward and ranking third in WPA means that even by better stats, Webb is among the viable candidates.

If the Brewers hang on to take the Wild Card, will CC Sabathia get some consideration? His totals in the National League are certainly exemplary and best in the league, but he’s dogged but a sample size about half that of the other contenders unless you consider his AL stats as well. Which in and of itself raises an interesting debate, but in Sabathia’s case raises a further point of whether or not those combined stats are good enough to warrant a Cy Young.

Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers and Ryan Dempster of the Cubs have shiny ERAs and playoff teams to back their otherwise excellent seasons but overall weak case at a Cy Young award. Johan Santana hangs around 2nd place in many categories and warrants a mention as well.

In the end though, there’s one man that so far has risen above all these mentioned above and that’s Tim Lincecum. Not only does Lincecum lead the league in ERA (by about a quarter of a run) and strikeouts (by a whopping forty) but he has a gargantuan lead in WPA over Johan Santana in 2nd place 5.22 to 3.51. It’s just his second season but assuming the Giants don’t blow out his arm Tim Lincecum deserves the first of what should be multiple Cy Young Awards.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.

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