Inspired by the blog post of John Fay yesterday, I decided to take a look at how the top pitchers in the National League compared to Johnny Cueto this year. All stats below for the top 6 National League pitchers, ranked by WAR, are from baseball-reference.com.
I think there was some realistic thoughts that Cueto may have fallen out of the running for the NL CY Young award with his string of bad starts earlier this month. However, Cueto is still in the mix, statistically, to be the best pitcher in the National League this year. He has the best ERA+ in the league, and leads all NL pitchers with a 5.8 WAR.
Of course, how the voters actually cast their ballots doesn’t always fall to the side of who’s leading the league in a single statistical category, especially categories that are ignored by some of the eligible voters.
The top 4-5 pitchers are all grouped together with very similar numbers across many statistical categories, though Gonzalez probably earns a lot of votes for exceeding 20 wins and 200 strikeouts. Kershaw and Dickey have also each struck out more than 200 batters, an incredible number for the knuckleballer Dickey. Throw-in that Dickey has just 6 losses and made 25 quality starts, and I can’t really fault anyone who wants to argue for Dickey as the Cy Young recipient.
I doubt Kris Medlan gets any/many votes, but with just 60% of the innings of the other regular starters, he is in a tie with Kyle Lohse for the 5th best WAR. The Braves have already announced that they will turn to Medlan in the wildcard play-in game, which would leave him available for just one start in the NLDS.