Jobu predicts the National League Cy Young Award Winner.
Unlike the American league, the National League has a truly debatable Cy Young Award race. There are a few guys that could or should walk away with the trophy when the votes are finally tallied later this month. Here’s a little about each one, and who I think will end up taking home the bacon.
If Cy Young voting was partially based on the best story/character of the year, Dickey would win it hands down. First of all, he’s a Knuckleballer. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember Charlie Hough or Tim Wakefield ever contending for the Cy. In fact, no knuckleballer has ever won the award. Luckily for Dickey, he’s no regular knuckleballer. His knuckler is not the typical one. Whereas most guys throw it in the 60 mph range, Dickey gets his up to the plate as high as the low-to-mid 80s. I’m sure that’s not fun to hit against.
It’s not all smoke and mirrors for Dickey though, and he’s not just a good story. He’s a damn good pitcher whose numbers back his claim to the Cy Young Award whole heartedly. Dickey led the league in starts with 33, complete games with 5, shutouts with 3, innings with 233.2, and Ks with 230. He went 20-6 and put up a 2.73 ERA in all those games too. His 1.053 WHIP and 54 walks are pretty amazing for a knuckleballer too. He truly had a season for the ages. At 37 years old, that’s not very easy to do.
His career once seemed a failure, but he has really resurrected and reinvented himself with the New York Mets in his mid-30s. As he enters his late 30s, he could do so with a fat new contract and a shiny new trophy for his mantle.
Cueto has been the “Next Big Thing” since he debuted with a flurry of quality, high strike out stars for the Reds in 2008. While he struggled to acclimate to the major leagues in his first couple of seasons, he finally started putting it all together last year when he had a 2.31 ERA in a season shortened by injuries. In 2012, he not only kept it together, he even led the league in games started.
Cueto ended up with a career high nineteen wins in his 33 starts this season (19-9), also notching career highs in innings (217) and Ks (170) while posting a career low in walks per nine (2.0). He anchored a staff that led the reds to 97 wins and the NL Central title. Hard to argue with the numbers and production Cueto put up, that’s for sure.
When the Nationals sent four prospects, including Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock to Oakland for Gio González, it’s clear that they knew what they were doing. Gio slid right into the second spot in the rotation behind Stephen Strasburg. The one-two punch proved to be too much for the rest of the NL to handle.
Gio blew away his career best performance in 2011 by winning a league-leading 21 games in 2012 (21-8). He also had career bests in strike outs (207), ERA (2.89), WHIP (1.129), BB/9 (3.4), HR/9 (0.4) and only allowed 149 hits in his 199.2 innings pitched. He and Strasburg helped the Nationals to a major league high 98 wins and the NL East title.
This is a really tough call to make. All three guys made great cases for themselves this season. Cueto and González can say they helped their teams to the playoffs, but team wins tend not to sway writers too much one way or another. Although, if all else is equal, I think helping the team to the playoffs should matter. Anyway, just because I think he was a little more dominant, and would have had more than the 20 wins he had if he was on a better team, my choice for NL Cy Young is that crazy knuckleballer, R. A. Dickey.
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