In my previous article, I gave my predictions for the candidates of the 2010 AL Cy Young Winner. (Article can be found here.) Not to just show favoritism to the American League, I decided to go ahead and write an article exploring the possibilities for the NL Cy Young winner.
If you were to think of the 2010 MLB season in terms of a Chinese calendar year, you might want to call it “The Year of the Pitcher”. During the course of the regular season, we witnessed five no-hitters/perfect games, the most since 1991 (which I obviously don’t remember, as I was only one year old). We were even blessed enough to see a no-no in the postseason via Roy Halladay (sorry, Cincinnati).
Four of those six no-hitters/perfect games over the course of the whole season were tossed by National League pitchers, and really pitching seemed to dominate the pre-All Star break headlines. Ubaldo Jimenez was nearly unhittable (in one instance on April 17th he certainly was) for the first half of the season, but seemed to lose momentum later in the season. Not to say that he had a poor season by any means, but had he kept up his pace (14 W, 1 L, 1.83 ERA even before June was finished) he would be the unanimous winner of the award.
While Ubaldo Jimenez is still a candidate for the award, I’ll quickly discuss three other pitchers in baseball’s Senior Circuit who have just as good of a chance to have a Cy Young award to their name.
Honorable Mentions: Tim Hudson, Heath Bell, Mat Latos, Brian Wilson
I talked a little about Jimenez in a previous paragraph, so I won’t take too much time talking about him this go round. Ubaldo Jimenez ranked in the top 10 of nearly every pitching category imaginable (including some bad, such as 2nd in the NL with 92 BB). There was a point when writers were discussing whether or not Jimenez was going to have the best season of any pitcher ever. As we all know those hopes faded, but that’s not to say his season was a failure. Ranking 3rd in the NL with 19 wins, 3rd in strikeouts with 214 and 1st in win percentage with .704 to go along with a sub .300 ERA (2.88 to be exact) makes for about as good of a season as you can ask for. Jimenez should unquestionably be considered for the award.
Roy Halladay had about as memorable of a season as any pitcher in recent memory. You don’t throw a perfect game in the regular season and a no-hitter in the playoffs just solely off of luck. Halladay’s no-hitter in the postseason was only the second of all time – the other of course being Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. In many people’s eyes, that propels him to the top of the list as the 2010 NL Cy Young winner. While I wouldn’t necessarily give him the award based off of that, I would definitely consider giving him the award by looking at his stats.
Halladay’s 21 wins were the most in the National League, as were his complete games (9), and innings pitched (250.2). Roy Halladay was a serious pitching Triple Crown threat all season, and he finished with an ERA of 2.44 (3rd in the NL), and 219 strikeouts (2nd in the NL). If you want to consider WHIP as well then the argument just gets stronger as Doc Halladay’s WHIP was 1.04.
As with almost every player in Marlins history, Josh Johnson doesn’t really get the credit he deserves. Josh Johnson may pitch in a stadium that averages an attendance of only 18,000 per game, but those Marlins fans that consistently watched Josh Johnson know what most of the majors is missing out on. Josh Johnson suffers from the same dilemma that plagued Felix Hernandez, although not to that extent as the Marlins were only 2 games under .500. Johnson had the best ERA in the NL at a lowly 2.30 and had a rather impressive amount of strikeouts with 186. His 11 wins to 6 losses may not reflect on his possibilities very well, however.
If I told you to name me a starter from the St. Louis Cardinals, you would probably say Chris Carpenter. Chris Carpenter had a great season, but Adam Wainwright arguably pitched better than anyone in the majors this season. Between Carpenter, Wainwright, and the surging rookie Jaime Garcia, the Cardinals had about as good of a pitching staff in the majors.
Adam Wainwright ranked 2nd in the National League in many pitching categories, including wins (20), ERA (2.42), and complete games (5). Beyond that, he ranked in the top 10 in many other categories such as innings pitched (3rd with 230.1), strikeouts (4th in the NL with 213), and 3rd with a WHIP of 1.05.
And the winner is…
While all the contenders on the list deserve an accolade of some sort for having a fantastic season, no one touches the bar set by Roy Halladay. Roy Halladay proved to be the best pitcher in the National League, much less the best pitcher on a team that lost to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. A perfect game in regular season play and a no-hitter in the postseason is something we’ve never seen, and his statistical line doesn’t lie either. If I were given a vote for the NL Cy Young winner, my vote would certainly be cast for Roy Halladay.