Of all the rankings we do each week for the major awards in the National League, putting together a list of top-five contenders for the NL Cy Young Award is by far the most difficult. There are simply more than five pitchers that should be considered, and one to three of them are going to be snubbed every week.
I can only imagine that some of you will go crazy over Johan Santana not being included, especially after throwing a no-hitter last Friday. But I really do try to look at every meaningful stat, and I think it matters that Santana has thrown 68 innings this season, or almost 20 fewer than Matt Cain.
I'm also not very comfortable about booting Cole Hamels from the top five after having him ranked second last week. It seems unfair and reactionary, but he had two sub-par starts during the past week. And with so many great pitchers to consider, that's enough to drop him off the list. I expect he'll be back, however.
If you believe other pitchers should be in these rankings or listed in a different order, please offer your suggestions in the comments. It truly is helpful. But as of this week, here are the top-five contenders for the NL Cy Young Award.