2013 NL Cy Young Award: Power Ranking the Candidates Going into the Stretch
While baseball award predictions are usually thwarted by hot Septembers, cold Septembers and injuries, one cannot deny the fun of it.
The 2013 NL Cy Young race is a particularly interesting debate, since they are a few very good hurlers taking the mound every fifth day, but no clear-cut favorite.
There are so many good NL pitchers this season that I knew I would insult a couple candidates by narrowing the field down down to five contestants.
Jordan Zimmerman, Jason Grilli, and Cliff Lee were my final cuts.
So, without further adieu, the 2013 NL Cy Young race, according to Phil...
5. Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants
Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Full Season Projection—225.0 IP, 17-10, 218 K
To say the San Francisco Giants’ pitching rotation has underachieved in 2013 would be the understatement of the century.
Their two aces-on-paper, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, have been flat-out bad this season. Ryan Vogelsong’s couple years of Cinderella-story greatness are behind him. And Barry Zito…well, he’s pitching like Barry Zito.
Madison Bumgarner has emerged as the Giants’ surprise ace in 2013, and has quietly been one of the best pitchers in the National League.
While it would take a couple big falls around the Senior Circuit to propel Madison into the Cy Young catbird seat, the 23-year-old pitcher is still on pace to post career numbers in all major pitching categories, and that has to make the Giants feel good about their 2007 first-round pick.
4. Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals
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IP—154.2 (Leads NL)
Full Season Projection—251.0 IP, 21-8, 222 K
The fact the National League leader in innings pitched, wins, complete games and shutouts has three pitchers ahead of him in the Cy Young race speaks how deep the league really is in great starting pitching.
While having a five-run-per-game offense behind him doesn’t hurt Wainwright’s win-loss record, he has worked wonders in his own right on the mound. While it certainly won’t be impossible for Adam to bring home the hardware at season’s end, he definitely cannot afford to slow down his already excellent pace.
3. Patrick Corbin, Arizona Diamondbacks
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Full Season Projection—234.0 IP, 20-2, 196 K
Patrick Corbin’s name was pretty hot in the younger days of the 2013 MLB season. When he was sitting at a perfect 9-0 on June 2, Corbin probably had a couple people thinking about Denny McLain’s name.
Like death and taxes, however, regression toward the average is an inevitable fact of life. A strong showing in August and September could make the hardware a very possible dream for Corbin (especially if he keeps that loss total low), but his lack of strikeouts could hurt his chances.
2. Matt Harvey, New York Mets
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport
Strikeouts—157 (Leads NL)
Full Season Projection—233.0 IP, 14-3, 267 K
Producing Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and Chris Sale, the 2010 MLB draft has a great chance to be looked back on as a Hall-of-Famer factory when all is said and done.
The 7th overall pick of that draft has a great chance to win his first Cy Young award in his first full season as a starter.
Matt Harvey’s WHIP shows you that he is striking out batters at a Ryan-esque pace. His ERA shows you that he isn’t letting a lot of opposing batters score.
He isn’t going to be a 20-game winner this year with the Mets’ offense, but his pitching is a pretty huge reason why that horrible Mets team is only 11 games out of first place.
1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
ERA—2.01 (Leads NL)
WHIP—0.88 (Leads NL)
Full Season Projection—247.0 IP, 15-10, 240 K
The only good reason for Matt Harvey not to win the Cy Young is that Clayton Kershaw is even better than him in 2013.
Unfortunately for Harvey, that’s really the only reason needed.
Through 21 starts, Kershaw possesses an other-worldly 2.01 ERA, and he has an extremely good shot of becoming the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 to finish the season with a sub-2.00 ERA.
Also, while he leads the NL right now in ERA and WHIP, he is also within an eyelash of leading in innings pitched and strikeouts as well (2.1 IP and 9 K, respectively). While Adam Wainwright is on pace to lead the Senior Circuit in wins, Kershaw has a great chance to lead in every other category.
In my book, that’s not only enough for a Cy Young Award, but maybe an MVP award if the Dodgers make the postseason.