Two Years Running: Lincecum Wins Cy Young Second Year In a Row
And the 2009 Cy Young Award goes to...Tim Lincecum.
For the second year in a row Tim "The Freak" Lincecum, took home the hardware, earning the Cy Young Award for the National League, given to the finest pitcher in the league.
But was Lincecum truly deserving of the award in 2009?
In '08 he seemed the most dominant pitcher far and away and rightfully so he was voted the award winner. This year, Cardinal pitchers Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright had good arguments in favor of, well, themselves.
The most obvious starting point in looking at a pitcher's success is his Earned Run Average (ERA), and his total number of wins. Comparing the three pitchers in these two categories looks like this:
Chris Carpenter 17-4, 2.24
Adam Wainwright 19-8, 2.63
Tim Lincecum 15-7, 2.48
In terms of the combination of wins and low ERA, Carpenter appears to be the best candidate, followed by Wainwright and Lincecum fairly evenly. However, wins and losses can be deceiving, as much of this is decided not by the quality of the pitcher, but rather by the quality of his team, and their ability to score runs and win games for him.
Instead we must combine these stats with others such as innings (showing how reliable and how much of a workhorse these pitchers are), BAA (showing how hittable they are and how much they dominate other teams), WHIP (showing their efficiency and ability to not only allow few hits but also few walks), and finally K/9 innings (displaying the pure power and dominance of the pitcher).
Tim Lincecum Innings (225), BAA (.206), WHIP (1.04), K/9 innings (10.4)
Chris Carpenter Innings (193), BAA (.226), WHIP (1.01), K/9 innings (6.7)
Adam Wainwright Innings (233), BAA (.244), WHIP (1.21), K/9 innings (8.2)
Lincecum is either first or second in all four of these categories, and in two of them he is clearly dominant over both Carpenter and Wainwright. As a whole, Carpenter is the best pitcher of the three when it comes to ERA and Wins. He had great control that also allowed him to seldom walk hitters.
However, as an all-around pitcher, Lincecum takes the cake. He was able to rack up a good number of wins (15), while dominating the competition unlike any other pitcher in the league. The voters made the right choice; Lincecum deserved the award and is the finest in the NL.
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