We are now two months into the season. While we are still a long way from the end of the season, those players who are in the MVP and Cy Young races are beginning to fall into place.
In the Cy Young races in particular, there are many candidates who are certainly worthy of the title with how they have been pitching so far. In the National League, there are 16 or so people that should be in the top 10. This is, unfortunately, not possible, and some surprising names are left off this list.
Stats used to rank them are as of May 31.
I could have put Tim Lincecum and his strikeouts here, but his rising ERA and struggles gave me pause.
I could have put Chris Carpenter here, but three Cardinals seems to be pushing it. After all, when's the last time three pitchers from the same team received Cy votes?
I could have put in Carlos Silva and his refusal to lose as a result of getting far more run support than anyone on the list.
I could have even put Barry Zito here simply because when was the last time he was on a list like this?
Instead, I went with Livan Hernandez, who I don't expect to be on here in July, but you can't ignore the lowest ERA and WHIP of his career. His strikeout totals are poor though, and that would hurt his Cy chances.
After a dominating April, Pelfrey remains a key part of the Mets' rotation. An ERA of around 2.50 and only one loss on the season is what the Mets need right now if they want to stay competitive in the tough NL East.
Jon Garland is not a person who you think of as being an "ace pitcher" when you see him, yet that's what he and his 2.15 ERA are doing for the Padres. His major weaknesses is that he's on pace for a career high walk total. He's got to knock that down.
I don't like putting rookies in major award voting. They can be unpredictable, and even when they do live up to the hype, they usually do not get many votes anyway. That being said, he has yet to lose a game, but only has four wins.
Granted, the bullpen blew two performances and he had no run support in two others, so he could just as easily be 8-0 right now. If the Reds keep playing this well he'll stay in the mix, rookie or not.
It's the year of the comeback kid in pitching. Shaun Marcum in the American League missed all of last year yet is dominant, and Tim Hudson is doing the same for the resurgent Braves despite missing most of 2009. He could move further up if the Braves keep winning.
A 5-2 record, 2.19 ERA, and 69 strikeouts are great numbers to start a season, and honestly, he would be far more familiar to people if he didn't play for the Marlins. One of those losses? Halladay's perfect game, and Johnson allowed no earned runs in that game, so he could easily have been 6-1.
Somehow, Wainwright is even better than he was when he placed third in Cy voting last year. His seven wins and 77 strikeouts are great numbers, but despite his prowess and losing the Cy Young Award to teammate Chris Carpenter, he may not be the best pitcher on his team this year either.
You would expect Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter to be dominating, and they are. But Jaime Garcia? A 5-2 record and a 1.32 ERA for a top-level NL team will definitely put you in the Cy Young mix.
Right now, he's Ubaldo Jimenez's only major competition.
We know why he's first.