San Diego Padres' Mat Latos
With the 2010 baseball season nearly coming to a close, it's time to take a look at the National League Cy Young candidates.
The 2010 season has been called "the Year of the Pitcher," and it all started when Ubaldo Jimenez threw a no-hitter for the Rockies against the Braves on April 17th. Dallas Braden and Roy Halladay then threw perfect games against the Rays and Marlins respectively, and after that came Armando Galaragga's infamous non-perfect game, where Jim Joyce blew the call on the grounder for the final out. Edwin Jackson then threw a no-hitter against the Rays for the Diamondbacks, and finally, Matt Garza gave the Rays a taste of a no-hitter for themselves when he no-hit the Tigers.
With so much illustrious pitching this year, this is clearly a very tight race, and probably is a tough decision for the voters. The winner of the award will probably come down to whose team makes the playoffs and where their team ends up in the standings.
Sadly, Tim Lincecum, winner of the last two Cy Young awards, doesn't have a chance this year. His 3.60 ERA currently ranks 24th in the league.
However, being a pitcher's year, there are naturally plenty beside Lincecum in the NL worthy of winning the esteemed Cy Young award, ranging from energetic rising stars like Mat Latos to wily veterans like Roy Halladay. But the top contenders at this point have to be Halladay of the Phillies, Latos of the Padres, Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals, Josh Johnson of the Marlins, Tim Hudson of the Braves, and Ubaldo Jimenez of the Rockies.
Mat Latos, in only his 2nd major league season, leads the whole MLB in ERA and WHIP, (2.21 and 0.96) along with 14 wins.
Roy Halladay, who's just about always in Cy Young conversations, hasn't disappointed the Phillies. The "Doctor" has piled up 18 wins so far, with a respectable 2.44 ERA, and leading the league in strikeouts with 201.
Like 'Doc', Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright has 18 wins, with a nice 2.38 ERA, and is right up there in strikeouts with 191.
Ubaldo Jimenez, also with 18 wins, started the season off with a bang, posting a 2.20 ERA in the first half. While he has cooled off recently. He still has a great 2.79 ERA.
Josh Johnson, a young ace for the Marlins, is having a remarkable year. He has a 2.30 ERA, and should be right up there for the award discussions.
And last but not least, Tim Hudson. The sinker-ball pitcher has had a tremendous year for the Atlanta Braves, sporting a 2.41 ERA, and 15 wins.
All of these gentlemen are worthy of the Cy Young award. If I had to pick a front-runner, I'd pick Mat Latos. The sophomore, as mentioned before still leads the league in ERA and WHIP, while racking up 14 victories. If the Padres can hold on to their division lead, or at least make the playoffs, I'm sure Latos will win it.
Without the spectacular pitching of the young ace, I don't think the San Diego Padres would have made it even near this far.