Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Josh Johnson poses the strongest challenge to a third Lincecum Cy Young award
Josh Johnson will likely be the most formidable challenger during Tim Lincecum's quest for a third Cy Young award. Johnson has been heralded as a Cy Young-type pitcher for a couple of seasons now and is off to a fantastic start in 2011 (3-0, 1.00 ERA, 27 K in four starts).
Johnson is just 27 and, like Lincecum, just approaching his prime. While the numbers for these two have been startlingly similar, there are points of difference.
Areas where Lincecum has the edge:
1. Throughout his career, Lincecum has consistently thrown more innings than Johnson (Lincecum has pitched over 200 innings in each of his three full seasons, while Johnson has reached the 200-inning mark only once in his career).
2. Lincecum has substantially higher strikeout totals than Johnson, both on a year-by-year basis and in a career comparison. Since 2007, when Lincecum came into the league, he has 939 strikeouts to Johnson's 495). Now even though Johnson has not made as many starts as Lincecum over that span, in 2009, when Johnson made one more start than Lincecum, Lincecum had 261 strikeouts to Johnson's 191.
3. Johnson has never thrown a complete-game shutout while Lincecum has four, showing that Tim has the ability to go the distance without losing efficiency.