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MLB: Top 10 Most Undeserving Cy Youngs of All Time

Arad MarkowitzContributor IIIMay 27, 2011

MLB: Top 10 Most Undeserving Cy Youngs of All Time

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    This guy is featured in this article numerous times.
    This guy is featured in this article numerous times.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Recently, I wrote an article on the Top 10 Most Undeserving MVPs of All Time. Now it's time for the 10 most undeserving Cy Young winners of all time. This list was hard to compile, and I could have missed a few, but overall it is a fair and reasonable list.

    You could read my Undeserving MVP article at this link.

10. Roger Clemens, 2004 NL Cy Young

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    OSAKA, JAPAN-NOVEMBER 10: Pitcher Roger Clemens #22 of the Houston Astros pitches during the 5th game of the exhibition series between US MLB and Japanese professional baseball at Osaka Dome on November 10, 2004 in Osaka , Japan. (Photo by Koichi Kamoshid
    Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

    Another phenomenal year for Clemens, but Randy Johnson had a better year.

    A higher WAR, ERA-plus and a lower ERA can attest to that. Johnson also struck out more than a batter an inning and many more than Clemens.

    Clemens went 18-4, though, so that garnered him another MVP.

9. Barry Zito, 2002 AL Cy Young

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 24:  Starting Pitcher Barry Zito #75 of the Oakland A's delivers a pitch against the Seattle Mariners during the game on September 24, 2002 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington.  The Mariners defeated the A's 8-7.  (Photo by Otto Gre
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    While Zito had more wins and a higher WAR, Pedro Martinez deserved to be the Cy Young of the American League.

    Martinez's ERA was a half a run lower than Zito's and his ERA-plus was much higher. He struck out many more batters, in less innings pitched. His WHIP was also an amazing .920. 

8. Fergie Jenkins, 1971 NL Cy Young

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    CHICAGO - 1983:  Fergie Jenkins #31 of the Chicago Cubs winds back to pitch in a game during the 1983 season at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    While both Jenkins and Tom Seaver both had the same WAR of 9.2, Seaver had an ERA that was a full run lower than Jenkins.

    Seaver also had an ERA-plus of 194, to Jenkins' ERA-plus of 142. He even struck out more batters and had a lower WHIP. Jenkins won more games, giving him the edge back then. 

7. Roger Clemens, 2001 AL Cy Young

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    4 Nov 2001:  Roger Clemens #22 of the New York Yankees climbs up the mound during game seven of the Major League Baseball World Series at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona. The Diamondbacks won 3-2 to capture the World Series title. DIGITAL IMAGE. Man
    Harry How/Getty Images

    Despite coming just fifth in the Cy Young voting that year, Mike Mussina deserved to win the award. He beat Clemens in basically every statistic, except wins.

    Mussina had a higher WAR, lower ERA, lower WHIP, more shutouts, more complete games, a higher ERA-plus, one more strikeout and fewer walks in more innings pitched.

    They both pitched for the Yankees.

6. Bartolo Colon, 2005 AL Cy Young

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    ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Bartolo Colon #40 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitches to the New York Yankees in the first inning of Game Five of the American League Division Series on October 10, 2005 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.  The Ang
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    In 2005, Colon was just fourth in the AL in WAR. He led the AL in wins and the voters gave him the Cy Young due to that only.

    The more deserving candidate was Johan Santana, who went 16-7, with an ERA of 2.87 and led the league in WAR and ERA-plus with a 6.3 and a 155 respectively.

    Santana also struck out the most batters by a wide margin and had a ridiculous .97 WHIP.

5. Chris Carpenter, 2005 AL Cy Young

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    HOUSTON - OCTOBER 17:  Starting pitcher Chris Carpenter #29 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning of Game Five of the National League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park on October 17, 2005 in Hou
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    The other 2005 Cy Young award winner, Chris Carpenter, also did not deserve his award.

    Carpenter had a phenomenal season, and any other year, it would have been fine with him winning, but Roger Clemens had an even better year.

    Clemens won just 13 games and that is why he did not win the Cy Young. Clemens had an ERA of 1.87 and an ERA-plus of 226. He also had a WHIP of just 1.00.

4. Mike McCormick, 1967 NL Cy Young

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    Jim Bunning went 17-15 but had an ERA of 2.29. McCormick was 22-10 and had a 2.85 ERA.

    Both of them had great seasons, but Bunning deserved the Cy Young more—Bunning a full 3.4 WAR on McCormick.

    Bunning also had a much lower WHIP, struck out more than 100 more batters, and had an ERA-plus of 149 compared to McCormick's 118 ERA-plus.

3. John Smoltz, 1996 NL Cy Young

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    24 Oct 1996:  Pitcher John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves delivers a pitch during the Braves 1-0 loss to the the New York Yankees in game five of the World Series at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Dunn/Allsport
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    Kevin Brown had the statistical lead in almost every single category between the two, but Smoltz won the award.

    Brown had a much higher ERA-plus, a higher WAR, more shutouts, a much lower ERA and more complete games.

    Smoltz won because of his 24 wins and his 276 strikeouts.

2. Pete Vuckovich, 1982 AL Cy Young

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    While Vuckovich won 18 games and had an ERA of 3.34, his WAR was just 2.7! Of every single vote getter, that was the second lowest.

    Vuckovich also had a very pedestrian 1.50 WHIP. Dave Stieb or Rick Sutcliffe would have been much better options than Vuckovich.

    Both had a higher WAR, a lower ERA, a higher ERA-plus and struck out more batters than Vuckovich.

1. Bob Welch, 1990 AL Cy Young

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    1990:  Bob Welch #35 of the Oakland Athletics pulls back for the pitch during a game in the 1990 season. Bob Welch played for the Oakland Athletics from 1988 to 1994. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Despite being a full 7.0 WAR off of Roger Clemens, Welch won the Cy Young. Welch won 27 games and had a great ERA of 2.95, but Roger Clemens was even better.

    Clemens struck out more batters, had an amazing ERA-plus of 213 and a mind-boggling 1.93 ERA. He also won 21 games that year, so he wasn't that far off from Welch.

    Still, Welch won the Cy Young, and stopped Clemens from having eight Cy Youngs overall in his career.

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