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Three NL Cy Young Contenders, One With A Giant Advantage

The National League Cy Young will be awarded tomorrow and there are three pitchers with any semblance of a chance at the thing – two of them Cardinals. Unfortunately for the St. Louis faithful, one scrawny kid from San Francisco deserves to win. Again.

While both Adam Wainwright and Chris Carpenter piled up wins, Tim Lincecum went about his own business establishing himself as the best pitcher in the National League. He led the league in strikeouts (261) and K/9 (10.42!!). He allowed under seven hits per nine and opponents hit only .206/.271/.290 off him. Basically, he turned everyone he saw into Jose Molina.

While Carpenter bested Lincecum in ERA, a more traditional measure of a pitcher’s ability, Lincecum outperformed Carpenter in FIP, a statistic that takes into account things that a pitcher is specifically responsible. FIP is a better judge of how a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded behind him. Lincecum’s FIP of 2.38 was not only lower than his actual ERA, denoting that he pitched better than his ERA dictated, but it was also significantly lower than Carpenter’s FIP of 2.82.

Voters proved they are moving in the right direction regarding these votes by awarding the AL Cy Young to Zack Grienke, who did not have the gaudy win total that Cy Young winners typically have, but rather packed a punch in the categories that are better determinants of how good a pitcher was in a given year.

And so, my vote goes to San Fran’s Tim Lincecum, just as my vote went to Zack Greinke. Hopefully the writers go two-for-two on these and reward the two best pitchers in both leagues. Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter and the Cardinals all had outstanding seasons, but Tim Lincecum was far and away the most impressive pitcher in the National League this season.