This year in the National League there has been many surprising pitchers. Roy Halladay, one of the best pitchers in the game, has been hurt for most of the season, and Tim Lincecum hasn't look anything like his Cy Young Award winning years. This year there is many pitchers, anywhere from 10 or more, who can win the Cy Young Award, and so far the leading candidate is a 37 year old knuckleball pitcher, R.A. Dickey. Here is how I feel the race is shaping out:
1st - R.A. Dickey - New York Mets: R.A. Dickey has been a huge surprise so far this season. No one ever thought he would ever be this good, and anything close to a Cy Young Award contender. He has been the most dominating pitcher this year going 12-1 with a 2.15 ERA. R.A. Dickey leads the league with a .88 WHIP and three complete games. He is second in the National League in strikeouts with 116, and he has shown great control with his knuckleball. We have never seen a pitcher like R.A. Dickey before who throws mid 80's knuckleball and is so dominate. He is the leading Cy Young Award candidate and if he continues to pitch like this the rest of the season there will be no question that he should win the award.
2nd - Matt Cain - San Fransisco Giants: Matt Cain, who has so far lived up to his huge contract he received this off season, has been a very dominate pitcher this year. He is finally getting some respect he has deserved, since in years past he has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the game. Matt Cain has been very good this year, and he has pitched the best game this year so far, a perfect game, where he struck out 14 batters. Through 16 games this season, Cain is 9-3 with a 2.53 ERA and a .95 WHIP. He is close to the top in strike outs with 114 and innings pitched with 113.2. Matt Cain has become the ace of the Giants staff and has shown why he is one of the best young pitchers in the game today. He should continue stay in the Cy Young race and will challenge R.A. Dickey for the award if he continues to pitch this way.
3rd - A.J. Burnett - Pittsburgh Pirates: A.J. Burnett might be a surprise here at third but if you look at his numbers he has pitched very well. He has been very hot in his last 10 starts going 8-0 with a 2.29 ERA. The ace of the Pirates staff has had only one bad start this season, where he allowed 12 earned runs against the Cardinals on May 2nd. If it wasn't for the one bad start he would of had a 2.05 ERA, which would currently be second best in the league. A.J. Burnett is currently 9-2 with a 3.31 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, in 13 starts. He could have a good chance at a 20 win season, and if he continues to pitch this well and stay healthy he will be a dark horse in the Cy Young race.
4th - Stephen Strasburg - Washington Nationals: Stephen Strasburg has pitched very well so far, but if he is shut down at his 160 innings limit, which I expect to happen, he will not win the Cy Young Award. As of today, Strasburg is still well in the conversation of being the Cy Young winner, but because of his inning limit, that is why I have him ranked fourth in my Cy Young Award race standings. The young power pitcher through 16 games is 9-3 with a 2.81 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP. He is also leading the N.L. with 122 strike outs in 93 innings. He is one of the most over powering pitchers in the game, and he will be able to have a chance at the Cy Young Award. But you can't be the best pitcher when you don't pitch in September.
5th - James McDonald - Pittsburgh Pirates: James McDonald has been a surprise this season. He has finally showed that he can be a top of the rotation pitcher. He has pitched well this season and has a record of 8-3 with a 2.45 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP. His could have even more wins but the Pirates have struggled to score runs, and have been shut out all three times he has lost. If he and the Pirates continue to play well, he will have a slight advantage over guys like Wade Miley, Zack Greinke, and Cole Hamels for the fifth spot.
Pitchers who are still in the race: Zack Greinke, Wade Miley, Cole Hamels, Gio Gonzalez, Lance Lynn, Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, and Chris Capuano.
The Cy Young Award race is still not over and many of these great pitchers who are not in my top five could easily make a push for the top spot. The Cy Young Award race should come down to the wire and it should be fun to see if some of these pitchers can make a strong push to become the best pitcher in the National League.
Please follow me on Twitter @DanTheMan4295