R.A. Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award Winner
As soon as my post about Derek Jeter winning the American League MVP was digested by some Mets friends, they immediately wanted to know if I would write something stating R.A. Dickey should win the National League Cy Young Award. Come on, how much easy material can a guy publish in a week? There is no doubt the knuckleballer deserves to win the award although Craig Kimbrel and Gio Gonzalez do deserve to be in the conversation. In the end, though, the case for Dickey winning the Cy Young is actually stronger than the case for Jeter to win the MVP. Let us have some fun examining these three outstanding pitchers.
The season of Dickey, the 37-year old righty who is about the only positive thing for Mets fans these days is nothing short of remarkable. He finally has found a home in Flushing, winning a total of 38 games in his three seasons with the Mets. He leads the National League in FOUR categories: ERA (2.66), Complete Games (5), shutouts (3) and innings pitched (220). Dickey is also second in wins with 19, one less than Gonzalez and second in strikeouts with 209, two behind Clayton Kershaw. Since numbers are a big deal these deals and are twisted beyond recognition, let us make this real simple. R.A. Dickey is either first or second in SIX pitching categories. Not convinced? His strikeout to walk ratio is 4.02, unheard of for a knuckleball pitcher. I don’t know where that ranks among starting pitchers but I do know that ratio is outstanding in any league. Boys and girls, this season for Mr. Dickey is about as dominant as you can get.
Which leads me to probably the most dominant relief pitcher in the game, the Braves’ Kimbrel. Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote a piece last week as to why he thinks Kimbrel should win the award. There is no doubt the fireballer has been the best closer in the game. This is a guy who has struck out a ridiculous 106 batters in 58 1/3 innings. On top of that, he has walked only 14 batters and allowed a miniscule 25 hits. To top it off, his ERA is 1.04. Those numbers are insane. However, look at the amount of innings pitched. With nine games left in the season, Kimbrel will probably not exceed 65 innings. To date, those 58 1/3 innings have come in 51 games. That means he rarely pitchers more than an inning at a time. I’m sorry, I don’t want to give an award, no matter how great he has been, to a pitcher who will throw almost four times LESS than the best starting pitcher.
Then there is Gonzalez, the ace of the Washington Nationals, whom I predicted would win the National League East. I don’t mean to toot my own horn but toot, toot. Sorry, I had to get that in. Gonzalez deserves to be mentioned simply because he is the first, and perhaps only, 20 game winner in baseball. 20 is indeed a magic number for pitchers but it also should not guarantee a Cy Young Award. The 201 strikeouts are quite nice as well but that is still eight fewer than Dickey. On the negative side, Gonzalez has walked 73 batters, 21 more than Dickey and in only 193 1/3 innings, 27 fewer than R.A. The ERA of 2.84 also ranks fourth in the National League. These are not the stats of the best pitcher in 2012.
R.A. Dickey has already been shafted once this season by not starting the All Star Game. Those who vote on the Cy Young Award winner really have an easy choice. The award is for the best pitcher, not the most valuable one. The numbers add up to a landslide for R.A. Dickey.
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