I began stat searching this morning hoping to build a case for the top names involved in the National League Cy Young Race. What I discovered is a clear cut favorite to take the award, so I won’t pretend otherwise.
Roy Halladay is at or near the top in just about every NL statistical pitching category at this time. He leads the league in innings pitched with 184.2 over his 25 starts. His ERA (2.53) is second only to Pirates starter Ryan Vogelsong, but Doc leads the NL in FIP (2.14) and xFIP (2.55).
Halladay’s struck out the second most batters (177), while maintaining a miniscule BB/9 ratio of 1.12. The big right hander doesn’t give up home runs (0.44 HR/9) and his 6.7 WAR makes him the only NL pitcher with such a stat over 5. Halladay’s thrown 7 complete games this season, once again placing him atop the NL.
While they don’t provide a true indication of a pitcher’s success, Halladay figured he might as well lead the NL in wins this season, coming within 2 outs of recording W number 16 last night.
So, I would venture to say it’s pretty obvious everyone else hoping to be named best pitcher in the NL is left looking up at Halladay.
But, there are a few guys who can still barely see the star when they look up.
What makes it almost unfair in the National League is that two of the others that are in the NL Cy Young conversation are teammates of Halladay.
Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels are currently tied for fourth in the NL with 172 innings pitched. Each has an ERA south of 2.85. Lee currently leads the Majors with 5 shutouts while Hamels’ 0.99 WHIP leads the National League. Both players have solid strike out numbers while limiting their amount of free passes.
Clayton Kershaw leads the NL in strikeouts and has a lower WHIP (1.03) than Halladay. The 23 year old has the league’s second best FIP (2.60) and his 14 wins put him only one behind Doc.
San Fran’s duo of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have basically been handed the task of keeping the Giants’ playoff hopes alive, and they’ve responded quite well to the daunting task. Lincecum’s 2.58 ERA is good for 4th best in the NL, and Cain’s WHIP (1.10) places him 7th in the league. Each have FIP’s around the 2.83 mark and have logged over 160 innings.
So there’s a brief layout of the NL Cy Young picture. At this point Halladay’s basically holding the award. Someone’s going to have to make up some serious ground if they hope to wrestle it out of his grasp.