With five weeks left in the regular season, the race for the Cy Young trophy is heating up. Can a Chicago Cub make it two years in a row for the team?
As the regular season closes, post-season awards talk is heating up. In 2015, members of the Chicago Cubs took home major awards: Jake Arrieta won the Cy Young, Kris Bryant the Rookie of the Year, and Joe Maddon won Manager of the year. This season has been magical, with several players deserving consideration for awards. Many of those are in the starting rotation.
You’ve read it, we’ve said it, and the stats confirm it. The Cubs starting staff is the best in Major League Baseball. Three, if not four, of the starters, could be in the conversation for the Cy Young Award.
But, which player in the National League is walking away with the hardware? Let’s look at stats and not names for several players.
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Meet the contenders
Let’s start with player A. This player is on a playoff contending team. At this point in the season, he is fourth in innings pitched (163 1/3), tied for seventh in win percentage (.684), earned run average (2.87), but is 17th in walk and hits per nine innings. As for strikeouts, he is nineteenth. Overall, he is fourth in wins above replacement among pitchers at 4.3. All respectable numbers.
Player B? Similar stats. Win percentage of .631, with the top ERA in the majors (2.16), third in the NL in WHIP (1.00), tenth in innings (150), and tied for fourth with two complete games. His war? 3.6.
Next up is Player C. Win percentage of .778, ERA of 2.81, WHIP of 1.078, averaged nine strikeouts per game (tenth overall) with 154 innings pitched. And a war of 3.1.
Three more. Here is Player D, with a .600 win percentage. Second in ERA at 2.44, third in strikeouts with 202, has four complete games, and 180.2 innings pitched. His WAR is third at 4.4.
Player E: His win percentage is .762, which is fourth. He may be the only pitcher that can reach 20 wins on the season. His ERA is 2.62, with a WHIP of 1.039, in 161.2 innings. He is seventh with 158 strikeouts, and his WAR is 3.9.
Last one, Player F: Win percentage of .650, first in WHIP at .960, an ERA 3.05, and has 217 strikeouts. His WAR is 4.6, which is second in the NL.
Honorable mention: Jason Hammel. Seventh in win percentage (.684), ERA of 3.07, WHIP of 1.13, and a WAR of 2.1.
And the winner is…..
If you can tell from those stats, you deserve a vote for the award. There is no pitcher that leads in more than two categories. All of them pitch for contending teams. Last year, Jake Arrieta won with a spectacular second half. Is there a player like that this year? One player has given up seven earned runs in seven games since the All-Star Break, walking nine and striking out 41. His WHIP is .930 and ERA is 1.33. Impressive. The player…….
Player B……Chicago Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks. While not the same second half of a season as Arrieta last year, Hendricks has arguably been the best pitcher on the best rotation this season.
The rest of the players? In order above: Tanner Roark, Jon Lester, Madison Bumgarner, Jake Arrieta, and Max Scherzer. You could easily make a case for all of these pitchers, especially Lester who is in the top 10 of 10 categories. Also, if you count pitching and batting, the WAR stats for Bumgarner and Arrieta are 5.1 and 4.6, respectively.
While the award is yet to be decided, the rotation for the Chicago Cubs has set itself up well for Cy Young consideration. With five or six starts left, their closing statements will be crucial.