As we all saw with the 2012 Gold Glove award, the best player does not always win. Maybe the sportswriters of America wanted to give Padres fans to be excited about. Maybe the rapid downward spiral the Mets took in July hurt David Wright’s chances. And as much as I like Chase Headley, the best defensive third baseman did not win the award.
The only other meaningful award that a Mets player could possibly win in the 2012 NL Cy Young award. To me, this is an award that could go to one of three players: R.A. Dickey, Clayton Kershaw, and Gio Gonzalez. Throw Johnny Cueto into the discussion if you want, but it’s coming down to those three pitchers. Any one of them can win the award, but I, like many other Met fans, would be extremely surprised if Dickey doesn’t win.
We all know Dickey’s numbers by now. He led the league in innings pitched (233.2) and strikeouts (230). Not to mention, he also led the league in shutouts (3), complete games (5), and was second in ERA (2.73) and wins (20). Dickey was also our first 20-game winner since Frank Viola. I think it’s amazing that Dickey won 20 games on a team that only won 74 games. He pretty much cemented his Cy Young campaign after he pitched back-to-back one hitters against Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
The pitcher that might take some votes away from Dickey is Clayton Kershaw, and really, he’d probably be the only other pitcher I’d be okay with winning the award. Kershaw led the NL in ERA (2.53), had the highest WAR among NL pitchers (6.2; Dickey was third with a 5.6), while allowing the fewest walks and hits per 9 IP (1.023). Kershaw is second to Dickey in strikeouts (229) and innings pitched (227.2). I don’t know if the Dodger’s August collaspe will hurt Kershaw, but I see him as the only formidable opponent that Dickey has in this race.
We all knew Gio Gonzalez was good in Oakland. He just had the misfortune of playing for bad Oakland teams in a tough AL West. Gonzalez gets traded to Washington and explodes. He led the league in wins (21) and also had the highest amount of strikeouts per 9 IP (9.346; Kershaw had a rate of 9.053 while Dickey posted 8.859). I’m not knocking Gonzalez, but I think it’s a lot easier to win 21 games when your team goes 98-64. Gonzalez will probably get votes because he played for the best team in the regular season, but his season wasn’t up to par with Dickey, Kershaw, and even Johnny Cueto or Matt Cain.
R.A. Dickey and Clayton Kershaw were the two best pitchers in the National League. Sure, the New York guys will vote for Dickey and the Los Angeles guys will vote for Kershaw, but I think this race is still very much up in the air and it isn’t a lock for anybody.