On November 14th the New York Mets will find out whether their sensational knuckle-ball pitcher R.A. Dickey was able to salvage some good from the 2012 season for himself and the team, or if the disappointing second-half collapse really sums it up for the Mets yet again.
Out of the 10 contenders for the NL CY Young this year, there are only three or four who have a serious fighting chance. Some may argue that pitchers like Cole Hamels from the Philadelphia Phillies and Matt Cain from the San Fransisco Giants have a serious possibility of coming away with the award. However, that simply doesn’t seem like a viable belief. The Phillies fell short of the playoffs with one of their worst seasons in recent years, leaving Hamels center-pack. Also, despite a World Series appearance, Cain doesn’t really look like he will have a strong enough ticket.
Aside from Dickey, pitchers that make a serious case for contention are Gio Gonzales from the Washington Nationals and Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds. Both of these pitchers stack up against Dickey very well with regards to record and ERA. They seem to be his only serious competition statistically speaking.
Many believe the numbers posted by Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel in 2012 give him a serious shot, but it isn’t very likely considering the history of the CY Young Award has not been very favorable of closing pitchers.The last closer to win the CY Young was Eric Gagne in 2003 and his 55 saves and 137 strikeouts were a bit more impressive than the 42 saves and 116 strikeouts from Kimbrel in 2012. Before 2003 the last time a closer won the CY Young was in 1989, and since the award was introduced in 1967 only 4 closers have won it in total.
That being said, I believe the race will come down to Gonzales and Dickey. Cueto falls a bit short in a few regards and because of that he stands significantly behind his main competition.
The two frontrunners are nearly neck-and-neck with Dickey ahead by only a hair. The fact that Gonzales led his team to a Division Championship will weigh heavily on the decision. On the other hand, Dickey’s wins comprising 30% of the teams games will not be overlooked, and his three-shutout victories are certainly impressive. However, the most incredible component of Dickey’s 2012 season by far, is that he played with a torn abdominal muscle for the majority of it.
Regardless of the minor statistical differences separating the two, a computer doesn’t make this decision. The writers association will vote, and I do not stand alone when I say Dickey’s 2012 resume has the stuff to win that vote.