The Oakland A’s have one of the most surprising Cy Young candidates in recent memory pitching for them this year.
It’s not Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone or Brett Anderson.
Instead, it’s 40-year-old Bartolo Colon having his best season since he won the Cy Young back in 2005.
While Colon was good for the A’s last year, giving them over 150 innings with an ERA under 3.50, he was suspended for 50 games on August 22 of last year after testing positive for synthetic testosterone. He was a free agent this offseason, but the A’s decided to bring him back on a one-year deal worth $3 million. So far, it’s looking like one of the best free agent signings of the offseason.
Colon has been Oakland’s ace this season, and is currently sitting on a record of 7-2. One of the keys for Colon’s success is the fact that he just refuses to walk anybody. Colon is currently averaging 0.70 walks per nine innings, an insanely low total. Consider that Greg Maddux, long considered the king of pitch command, never had a season in his 22 year career when he had a walk per nine inning ratio that low. Bartolo is throwing strikes at a historically efficient level.
Now, obviously there are some concerns with Bartolo. The man is 40, after all, which means he’s more at risk for injuries both minor and major. Perhaps even more concerning for Colon and the A’s might be his connection to the Biogenesis Clinic in Miami. If the threatened suspensions for those connected to the clinic come to pass, Bartolo is almost certainly looking at a 100 game suspension that will wipe out the rest of his season.
Colon doesn’t strike many guys out (he’s only topped five strikeouts in a start twice this year), so he’s dependent upon good defense behind him to be effective. But so far, that has yet to become a problem for Oakland. If Colon can stay on the field and get solid help behind him, then I believe his pinpoint control can make him a dark horse candidate to win his second Cy Young Award.