Top 10 NL Cy Young Candidates at the All-Star Break

By Jordan Wevers

Top 10 NL Cy Young Candidates

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Clayton Kershaw took home the hardware last year, and he has good odds of doing the same in 2014. There are also a couple of closers who get Cy Young votes to consider every year. Last season in the AL it was Greg Holland and Koji Uehara with Craig Kimbrel in the NL. However, the last time a relief pitcher won a Cy Young was when Eric Gagne accomplished the feat in 2003. Before that, you have to go back to 1992 and Dennis Eckersley.

10. Francisco Rodriguez - Brewers

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10. Francisco Rodriguez - Brewers

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45.1 IP, 3-3, 27-for-30 SV, 2.58 ERA, 52 SO
K-Rod did not allow an earned run until his 20th appearance of the year on May 11. His ability to shut the door on opponents is a large reason why the Milwaukee Brewers find themselves in first place in the NL Central.

9. Madison Bumgarner - Giants

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9. Madison Bumgarner - Giants

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127.0 IP, 10-7, 3.47 ERA, 128 SO
Bumgarner had a rough early start to the season, but he began to settle in by mid-May until July hit. He's been good this year, but not great. It would take a miraculous second half for him to receive significant Cy Young votes.

8. Lance Lynn - Cardinals

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8. Lance Lynn - Cardinals

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114.2 IP, 10-6, 3.14 ERA, 101 SO
Lynn has quietly become one of the more reliable starting pitchers in the NL since he began logging consistent starts for the Cardinals in 2012. He's miles off the pace from teammate Adam Wainwright, but the 27-year-old has done a nice job so far in 2014 of contributing for his team.

7. Julio Teheran - Braves

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7. Julio Teheran - Braves

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136.1 IP, 9-6, 2.71 ERA, 116 SO
Teheran has only nine wins due in large part to having the 12th worst run support for any starting pitcher in MLB, despite owning the sixth-best ERA in the NL. Johnny Cueto is also tied with him for 3.5 average runs of support per outing, but he has found a way to total more than 10-plus wins in the first half. Teheran is building nicely on his 2013 season, but he's not yet Cy Young worthy.

6. Craig Kimbrel - Braves

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6. Craig Kimbrel - Braves

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37.2 IP, 0-1, 29-for-33 SV, 1.91 ERA, 62 SO
A truly dominant closer and difference maker to back end any manager's bullpen with, Kimbrel has struck out the side in seven of his 39 appearance in 2014. If any active player has a chance to beat Mariano Rivera's record for saves in a career, it's this guy.

5. Alfredo Simon - Reds

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5. Alfredo Simon - Reds

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116.2 IP, 12-3, 2.70 ERA, 75 SO
Simon has been a very pleasant rotation surprise filling for the Reds' Mat Latos in 2014. It would also be very surprising not to see his second half become derailed by poor outings. The peripheral stats say that given Simon's low K/9 of 5.79 and 30th ranked K/B of 2.68, his BABIP of .225 will be very difficult to sustain.

4. Zack Greinke - Dodgers

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4. Zack Greinke - Dodgers

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118.2 IP, 11-5, 2.73 ERA, 127 SO
Greinke's presence in the Dodgers' rotation will go a long way in the postseason. He's had a nice 2014 so far, but he will always be the Robin to Kershaw's Batman for as long as he plays baseball in a Dodgers uniform.

3. Johnny Cueto - Reds

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3. Johnny Cueto - Reds

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143. 2 IP, 10-6, 2.13 ERA, 141 SO
Cueto has been brilliant in 2014. At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, Cueto has a very compact build for a pitcher with ace stuff. He is a bit of an anomaly, but the NL Cy Young is really a three-horse race; Cueto is right on the tail of the leader.

2. Adam Wainwright - Cardinals

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2. Adam Wainwright - Cardinals

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138.0 IP, 12-4, 1.87 ERA, 115 SO
He started for the NL in the All-Star Game, and a sub 2.00 ERA in 19 games started is outstanding. Wainwright is a workhorse, but he's still not the favorite despite his incredible first half.

1. Clayton Kershaw - Dodgers

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1. Clayton Kershaw - Dodgers

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96.1 IP, 11-2, 1.78 ERA, 126 SO
The Claw missed the entire month of April, and because of this, you won't see many of his stats yet qualify in NL pitching categories. Once the second half begins, all of that will change. Kershaw has a very, very legitimate chance of winning the NL pitching Triple Crown in 2014, and that is truly remarkable given he was sidelined for one-sixth of the season. His third Cy young is well within his sights.

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