St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright uncharacteristically had a bad outing in Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs touched Wainwright up for four runs in the first inning before Wainwright eventually settled down and pitched seven innings. But the damage was done and it was too little, too late for Wainwright and the Cardinals as they were never able to recover.
Wainwright’s record fell to 10-4 on the season and he still leads the National League in wins, but what does a loss to the Cubs do to Wainwright’s candidacy in the NL Cy Young Award race?
It is still obviously very early in the season, but now feels like a good time to piece together a very early hypothetical NL Cy Young award ballot.
1. Clayton Kershaw – Los Angeles Dodgers
Kershaw was robbed of the award last season, which would have been his second in a row. The only reason he did not win the award is because R.A. Dickey throws a knuckleball, which fans and the media alike fawn over.
Baseball experts should fawn over Kershaw even more. He is incredible. He is just 5-4 on the season, partly because his Dodgers are not great, but his numbers are off the charts (1.84 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 104 Ks). Kershaw will win the vote of the sabermetric nerds this year too. His 4.3 WAR is the best in all of baseball.
2. Matt Harvey – New York Mets
Harvey is absolutely incredible and he is just 24 years of age. He leads the NL in strikeouts with 115. He is 6-1 on the season on a terrible Mets team, which is impressive. Finally, opponents have just a .501 OPS against Harvey, easily the best in the NL (Kershaw is second at .524)
3. Patrick Corbin – Arizona Diamondbacks
Anytime you start the season 9-0, you are going to receive some Cy Young consideration and Corbin has earned it. His 2.28 ERA and 1.01 WHIP are both impressive. Finally, Corbin’s consistency has been huge. He has 12 quality starts out of 14 games pitched and his 86 percent quality start percentage is higher than both Kershaw and Harvey.
4. Adam Wainwright – St. Louis Cardinals
As mentioned, Wainwright leads the NL in wins and is second in innings pitched with 110.0 ininigs pitched. He leads the best starting rotation in baseball on the best team in baseball. Finally, his 11.11 K/BB ratio blows everyone else out of the water.
5. Cliff Lee – Philadelphia Phillies
Lee actually leads Wainwright in innings pitched with 110.1 (yes, just one-third of an inning) and is a distant second in K/BB at 5.76. Lee is quietly putting together a fantastic season. At 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA and 0.95 WHIP, Lee has managed to slide beneath the radar and his quality season has gone wildly unnoticed, at least for now.
Wainwright currently sits fourth in our Cy Young award ballot, but a bounce back in his next start and a slip-up by Corbin could allow him to easily see him rise into the Top 3 as a serious candidate to win the Cy Young award this season.
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