NL Cy Young: Why R.A. Dickey got my vote

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider

I never understood the argument that throwing a knuckleball should be a disadvantage to R.A. Dickey in the Cy Young race.

It would be different if Dickey were the typical knuckleball pitcher with questionable control. But he had fewer walks than either Clayton Kershaw or Gio Gonzalez, with more innings pitched.

Fewer wild pitches, too.

Dickey led the league in innings. He led the league in strikeouts.

And yes, he won 20 games.

Do wins decide the Cy Young Award? No. They never did.

Can wins figure into a Cy Young decision? Absolutely. Ask any top starting pitcher in the big leagues, past or present. Every one of them will tell you a 20-win season is a major goal, and a major accomplishment.

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We're not supposed to vote on what should have happened. We vote on what did happen.

What happened in the National League this year was that in a close decision, R.A. Dickey had the best season among pitchers.

So when it came time to cast my Cy Young vote, R.A. Dickey topped my ballot.

That decision wasn't easy, but the toughest decision was how to deal with Craig Kimbrel.

Kimbrel had an incredible season, a historic season. He faced 231 batters and only 43 of them reached base (and 116 of them struck out). He pitched in 63 games and allowed only seven runs. He never gave up more than one run in any game.

But here's the problem: Kimbrel faced 231 batters. Dickey faced 927, more than four times as many.

I can't say I would never vote a reliever No. 1, but it's hard to do it in a season where a starter had an outstanding year. This year, many starters had outstanding years.

I slotted Kimbrel in third, behind Dickey and Gonzalez. I put Johnny Cueto and Kershaw on my ballot, too.

Could I have put Kershaw higher? Absolutely, and I seriously considered it.

Could I have put Gonzalez in the top spot? Sure. Kimbrel? Sure.

But Dickey absolutely dominated the first half of the season. In the second half, pitching for a team that hardly ever won, Dickey still won regularly.

Tough choice. But Dickey got my vote.

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