Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Cueto, Chapman eyeing baseball's most coveted pitching prize

With a mere seven weeks to go in the regular season, the Redlegs have not one, but TWO, pitchers in serious consideration for the National League Cy Young Award: Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman. Though that probably doesn't come as a surprise to most, consider this: Cincinnati is one of only six MLB teams to NEVER have had a pitcher win the award since its creation in 1956. The others (WSH, TEX, TB, MIA, and COL) are all expansion clubs. For a franchise as storied as the Reds, the absence of a CYA in their history remains a rather bewildering fact indeed.

But that shutout could come to an end soon if Cueto and Chapman have anything to say about it. Matt Snyder of CBS Sports recently broke down the race for the league's top pitching award in this post. If you just want to see what he wrote about the two Reds, here you go:

2. Johnny Cueto, Reds

Tony La Russa doesn't get to pick the Cy Young winner, so Cueto has that going for him. He's also 15-6 with a 2.45 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 127 strikeouts in 161 2/3 innings. He has to make half his starts in a notoriously hitter-friendly yard. Voters don't traditionally favor playing for a winning team as much in Cy Young as they do in MVP, but it still doesn't hurt that Cueto's Reds are in first.

4. Aroldis Chapman, Reds

He's only allowed one earned run against the National League all season, good for a 0.17 ERA and has struck out 106 hitters in 57 total innings. Plus, the majority of his work comes in "high-leverage" situations. On the flip-side, can we just throw out his stats against the AL? And can we ignore that he's only impacted 57 innings this season? Those questions will only intensify if Chapman keeps toying with the NL the rest of the way.

Just a quick little FYI, the man he did tab as his Cy Young Award winner is a guy the Reds will face on Wednesday in the likes of R.A. Dickey (15-3, 2.72). Although he's had a fine season, the voters usually lean towards a pitcher on a postseason club. That's great news for a pair of Reds hurlers.

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