Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Doyel: Aroldis Chapman for Cy Young

The Cuban Missile has had a lot to smile about lately

R.A. Dickey, Johnny Cueto, Craig Kimbrel, Joel Hanrahan and Aroldis Chapman are all pitchers who figure to be in the running for National League Cy Young Award honors at year's end. And at least one national columnist is willing to cast his vote for baseball's most prestigious pitching award to Chapman. In his latest piece, CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel presents a rather persuasive arguement in favor of Chapman.

Here's an excerpt of what he had to say about the Reds closer:

Chapman is allowing four hits per nine innings. That level of stinginess has never happened over the course of a full season, not for a pitcher with at least 50 innings thrown (Chapman is at 53 2/3). Aroldis Chapman is the most unhittable pitcher in baseball — or he would be, if Craig Kimbrel weren’t having the season he’s having. Kimbrel is allowing only 3.6 hits per nine innings, which is patently absurd.

Chapman is striking out 16.8 batters per nine innings, which means he has turned the National League into Little League. That’s never been done either, by the way. No pitcher with at least 50 innings — hell, no pitcher with even 25 innings — has ever matched Chapman’s strikeout rate.

Not even Kimbrel, who’s at 15.6 strikeouts per nine innings. That, of course, has been done — three times. In 100-plus years of Major League Baseball.

Chapman had a bad stretch in June during interleague play, which counts and matters, but still. If we're talking about the National League's best pitcher, well, here's a closer who has held NL foes to 3.3 hits per nine innings while striking out nearly 20 batters per nine -- and who is getting better as the season goes along. In his past 19 appearances, Chapman is 17 for 17 in save chances with an ERA of 0.00. Of his 55 outs in that stretch, 39 have been strikeouts.

You can see who would get my vote Cy Young, if the season ended today: Aroldis Chapman. But I would settle for Craig Kimbrel. Anyone else? There isn’t anyone else.

If Chapman, or Cueto for that matter, did indeed win the NL Cy Young Award, it would mark the first time in Cincinnati Reds franchise history that they had a pitcher to do so. The award has been around since 1956. As hard as that is to believe, it's as true as the green is green.

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