Despite leading all National League pitchers in ERA (1.31), WHIP (0.73), WAR (2.6), and innings pitched (55), Johnny Cueto is still not considered a leading candidate for the Cy Young Award at this point in time, according to the dubious Cy Young Predictor found on ESPN.com.
In fact, Cueto isn't even among the top five. Instead, the Cy Young Predictor currently lists Cueto as the 10th-best pitcher in the league. Anyone who has watched baseball this season knows fully well that Cueto has been a lot better than that.
It seems as though the problem with this Cy Young Predictor formula is that it gives too much weight to a pitcher's win total. Cueto is just 3-2 through seven starts while Zack Greinke, Adam Wainwright and Jean Machi already boast five wins (Machi's win total is amazing when you consider he's thrown just 17 innings this year in relief). So that helps explain why these guys are currently ranked ahead of Cueto.
Here's the complete formula to the madness as co-authored by baseball guru Bill James:
This page provides an in-season snapshot of the Cy Young "race," as figured by the following formula: Cy Young Points (CYP) = ((5*IP/9)-ER) + (SO/12) + (SV*2.5) + Shutouts + ((W*6)-(L*2)) + VB (see below).
VB: Victory Bonus is a 12-point bonus awarded for leading your team to the division championship
Seems rather dubious, doesn't it? Well, before we go bashing it too hard, keep in mind that the predictor has correctly prognosticated the Cy Young Award winner in each of the last three seasons. The last time it was incorrect came in 2010 when Felix Hernandez won the American League award instead of the predicted favorite David Price.
All told, it's important to keep in mind that there is still a ton of baseball left to be played in 2014 and odds are that the Cy Young race will look much different in October than it does now. With that being said, it's still hard to fathom Cueto only being considered the 10th-best pitcher in the league thus far.