There is little to no reason in my mind why R.A. Dickey shouldn’t come out with the National League Cy Young award on his mantle by the end of this season.
Let’s look at the facts.
Dickey currently has 17 wins, a 2.63 ERA, five complete games, three shutouts, has a 1.014 WHIP and is averaging 8.94 strikeouts per nine innings.
He is first in the NL in wins, shutouts and complete games. Dickey ranks fifth in the league with his .810 win-loss percentage, and also ranks second in innings pitched. Dickey ranks fifth in the league in hits per nine innings, sixth in strikeouts and eighth in WAR.
He had an NL-best 11-game winning streak from April 25 to July 19.
He was even snubbed by Tony LaRussa in July when the former Cardinals skipper chose Matt Cain over the knuckleballer to start the midsummer classic. Instead of griping, Dickey took the snub in stride and continued his dominance of the National League.
And he is doing all of this with a knuckleball that he essentially invented and perfected.
It should be mentioned that besides the numbers speaking for themselves, Dickey has an unbelievable life story, path to stardom and is widely considered to be one of the kindest and most intelligent people in the game today.
Not only has Dickey been striking out an unprecedented amount of batters this year, he has climbed Mt. Kiliminjaro, published a bestselling book and starred in a documentary.
What’s not to like about this guy?
The answer is unattainable. Dickey is the epitome of a feel-good story. The underdog who shocked the baseball world against all odds.
But, there are a few contenders out there who could make his quest for the award less than a slam-dunk.
Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman are all having sensational years worthy of mention and will give Dickey a run for his money come awards season.
Of all the pitchers above, Cueto and Gonzalez pose the greatest threat to Dickey’s quest for the Cy Young. Cueto in particular, who is on a brilliant run for the Cincinnati Reds and is leading the NL in ERA, is having such a great season on a team heading to the postseason.
The biggest obstacle standing in the way of Dickey’s award dreams is out of his control – it’s the Mets. If the team’s second-half woes continue to sink the ship deeper into the cellar of the NL East, Dickey will have a tougher time being mentioned among the likes of likely postseason aces Cueto and Gonzalez.
Despite the team’s play, Dickey has done everything he can to avoid the postseason prejudice that exists in the voting process. Even Mets manager Terry Collins has come to his pitcher’s defense recently.
“I know we’ve had a collapse in the second half,” Collins was quoted saying in Newsday. “But when you look at what he’s done the entire year . . . He’s racked up numbers against every team in baseball. No matter who he’s faced, he’s pitched great.”
No one knows how September will shake out and which pitchers will rise to the top of NL stardom, but if Dickey continues his brilliant run as he has done all season, there is no reason he shouldn’t have a legitimate shot at achieving baseball immortality.