Chris Young, Cy Young winner?

Now that Johan Santana has officially crossed over to the National League — go ahead and shave a half run off his ERA — I thought it might be prudent to look into the crystal ball and predict who will win the 2008 National League Cy Young Award.

And, surprise, it’s not Santana, no matter how much I think he’s going to tear through the National League this season.

I’m going with Padres pitcher Chris Young, and I’ve got my reasons.Cy2

Let’s backtrack a little. The 2007 season was a tough one on Young, who first suffered through an oblique injury at the end of July and later subsequent tightness in his lower back which might have come about because he was overcompensating for the oblique injury.

At any rate, Young was clearly a different pitcher in the second half of the season (1-5, 4.80 ERA) than he was in the first half (8-3, 2.00) when he was every bit as good as Jake Peavy and, really, every bit as good as anyone in baseball.

Despite the tough finish, which, again, I think was more about not being healthy than it was being ineffective, Young was still one of the toughest pitchers in baseball to reach base against. Consider the evidence.

Sure, Young ranked fifth in the league in ERA at 3.12 but that doesn’t tell you everything (or, really, much at all). Opponents hit a league-low .192 against him and he allowed a scant 10.25 baserunners per nine innings (second to Peavy). He was also second to Peavy in opponents on-base percentage (.281) and first in opponents slugging (.297)  which, obviously, put him atop the league in opponents OPS (.578).

So how did Young managed just nine victories over 30 starts? Lack of offense was the main culprit, as he had 13 no-decisions. The Padres were 7-6 in those games but the telling statistic was this: In those 13 starts, Young allowed three runs or less over six innings nine times.

And, of course, that doesn’t count the game in Chicago where he was cruising (three scoreless and hitless innings) before the on-field fracas with Derrek Lee nor does it count the game in Colorado when he was hurt in July (two scoreless innings).

So who knows where Young might have ended up had he had better offense, better health and, of course, a little better luck. The fact is this guy is in his prime, he’s healthy, having been active in Pilates classes and other endeavors to strengthen his core this winter. And, most of all, I’ve never heard an opposing hitter tell me why he’s so tough to hit. And if they can’t figure him out …

I think he’s ready for a breakout year, a monster year. I’m saying 19-6 with a 2.83 ERA in 32 starts. That’s my prediction and I’m sticking to it.

Cheers, Corey

8 Comments

If its CY or not, I’m going to say also that there is no way Johan wins it. I’m not going to say CY, but I’ll almost guarantee (not like Anthony Smith) that the winner will come out of the NL West. (Harden, Penny, Webb, Peavy, CY, among others).

I think you’re right on the mark, Corey. And congrats to the new Groom! My biggest concern is that Black/Balsley may mess with CY’s delivery ala slide step. CY has so few men on base that he can afford to let them steal now and then. Particularly if he works real hard to keep the speedsters off base to begin with.

And I’m going to go you one better; predicting that CY will win at least 25 games in 2008.

Nate Silver’s PECOTA has Santana at a 2.94 era in Shea.

http://baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/?p=738

Cheers!

Good posts, folks. Keep them coming. I can easily see the NL CY Young winner out of the West. Is there a division with nearly as many quality arms in baseball? As for CY winning 25 games, that would mean the Padres would have to score an awful lot of runs! We’ll see. I think 19 is reachable.

I also have a hunch that the Padres, anchored with Edmonds in the 5 or 6 hole, are going to score a lot of runs for CY; hence my prediction of at least 25 runs.

pepetoo: CY did not just “let them steal now and then.” I still have nightmares of fat-*** Prince Fielder having his way with Young in September (2 steals in a game). AND, I’m not as confident in the offense being much better. Edmonds is a big question mark for me. If he can play the way he did for the majority of his career, then he is an improvement over Cameron. Iguchi is an improvement over Marcus for sure. Hairston is a question mark too. I think that the ’08 Pads will be moderately better at offense, but we still don’t have a true power hitter to take the pressure off Gonzalez.

That being said, I think Young will be better in ’08 than in ’07 if he can stay healthy. I’d go with 15-5, 3.30

I agree that the offense will be better. How much better, we will see. If that’s the case, then there’s no reason Young can’t win 15-plus games.

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