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September 26, 2009 1:47 AM

Let's Get Javier Vazquez In On the NL Cy Young Discussion

The 2009 Cy Young vote in the National League promises to be a good one.  Three of the four play-off bounds teams do not have anyone that stands out, and while the Cy Young is not dependant on a playoff appearance to the extent that the MVP award is, it certainly does not hurt.  Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright have both had fantastic seasons, and I would not complain if either of them received the award.  Dan Haren has had a fantastic season, and is the only starting pitcher in the NL with a WHIP below 1.00.  Tim Lincecum has been just as dominant as last year, and will probably win his second consecutive award.  However, there is a guy who has flown completely under the radar.  Javier Vazquez of the Atlanta Braves.

I pegged Vazquez for big things at the start of this year, although not in print.  I drafted him on every possible fantasy baseball team, and have been rewarded with an unbelievable season.  I felt that a return to the National League would be beneficial for him after spending four of the last five seasons in the American League.  He has always been a workhorse (at least 198 IP in ten straight seasons) who strikes out lots of batters and has pretty good control, a reliable formula for success.  However, high home run totals and poor fielding (his career FIP is .37 runs lower than his ERA) have held him back from success.  He has always been considered a bit of a bust for a guy with his talent, but all of that changed this year.  Let's see how he stacks up with the other contenders in several major categories:

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Vazquez is 4th in ERA, 3rd in WHIP, 2nd in K's, tied for 3rd in wins, 2nd in K/BB and 2nd in FIP.  I know that this does not take into account the full picture, but it makes a pretty compelling case for Vazquez.  For arguments sake, let's assign five points for a first place rank in one of these categories, four points for second etc...  If you take into account all six categories, Vazquez would be tied for second with Carpenter, only behind Lincecum.

The point of this is not to say that Vazquez deserves the Cy Young.  In my opinion, it is still Lincecum's award to lose.  I just feel that Vazquez has not gotten nearly the coverage these other pitchers have, and we should all give him some respect for the fantastic season he is having.      

The point of this is not to say that Vazquez deserves the Cy Young.  In my opinion, it is still Lincecum's award to lose.  I just feel that Vazquez has not gotten nearly the coverage these other pitchers have, and we should all give him some respect for the fantastic season he is having.      

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