Cliff Lee: 2013 Cy Young Candidate?

Lee wants to win but may be smiling just like this if he picks up NL Cy Young hardware in 2013.

Cliff Lee picked up his ninth win of the year last night, holding the Nationals to a pair of solo homers, striking out nine, and walking none. Lee baffled Nats hitters all night and did so while pitching with a blister on his hand. Lee’s ERA decreased to 2.53 and his xFIP fell to 3.15. Lee’s excellence has put him in firmly in the 2013 NL Cy Young Race. Traditional stats indicate Lee is among the best pitchers in the National League – Lee is ranked ninth in the NL in ERA, sixth in the NL in Ks, and tied for second in the (meaningless) wins category. The advanced stats hold up well, too: Lee ranks third in BB/9 IP, 18th in K/9 IP, second in K/BB, third in FIP, and seventh in xFIP.

Right now, Adam Wainwright (10-3, 2.37 ERA) and Matt Harvey (6-1, 2.15 ERA) are far and away in the top tier of contenders for the Cy Young and lead Lee in most of the standard and advanced categories. In Lee’s class are Patrick Corbin (9-0, 2.28 ERA) and Jordan Zimmerann (9-3, 2.44 ERA) – but Lee has more strikeouts, less walks per 9 IP, and has done so as being the workhorse of the NL, currently tied with Wainwright for most innings pitched.

Your thoughts? Is this Cliff Lee’s year to win the Cy Young?



  1. pamikedc

    June 19, 2013 at 8:00 am

    He is def right up there and I def agree w your analysis (I know boring answer).

    But usually w questions like this it has a way of working itself out…keep on keepin’ on Cliffard

  2. pamikedc

    June 19, 2013 at 8:07 am

    So so funny to hear about all this CLee talk. And a lot of ppl feel bad for him bc Cole sucks this season and the team is bad..but if you so desperately wanted to win a WS then you should have came through vs the Cards when having a 4-0 lead in the nlds

    • Whatever

      June 19, 2013 at 8:21 am

      Duh !?!

      The best chance for the Phillies to win a second World Series in the last few year was one they actually got to and in 2009 Cliff Lee was masterful against the New York Yankees in winning the only two games we won. If anyone else had pitched half as good, we would have had our second parade down Broad Street.

      Cliff Lee is the best pitcher in baseball … and he’s awesome to watch play the game of baseball!

    • Chuck A.

      June 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

      Yeah…Mr. Teflon always seems to somehow get a pass for blowing that lead. The fact that we didn’t advance is always the fault of Ryan Howard or Jimmy Rollins or Hunter Pence or someone else. Not saying that they are exempt from blame…win as a team and lose as a team…but yeah….Cliff Lee DID blow a 4-0 lead in a huge game. So I don’t really care about a CYA. It’s pretty meaningless when your team is struggling to remain relevant in the playoff race.

    • Tom

      June 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      Jerry Meals made sure that didn’t happen!!

  3. pamikedc

    June 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

    @ChuckA., yes! Thank you buddy

  4. Lefty

    June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

    Unless the Phils win the division, which IMO, is still totally possible, I doubt Lee has a chance against some of the competition you mentioned, and others, to win the award.

    I’d be willing to bet a small amount that if you asked Cliff Lee, he’d tell you he’d rather have another chance to win a championship than a CY. I hear people all the time rip him for losing that 4 run lead, my guess is there is no harsher critic about that than Lee himself. But keep in mind that he also lost 2 games to the Giants in the World Series with the Rangers. Yeah, I’m pretty certain he’s burning for another shot at the grand prize.

  5. Michael

    June 19, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    He’s definitely up in the conversation. But aside from Waino and Harvey, don’t forget about Kershaw. If you think wins are meaningless, and you’re definitely right with that, he should be right in the middle of the pack.
    Of course he plays on a team that’s even more awful than the Phillies and had some bad luck, but 1.84 ERA through 100+ Innings, along with a 2.59 FIP (same as Cliff) is pretty strong

  6. Tom

    June 19, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    The season is less than three months old! Of course Cliff has a shot…let’s wait til at least August before we start talking about year end awards!!

  7. Ken Bland

    June 19, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    My purpose in writing this is to see the 2013 CY and raise the topic. Regarding the CY, it’s just too early to really tell much. I haven’t taken the time to really compare Cliff with Adam Wainwright and perhaps more importantly Patrick Corbin out Arizona a way, but it’s not too far from base to say those two might have the best chance to supplant Kershaw, who is not a distant CY guy like others who’ve been in the conversation.

    Rather I’m here to discuss a topic that pops up every now and again, one I last participated in 2 years back or so. The old which Phils will make the Hall. That particular discussion, including a sensible bunch naturally got caught up in the likes of Doc and Chase. I can’t recall Howard’s role in the discussion, probably debatable, maybe or maybe not Jimmy was mentioned.

    But the one name not mentioned despite having another good year was Cliff Lee. I mean not even brought up. And that was not only good, it was fine. Cliff was about 27 when he couldn’t even wow em in Cleveland, barely making the squad with a late spring push as a 5, and somewhere in that time frame was a trip to the minors. The glory of 2008 with a CY, ’09 with a strong role in getting the Phils back to the Fall Classic, and some playoff magic in 2010 (not to be confused with a fine Series effort) typifies his place amongst the games best for a lengthy period. The career wins won’t cut it, but on the whole, Cliff might at least be in a better position that to not warrant any mention at all. A little reputation, a late career continuation and maybe uptick, and we can at least look at it as of June 19, 2013 as a shaky maybe. That’s pretty good for a guy who didn’t put it together until his late 20’s.

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