Analysis

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?

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