Johnny Cueto Gets Robbed Of Another Cy Young Award

Another Cy Young voting season passed without any respect for Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto. The righthander who labors in the extreme hitter-friendliness of Great American Ballpark and now is on a subpar team, just piles up wins, excellent ERAs and a lot of innings. But instead of having the two Cy Youngs that should rightly be in his trophy case, Johnny C only has one first-place vote in his career.

Cueto lost the 2012 award to R.A. Dickey, then with the New York Mets. Cueto lost this year’s honor to Clayton Kershaw, the Los Angeles Dodger lefty that the media can’t stop oohing and aahing over. Let’s do a brief comparison of the numbers, remembering that in both cases Cueto pitches in a very short park, while both Dickey and Kershaw were in vast pitchers’ parks…
Cueto: 19-9, 2.78 ERA, 217 IP
Dickey: 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 233 IP
If you don’t think park effects matter at all, then Dickey would have a very narrow edge. But that also defies common sense. Would a knuckleballer like Dickey have any chance of posting those numbers in Cincinnati, where lazy fly balls disappear? How much more aggressive could Cueto have been in Citi Field, knowing that the park would swallow up mistakes? An informed vote would have required that Dickey show a substantial edge in surface numbers. That clearly didn’t exist here.

Cueto: 20-9, 2.25 ERA, 243 IP
Kershaw: 21-3, 1.77 ERA, 198 IP
Now I won’t say this one was as big a joke as the 2012 voting, which was appalling. But everything that was said about Citi Field applies to Dodger Stadium, and therefore that means Cueto deserves the same benefit of the doubt.
Furthermore, unlike 2012, Cueto no longer pitched for a contending team. I watched a lot of his starts this season and the lack of run support was a persistent problem. How many more games might have won with the Dodger lineup supporting him? To say nothing of the fact he was in the rotation all year, while Kershaw missed the first month
I believe Johnny Cueto is the best pitcher in baseball. Those of us that do will always be at a disadvantage because Kershaw’s legions will point to their man’s three Cy Young Awards, while Johnny has none. But if there were justice in voting, Cueto and Kershaw would be tied in Cy Youngs at 2-2.