There were numerous candidates for the 2008 N.L. Cy Young Award but none deserved it more than the San Fransisco Giant's Tim Lincecum. The undersized righty baffled hitters and put up astonishing numbers all season long including his 18 wins (for a team that only ended up with 72), a 2.62 ERA (second in the league), and led the league in strikeouts (265). Lincecum racked up 23 out of 32 first place votes.
Followed by Lincecum came Brandon Webb, Johan Santana, and Brad Lidge. Rounding out the top five was Milwaukee's C.C. Sabathia. Now although all of these guys had amazing seasons, I feel like the only other pitcher someone can make an argument for winning the Cy Young was Johan Santana. Johan, who led the league in ERA (2.53) kept the Mets in contention all summer. In the second half of the season, he went 9-0 with a 2.09 ERA. He also came up huge on the second to last day of the season with a complete game shutout to give the Mets a chance. Although Lincecum did deserve this award, Santana did put up Cy Young numbers. Advice to N.L. hitters in 2009: "Don't mess with the Johan."
Brandon Webb did have 22 wins, but his ERA was almost a run higher than the league leader. Also the Diamondbacks had a better offense than the Giants and Webb struggled down the stretch... Maybe next year Brandon.
Even though Brad Lidge didn't blow a save this season and led the Phillies to another N.L. East title, I feel like it's tough to give him the award because he wasn't even the best pitcher on his own team. Cole Hamels didn't have his best regular season numbers wise (mostly due to the lack of run support) but in my eyes is a better pitcher than Lidge, even though it's difficult to compare a starter to a closer. It was nice to see Lidge have a solid season. He seems to be over the moonshot that he served up to Pujols a few years ago. Let's see if he can keep it up next year.
Last but not least, C.C. Sabathia. What an absolute animal this guy was after coming to the Brewers. He went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA, 7 complete games, and 3 shutouts in 17 games with the Brew Crew. These numbers are just unreal, but to put it in perspective, lets look at Randy Johnson's numbers in 1998 when he was traded to the Astros for the second half of the season. Johnson went 10-1 in 11 games, posting a 1.28 ERA, with 4 complete game shutouts. Johnson gave up less hits and had a lower WHIP than Sabathia. With those incredible numbers, The Big Unit lost the Cy Young to Roger Clemens. My point is that Randy Johnson had better numbers than Sabathia did and did not take home the award. C.C. will also have to wait another year to bring home the trophy. Maybe next year he can do it while wearing pinstripes.
All of these hurlers had great seasons and deserve tons of credit for their efforts. But it's nice to see that the voters got this one right. So congrats to Timmy Lincecum, the 5'11, 160 pound flamethrower. Not only did I gain respect for you by watching you dominate hitters all year, but you beasted it for my fantasy team which was awesome.