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A solution to the National League Cy Young Dilemma

The NFL has been back for more than three weeks and the NBA season is right around the corner, but Major League Baseball is still going on. Now I know what you are thinking; who cares about baseball when we got guys smashing into each other and balls swishing through nets?

For those who haven’t been watching the latter stages of the MLB season, you are missing a tight race for the National League Cy Young Award, which is awarded to the best pitcher in the league.

It’s currently a two-man race between the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Zack Greinke and the Chicago Cubs’ Jake Arrieta.

Greinke, a three-time All Star and recipient of the 2009 American League Cy Young Award, is one of the most established pitchers in baseball and he is currently having the best season of his career. By the All-Star break in mid-July, Greinke had a 7-2 record with an unreal 1.48 ERA.

Now with the season winding down, the Dodgers ace has seen little to no inflation to his stellar numbers. He has a MLB best .857 winning percentage with his 18-3 record, while his 1.65 ERA and .848 WHIP are mind blowing.

He has cemented himself as the Dodgers’ top pitcher. Which is saying something when the pitcher he has supplanted this season is Clayton Kershaw, who has been the best pitcher in all of baseball for the last four years (playoffs not included).

Greinke is having a season for the ages. If the season stopped today, there is no denying him the award. His ERA and WHIP are the lowest in the National League in 20 years, since Greg Maddux’s 1995 season.

The right hander is not in the realm of greats such as Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and so on, but his season is one of the best in the last 35 years.

But this is where things get interesting; in most seasons Greinke would have the Cy Young Award wrapped up, but the Cubs’ Arrieta is making a strong case to keep the voting polls open.

Arrieta boasts a 21-6 record with a 1.82 ERA and .879 WHIP. His no-hitter against the Dodgers at the end of August finally took him mainstream, and he has been the best pitcher in all of baseball since the All-Star break.

His no-hit bid was a microcosm for how dominant he had been in the month of August, and he has not slowed down.

The 29-year old has four complete games, three shutouts, and 229 strikeouts under his belt. All of which best Grienke. The difference in statistics between both pitchers at this point is minute.

So who deserves the award? The Dodger, who has been phenomenal all season long, or the Cub, who has ascended to greatness in the past two months? Most people will pick one or the other, but how about a solution.

Greinke deserves the Cy Young Award; his consistency all throughout the year should not be overshadowed by the strong finish of Arrieta. His “worst” month was in August, which happened to be juxtaposed with the month of Arrieta, where he posted a 4-1 record with a 2.45 ERA.

There is no part of the Greinke season that you can truly dissect, criticize and diminish. There has been no let down.

With that being said, here is a solution. Arrieta should win the National League’s MVP Award. No player in the NL has been more valuable to his team then Arrieta. His contribution to the Cubs is by far the biggest, Chicago has a plethora of young and talented players, but none of them produce at the same level as Arrieta.

It might be contradictory to split two prestigious awards between two pitchers, but it makes sense. Greinke has been the best pitcher all year, but he is not more valuable because he has a fellow Dodger in Kershaw, who has been stellar as well as Arrieta since the All-Star break.

A case can be made for the Washington Nationals’ right fielder Bryce Harper, who leads the NL in homeruns, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS. But Harper has been dealt a bad hand because his team has gone through an up- and-down season.

Arrieta has had a better season then Harper and. more importantly to the people who vote on these awards, he is on a winning team.

Will this solution to the Greinke-Arrieta dilemma happen? Probably not, but it’s better than diminishing one pitcher to elevate another. More importantly, this is why you should keep watching baseball – you have two great pitchers having phenomenal seasons.

The NFL and NBA season have a long way to go, so do not miss out on a spectacular finish to the baseball season.

Javier Cortez may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Javier Cortez
Javier Cortez, Staff Reporter
Javier Cortez is a staff reporter for The Prospector. He is a senior multimedia journalism major, with a minor in English Rhetoric. Javier was born and raised in El Paso, TX and before coming to UTEP in the summer of 2012, he graduated from Irvin High School, where he was a four-year varsity tennis player, a member of student council and a class officer for his graduating class. He has also worked for the El Paso Diablos as a sports information intern on their media relations team. In his spare time, Javier loves to write columns for the perspectives section in the school newspaper—whether it is sports, pop culture, religion, and society he loves to write about it. To go along with writing, Javier loves reading anything about sports, religion, and non-fiction.
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    mikeSep 29, 2015 at 10:53 AM

    Nah. Give Arrieta both.

    Greinke had the better first half of the season, but Arrieta had the best second half of the season, not just for this year, but in the entire history of the sport. Saying Greinke has been consistent isn’t really meaningful, because he wasn’t consistently BETTER. Proponents of your argument are actually guilty of that which they claim to be trying to avoid: looking at halves of the season rather than the full body of work. If you only look at complete season statistics, Arrieta has the edge in all but a handful of numbers, and those he doesn’t lead are so close as to be trivial.

    When the season wraps up, it’s unlikely that Greinke will have anything more than the most marginal of leads in what few statistical categories he even maintains a lead in. His recent skipping of a start (without injury) also won’t look good to voters.

    If you look at the full body of work, Arrieta has had the better season.

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A solution to the National League Cy Young Dilemma