At the start of the 2013 season, Washington Nationals starting pitcher Jordan Zimmerman put himself as the front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award, yet as the season winds down he finds himself no longer in contention.
ESPN has the NL prediction and Zimmerman was ranked fifth. If there is an argument that also can be made that he’s not even in the top five at this point even after a two hit shutout against the Miami Marlins today in which his era got lowered to 3.18 and he picked up his NL leading 19th win. The shutout marked his fourth complete game of the season and his second shutout.
To put this into perspective, at the All-Star break Zimmerman had a record of 12-4 with a 2.58 ERA, gave up 10 home runs in 132.1 innings pitched, threw three complete games and one shutout, opponents hit .222 off him and he struck out 95 while walking 18. In the second half before tonight’s solid performance he has gone 6-4 with an era of 4.85, has given up eight home runs in 65 innings, did not throw a complete game, opponents are hitting a robust .290 and he has struck out 55 while walking 21.
Obviously with his second half performance he has fallen out of favor for the award. The current top five are:
Los Angeles Dodgers SP Clayton Kershaw 14-9, 1.94 era, three complete games with two shutouts, 223 innings pitched, while striking out 214 and walking 50 and opponents are hitting .197
Atlanta Braves CL Craig Kimbrel 3-3, 1.31 era, 48 saves, four blown saves, 62 innings pitched, 90 strikeouts while walking 20 and opponents are hitting .161
St. Louis Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright 17-9, 2.98 era, five complete games and two shutouts, 229.1 innings pitched, 209 strikes to 34 walks and opponents are hitting .250
Marlins SP Jose Fernandez the front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year has a record of 12-6, 2.19 era, 187 strikeouts while walking 58 and leads the NL in opponents batting average against at .182
Dodgers CL Kenley Jansen 4-3, 1.95 era, 26 saves, four blown saves, 16 holds, 104 strikeouts to 16 walks and opponents are hitting .180
Among others who will receive consideration Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies and Zack Greinke Dodgers.
There’s no question that Zimmerman overall had a great season for the Nationals, he just didn’t have the consistency throughout the season to win the NL Cy Young.