R.A. Dickey will stick to math rather than psychology in order to assess his chances to win the 2012 National League Cy Young Award.
"I don't really know, because I don't know the minds of the people who vote,” the New York Mets right-hander said, according to MLB.com . “As long as I don't know that, it would be tough for me to speculate on my chances, because everyone has different criteria, it seems. I'm one of three. I've got a 33 percent shot."
Those are the exact chances that someone from Middle Tennessee will win one of the two awards that annually honor the best pitcher in each of the two Major Leagues. Dickey, a Nashville native and University of Tennessee All-American, is one of three finalists for the National League Cy Young and David Price, a Murfreesboro native and Vanderbilt All-American, is one of three finalists for the American League Cy Young.
The winners, determined by a vote of select members of the Baseball Writers Association of America, will be revealed Wednesday during a one-hour television show, 5 p.m. on MLB Network.
Dickey and Price already have won the Players Choice award as the top pitchers in their respective leagues, as determined by members of the Major League Players Association.
Dickey can become the first knuckleballer ever to win the award, and Price has the chance to be the first player in Rays’ history to win one of the sport’s most prominent performance awards (Cy Young and Most Valuable Player).
“What kid doesn't want to win a Cy Young, right?” he said. “So I'm hopeful we'll get a shot at it."
He has a chance, all right. As he pointed out, it’s one-in-three.
A look at the finalists in each league:
• R.A. Dickey, New York Mets: He led the N.L. in strikeouts (230), complete games (five), innings pitched (227.2), shutouts (three) and quality starts (27). He was second in both wins (20) and earned-run average (2.73). Perhaps most impressively, he had a 76.9 winning percentage (20-6) on a team that won 46 percent of its games for the season.
• Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals: He finished with a Major League-best 21 wins and had a lot to do with the fact that the Nationals had the best record in baseball, particularly after Stephen Strasburg was pulled from the rotation. He struck out 207 and walked just 79 in 199.1 innings. He is his franchise’s first 20-game winner since 1978, when it was the Montreal Expos.
• Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: Skeptics will be turned off by the fact that he had just 14 wins, but his 2.53 ERA was 0.20 better than any other N.L. pitcher and was second to Dickey in strikeouts by one (229). Perhaps most important, he made it tough for opposing hitters to get on base. He allowed a league-best 6.720 hits per nine innings and was first with a 1.023 WHIP (walks/hits per innings pitcher).
• David Price, Tampa Bay Rays: From start to finish, he was plenty good as evidenced by the fact that he led the A.L. in wins (20) and ERA (2.56) and was sixth with 205 strikeouts. He was even better down the stretch when his team was in the thick of the playoff chase: He was 9-1 and allowed more than three runs just once in 15 appearances after the All-Star break.
• Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers: He finished 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA but led all Major League pitchers with 239 strikeouts and 238.1 innings pitched. As the ace of the eventual American League champions he was just as good against teams with winning records (2.63 ERA) as those with losing marks (2.66) and even better late in games based on strikeout-to-walk ratio and opponents’ average against.
• Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels: He matched Price with a 20-5 record and his team won three of the five games he pitched without a decision. His 1.02 WHIP led the league and his 2.81 ERA was third behind Price and Verlander.