CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 15: Johnny Cueto #47 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on during the game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Great American Ball Park on July 15, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cueto missed his scheduled start because of an injury. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
No Reds' pitcher has ever won the Cy Young Award. And Reds fans don't find themselves monitoring the race very often lately. Bronson Arroyo got one vote in 2010. The last Red to finish in the Top 5 in voting was Aaron Harang (4th, 2007). That's it for this Century.
While Tom Seaver's '81 campaign came closest, there have been 17 full seasons by Reds in the 55-year history of the Award to finish in the Top 5 in Cy Young voting, with several second-place finishes.
- Aaron Harang, 2007 (4th)
- Pete Schourek, 1995 (2nd)
- Jose Rijo, 1993 (5th)
- Jose Rijo, 1991 (4th, 1 first place vote)
- Randy Meyers, 1990 (5th)
- Danny Jackson, 1988 (2nd)
- Mario Soto, 1983 (2nd, 2 first place votes)
- Tom Seaver, 1981 (2nd, 8 first place votes)
- Mario Soto, 1980 (5th, tie)
- Tom Seaver, 1979 (4th)
- Rawly Eastwick, 1976 (5th)
- Don Gullett, 1975 (5th)
- Jack Billingham, 1973 (4th, 2 first place votes)
- Clay Carroll & Gary Nolan, 1972 (5th - tie)
- Jim Merritt, 1970 (4th)
- Bob Purkey, 1962 (3rd, 1 first place vote)
Three Reds' pitchers received votes in 1970 (Merritt, Nolan, Granger) and in '74 (Gullett, Carroll, Billingham).
I have to admit, I will not be crestfallen if Johnny Cueto loses out on the NL Cy Young to R.A. Dickey. Dickey is one of my favorite non-Reds, especially after I listened to this very thoughtful and affecting interview. Given a tight race, Dickey's age and relatively fewer chances left to win - even as an evergreen knuckleballer - could be a tie-breaker.
Of course, I'd always rather see my team's player win. And if Cueto's case was open-shut, I'd get lathered up about him losing. Yet while everyone was pronouncing Johnny dead after his rough start to September, I don't think he is.
It should be said that it's two-headed race either. Gio and Clayton Kershaw are right there (even if Kershaw doesn't return, he's still over 200 IP. ). And it's really hard for me to laugh off Kyle Lohse at this point:
Cueto's case still largely hangs on the fact that he's pitched so well in such a hitter-friendly park. He should also get some credit for being the best in the majors at controlling the running game. In ERA+, pick-offs and Caught Stealing rates, Cueto is unmatched.
But you can make the argument that Cueto has had more help from his defense than some of these other guys. He also lags in traditional pitching stats: raw ERA, Ks and Ws. Along with Dickey, he has 18 wins to Gio's 19.
In a clear-eyed look, Dickey and Kershaw are probably, if very slightly, more deserving. Gio would also be a perfectly non-controversial pick. It will all depend on how this year's pool of writers weight the numbers and narratives, but Cueto simply isn't out of the race by any stretch.
He's pitched a Cy Young-worthy season.