First, before I start, I'd like to thank lboros again for taking me onto the VEB team. I enjoy writing here, and I love the community here.
Mr. Chris Carpenter is taking the mound for St. Louis this afternoon. I have never been one to moderate my joy at watching him pitch, and watching him develop from reclamation project to Cy Young winner has been one of the best storylines of this recent run of Cardinals teams.
Today, I want to take a quick and dirty look at some of the NL Cy Young candidates to see how Chris stacks up. Let's look at Carp, Josh Johnson, Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, Jason Schmidt and Bronson Arroyo. All of them are within half a point of each other in ERA, and have wildly variant K rates
So, at first glance, what you see is a pretty clear case in Carpenter's favor, with perhaps Josh Johnson getting a chance to sneak into the debate--Carp leads in pretty much every category except for the K-rate and the K/BB. The leaders in those two different categories, however, are two different guys (Oswalt and Johnson), and Carp's having pitched 40 more innings than Johnson would lead me to favor him over him (though I think this is the year that a pitcher deserves the ROY award). Let's look a little deeper, though, and start to investigate some of the sabrmetric things, as well, as a little favorite of mine when investigating pitchers (particularly in the context of the pitch-to-contact nonsense), pitch efficiency:
Carp still comes out pretty good looking after this. He has an absolutely absurd OPS against, and the highest availible VORP (PECOTA had no listing for Johnson[Edit: it is now added, thanks RedbirdRay]). Unsuprisingly, he got a lot of help from the Cardinal offense, but somewhat more suprisingly, Johnson and Arroyo got equally much help from their relatively poorly regarded defenses. The thing that I most love about Carp, though (other than the dominance), is the extreme efficiency with which he works. He is second in the majors in pitches per IP, with only Maddux (13.6!) ahead of him. Webb, the other groundballer, throws about the same number of pitches per inning, and the rest are pretty significantly behind. Anyway, the amazing thing that's visible, after looking at this, is how much Carp excels in every area of pitching. He is #1 or #2 out of the candidates in pretty much every category, across the board. After looking at these numbers, I find it very hard to argue that, right now, anyone else is really the frontrunner for the Cy Young. Perhaps you could make a defense-based argument for Oswalt. And, of course, the last month of the season will have something to say about all this. But for now, I say that CC is the frontrunner.