Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NL Cy Young Award winner: Tim Lincecum

While I did not predict him during the original predictions, I did have him predicted at midseason. During my postseason predictions, I said it would be him or Brandom Webb. So, for the NL Cy Young award, I'm 2 for 3 this season.

Tim Lincecum has been called "The Freak," "The Franchise" and "Seabiscuit."
Now he can be called something else: The National League's Cy Young Award winner.

The Giants right-hander earned the prestigious honor, emblematic of the league's best pitcher, in voting conducted by the Baseball Writers' Association of America and announced Tuesday.

Lincecum received 23 of 32 first-place votes, seven second-place votes and one third-place vote for 137 points, which were assigned on a 5-3-1 basis. He outdistanced Arizona's Brandon Webb (73 points), the New York Mets' Johan Santana (55), Philadelphia's Brad Lidge (10), Milwaukee's CC Sabathia (9) and the Chicago Cubs' Ryan Dempster (4).

Lincecum became only the second Giant to capture the Cy Young, joining 1967 winner Mike McCormick, and the first second-year player to earn the distinction since right-handers Dwight Gooden of the Mets and Bret Saberhagen of Kansas City secured the 1985 awards in their respective leagues.

At 24, Lincecum already has earned a place in Giants lore alongside Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry, San Francisco's Hall of Fame right-handers. Marichal somehow never received a Cy Young first-place vote in his six 20-win seasons, and Perry twice won the award after leaving the Giants.

Despite Lincecum's sustained excellence, he faced formidable competition for the award. Santana's 2.53 ERA led the NL, Webb's 22 victories paced the league, Sabathia performed in otherworldly fashion after being traded from Cleveland (11-2, 1.65 ERA) and Lidge converted all 41 of his regular-season save opportunities.

But none of them matched Lincecum's overall dominance. He compiled a league-best .783 winning percentage with his 18-5 record and amassed 265 strikeouts to become the first Giant in baseball's modern era (since 1900) to earn that distinction. Against Lincecum, opponents hit .221 overall and .167 with runners in scoring position while averaging 7.22 hits per nine innings -- all league lows. And his 2.62 ERA was the NL's second best.

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