Who’s the best Cy Young candidate on the Braves?

                ERA   GS   CG   ShO      IP    W-L
Tom Glavine    3.62   31    3     1   214.0   19-7
Greg Maddux    3.09   32    6     3   230.1   17-8

As I write this, I don’t have updated
or VORP data. Suffice
to say Greg Maddux has extended his lead over Tom Glavine
since the last time we had this discussion, and is still the best pitcher
on the Braves’ staff. The only thing Glavine has over him is wins, a
statistic that reflects run support and bullpen support as much as it does
pitcher performance.

I confess, I am not just an impartial analyst in this matter. Greg
is my favorite pitcher; I love watching him, and I often
reconfigure my schedule to watch him pitch. I know he’s not the best
pitcher in the league this season–Randy Johnson is–but if we’re
giving away Cy Young Awards to undeserving pitchers, can we at least get
the right one?

The BBWAA got it right in 1999, picking the better pitcher over the one
with more wins. They got it wrong as recently as 1996, though, when John
won instead of Kevin Brown, who was the best pitcher in
the NL by a fair amount. There’s a very real chance they’re going to get it
wrong again this year. Here’s hoping they don’t.

Speaking of pitchers who were really, really good in 1992, check out this
performance since a disabled-list trip in June:

                 ERA   GS     IP    W-L
                2.41   15   97.0    9-0

This Roger Clemens guy can pitch a little. Clemens has allowed just
two runs in his last four starts and, if not for that Pedro guy,
would be the favorite to win his sixth Cy Young Award. He’ll be the
Yankees’ #1 starter in the playoffs, setting up the possibility that he and
Martinez could reprise their May 28 duel in October.

Among analysts, Clemens’s greatness is taken for granted. He’s one of the
ten best pitchers ever, a first-ballot, inner-circle Hall of Famer. I can’t
help but think that he’s never really gotten his full due from fans or the
media, though. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t have a run, like Maddux from
1992 to 1995, that gave his career a discernable peak. Clemens won five Cy
Young Awards over a 13-year period, but never more than two in a row (a
feat he accomplished twice). His best seasons follow a similar pattern.

I’d like to see Clemens continue his phenomenal performance into the 2000
postseason. He doesn’t need the accolades, but if he were to have a four
start stretch like he’s just had with everyone paying attention, it might
finally seal his image in everyone’s mind.

Joe Sheehan can be reached at