If there's one reason we rarely see a pitcher win a Most Valuable Player Award, that reason is likely because they have an award only players of their kind can win in the Cy Young Award.
This season's races for the award are tight in both leagues with a couple of surprising players leading the charge in VORP among American League pitchers. Let's take a look:
There has been a lot of negativity expressed in the sabermetric community regarding the White Sox decision to extend Mark Buehrle, even if they did sign him at a below market rate. While I agree in the fact he's not the type of pitcher that projects well in the long term, he's having one heck of a comeback season. His VORP of 46.7 runs is tied for second best in the American League and his WARP1 is right up there with Haren's and Bedard's.
For those of you who like WARP however, Johan Santana is the favorite to win the Cy Young Award in the A.L. (as if that's the first time that phrase has ever been muttered).
His WARP1 is nearly one full win better than the pitcher right behind him in Dan Haren despite the fact he "only" has 12 wins on the season.
A sleeper pick? Seattle's J.J. Putz leads the major leagues in WXRL (5.376) and WPA (4.42) and he's been the most effective Mariners pitcher in terms of VORP (27.2), giving you an idea just how awesome he has been out of the bullpen this season. We don't see relief pitchers win the Cy Young Award a whole lot, but if the Mariners end up making the postseason he's a guy that should get some recognition.
Let's move over to the National League:
A Cy Young Award repeat for Arizona's Brandon Webb?
Seems unlikely given just how effective the Padres' Jake Peavy has been this season. He leads all award candidates in both VORP and WARP1. He's my pick here.
A sleeper in the N.L.? The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano doesn't place in the top ten in VORP quite yet, but he's been outstanding since June 6th pitching 87.1 innings and posting a 2.06 ERA. He's also upped his VORP by nearly 40 runs since then as well. If he continues to dominate, he's a guy that's going to climb the latter very quickly.