1) Roy Halladay
2) Josh Johnson
5) Tim Lincecum
There is no doubt that Halladay was the best pitcher in the NL. But rate-wise, Josh Johnson was actually more impressive. Add-in the 250 innings, Halladay passes Johnson though, due to only 183 innings pitched by the Marlins right-hander. Halladay has a case for MVP (picked him 3rd). And if he is the most valuable pitcher, then he is also the Cy Young winner. That, I know.
Josh Johnson was awesome in his own right, however. 183 innings could have earned him the Cy Young (well, the Statistician Magician's "Hypothetical Cy Young"). But Halladay was simply better, based on throwing 67 additional innings. I have no problem giving a Cy Young award to a pitcher who throws 183 innings -- or an MVP for that matter -- but they simply have to have the most total value. 183 innings pitched, with the rate numbers of Pedro Martinez circa 1999, well, that could have been good enough. Josh Johnson, while great, falls short though. But he left an impression on the baseball world this year, as no one will be forgetting his name anytime soon.
Wainwright has a case. But I decided upon 3rd. He tossed 235 awesome innings, with a 2.42 ERA and a 2.86 FIP. Kept the ball on the ground with the best of them, and ultimately posted his 2nd consecutive Cy Young caliber season. These are the types of seasons that should be tallied up with regards to one's Hall of Fame candidacy and such. Not simply adding up the inaccurate subjective of past Cy Young voters. Or using some kind of cut-off on total WAR in a season or something of that nature, would be sufficient as well.
Everyone's favorite mid-season Cy Young candidate -- Ubaldo Jimenez -- fell short, coming in third. A low "Batting average on balls in play (Or BABIP, as Bill James likes to call it) helped him some. But it wasn't so low that we have to question his candidacy. His .273 BABIP was low, but his peripherals were great nonetheless. Jimenez struck out well over 8, walked under 4 -- which is still a tad high, even with his strikeout ability. And he kept the ball in a park, that in the past, hasn't exactly been an easy thing to do. That is the other thing...he pitched in Colorado. And while it may be a thing of the past to truly benefit from the thin air, it still might be helping some, while hurting others (Pitchers?).
I will tell you this; Coming up with the number 5 spot on this ballot, was the most difficult decision I had out of all four of my ballots thus far. My conclusion: Tim Lincecum. He led the league in K/9, and that is obviously very important. Lincecum suffered from a high BABIP; .324. Which led to a higher ERA than normal -- for him. But fundamentally, he was still a very, very good pitcher. Great, even. The top five on this ballot however, paralleled the top five in fWAR over at Fangraphs. Something I did not intend to do, and actually do not fell comfortable doing -- since it makes me question my reliance on the metric. Nevertheless, this was the order. There are a few other acceptable substitutes for fifth, but again, Lincecum was my choice.
What matters is Halladay, anything else is just shuffling for 2nd place.