Travis Wood should be a contender to win the 2013 National League Cy Young Award.
Before you immediately discount that statement, I will admit that there is no way Wood deserves to win the Cy Young this year. But he deserves consideration to finish in the top 10 (or very least, top 20) in voting.
The Cubs’ lone All-Star is a mere 7-9 this season, but if you look past Wood’s record, he has a 3.00 ERA (13th best in the NL) and a 1.10 WHIP (tied for 11th in the NL). Wood’s play has been one of the only bright spots for the Cubs this season, something that is overlooked because of the poor run support he receives from his teammates. The Cubs have only scored 465 runs this season, the eighth-worst in MLB.
A better indicator of Wood’s performance comes from the number of quality starts he has had this year. A quality start is defined as being an outing in which the starting pitcher completes six innings while giving up three or fewer earned runs. Wood has 20 quality starts, tied for the second most in the majors with the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright and the Diamondbacks’ Patrick Corbin. Only the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw has pitched more quality starts (21) this year. Wood has suffered a loss in six quality starts this season, tied for the second most “tough losses” in MLB.
You can’t help but feel bad for Wood. He’s even pulled his weight at the plate, hitting three homers (the most by any pitcher) while driving in eight runs (tied for first among pitchers) this season, yet his teammates haven’t helped him out any.
Another stat sabermetricians would love is Wood’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of 3.2, the 13th best among NL pitchers and the best among pitchers with a losing record. Wood baffles opposing hitters as they are batting only .213 against him, the sixth best opponent batting average in the NL. The stats just keep piling up for Wood as you dig further and further into his résumé.
Clearly, Travis Wood will not win the NL Cy Young Award this year. Kershaw and the Mets’ Matt Harvey are much more deserving of that honor. The purpose of this column was to shine a light on Wood’s performance this season, something that has gone under the radar for most fans. The fact he receives some of the worst run support in the majors should not keep him from receiving the recognition he deserves.