Kershaw is the sleeper in this race. If he wins today, his record goes to 14-9. He could possibly pass Dickey for the lead in strikeouts, and it looks like he will already win the ERA title. He also leads the league in WHIP. He’s worth 5.8 Baseball Reference WAR, which is the highest among NL pitchers. Johnny Cueto is second at 5.7, and Dickey third at 5.5. The BBWAA hasn’t yet fully embraced WAR, so that may not be a huge factor, especially since there is scant separation between those three pitchers.
Gio Gonzalez has his 21 wins, but not much else. Matt Cain should get some votes after his outstanding year. Kyle Lohse has a terrific winning percentage, but the BBWAA has trended away from wins and losses as a measure of Cy Young greatness over the past couple of years.
Dickey is second in wins, second in ERA, first in innings pitched and strikeouts. He also averages 7.1 innings per start, which is a rarity these days. His 5 complete games and 3 shutouts continue to lead the NL.
Dickey’s greatest threat may be from the bullpen. Craig Kimbrel has been nothing but dominant this year. He has an 8.7 K/BB ratio and an a 16.5 K/9 ratio, which are both staggering. Unlike Eric Gagne, who won the Cy Young out of the bullpen in 2003, Kimbrel didn’t convert all of his save opportunities. That may cost him, since a reliever always has an uphill climb toward winning the Cy Young, anyway.