The National League Central is arguably the best division in all of baseball. From top to bottom every team is ready to compete as the race will come down to the wire. While Clayton Kershaw doesn’t pitch in the Central, there are still plenty of quality arms in the division. Here is a look at five players who could win the Cy Young from the Central.
5. Kyle Lohse
Minus a final tune up, Lohse has been outstanding for the Milwaukee Brewers this spring. Pitching in the final year of his contract and as the newly appointed ace, he will be out to prove his worth. So far throughout his two year Brewers career, he has been the most steady pitcher on the roster, posting a 3.45 ERA. He was in the running for the Cy Young in 2012 when he finished the year with a 2.86 ERA and a 16-3 record and though he is not a big name like many other aces, this could be the year he brings home the award.
4. Gerrit Cole
Cole has yet to get credit for it, but he has the talent to be one of the best pitchers in the game. Through two seasons he has gone 21-12 with a 3.45 ERA. With high strikeout potential and a fiery attitude, Cole not only has potential to be the ace in Pittsburgh, but to also dominate the whole league. At just 24-years-old Cole’s name will be mentioned on this list for a long-time.
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3. Wily Peralta
While Lohse is the opening day starter for the Brewers, Peralta has the most talent. Last season, Peralta went 17-11 and with better run support he could have won 20 games. With one of the hardest fastballs in all of baseball, Peralta in never a good draw for an opposing team. No longer a secret, he will prove that his strong 2014 was no fluke as he again takes his game to a new level in 2015.
2. Johnny Cueto
Last season, the Reds’ Cueto was flat out unhittable and this year in a contract year he will again be relied upon. Though he finished the year with 20 wins, he could have had four or five more with better run support. As a one man show in Cincinnati, Cueto finished the year with a 2.25 ERA, allowing just 61 runs all year. This season he enters opening day with a healthy roster around him. He finished second in the voting last season and while he may not play on a contending team, he will again find himself as one of the top pitchers in the league.
Wainwright has always been Cy Young contender, but he has never won the award. Throughout his nine year career he has 119 wins and an ERA just over three. With a knee-buckling bender and a team that always backs him up, Wainwright is not only the top arm in the Central, but one of the top in the entire league. He has entered the season with health question marks, but a strong start can quickly put those doubts to rest.