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Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez: 2016 National League Cy Young candidate

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Scott Kane-USA TODAY Sports

To celebrate Labor Day, let's send out our psychic energies and make a couple of Unsubstantiated Predictions regarding the 2016 Cy Young Award winners.

For the National League, we will predict that Carlos Martinez of the St. Louis Cardinals will take a large step forward, building on his successful 2015 transition to the starting role. So far this year he's gone 13-7, 3.04 with a 161/57 K/BB in 160 innings, 3.30 FIP, 2.9 fWAR. We note that despite the switch in roles his strikeout rate has risen this year, going from 7.62 to 8.46 to 9.08 over the last three seasons. His walk rate has declined slightly while the Ks have increased, obviously a good thing.

We will predict that he takes another step forward in 2016, handling a 200+ inning workload while lowering his ERA/FIP well into the twos. Strikeout rate will remain in the 9.00 area but his walks will decline further and he won't give up as many home runs. He will also get lots of run support.

Overall Martinez goes 22-5, 2.29 ERA, with 210 strikeouts and 44 walks in 209 innings. He leads the league in wins and ERA, ranks second in FIP, second in strikeouts, and second in fWAR. He'll throw a no-hitter in a crucial pennant race game against the Cubs down the stretch, part of a critical 29-inning scoreless streak that helps push the Cardinals into the post-season again. This keeps him in the mind of voters and helps Martinez narrowly defeat Clayton Kershaw in the Cy Young Award voting.

A totally unsubstantiated prediction. But does it sound plausible?