Some years, there is a clear cut choice for the Cy Young Award, as was the case in the American League in 2011 when the Tigers' Justin Verlander won.
The 2012 National League Cy Young Award is the exact opposite of Verlander's 2011 victory.
Several candidates have a legitimate claim as to why they should win the award for the league's top pitcher.
Even the most dominant pitcher the last two months of the season, the Braves' Kris Medlen, did not make this list.
Here are the top five National League Cy Young candidates.
Though he is a reliever, Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman has to be in the discussion for the N.L. Cy Young.
Chapman was absolutely dominant in 2012, recording 38 saves while striking out 122 in 71.2 innings.
Add to that a 1.51 ERA and 0.809 WHIP, and you get one of the most unhittable pitchers of the years.
2011 National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kersaw is in the running to win the award for the second straight year.
Even though the Los Angeles Dodgers ace wasn't as good as last year, he still had an exceptional season, posting a 2.53 ERA and 1.023 WHIP with 229 strikeouts.
In a wide open race this year, Kershaw could become the first repeat winner since the Giants' Tim Lincecum did it in 2008-2009.
3. Gio Gonzalez
Though some will say he wasn't even the best pitcher on his own team, Washington Nationals' pitcher Gio Gonzalez was one of the league's finest in 2012.
In his first year in Washington, Gonzalez post league leading ratios of 0.4 HR/9 and 9.3 K/9, while also leading the league in wins with 21.
Gonzalez rounds out his resume with a sub-3.00 ERA and a 1.129 WHIP, giving him a great shot at going home with the award.
2. R.A. Dickey
New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey may have had the best season of any knuckleballer in the history of baseball in 2012.
Dickey led the league in several categories, including innings, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts.
Dickey also finished with a record of 20-6, and at one point in the season pitched back-to-back one-hitters.
Dickey's knuckleball was a thing of beauty in 2012, and he will most certainly receive many first place votes.
As great as Dickey's 2012 season was, Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel had a record breaking season that no one has ever matched.
Besides leading the league in saves, Kimbrel posted a 1.01 ERA and an unheard of 0.654 WHIP.
Kimbrel also posted ratios of 16.9 K/9 and 8.29 K/BB, and batters hit just .126 with a .358 OPS against him in 2012.
Kimbrel also had a 0.78 FIP and struck out 116 of 231 hitters for a 50.2% K rate. Both of those ratios are the best of all time.
A reliever must have an exceptional season in order to win the Cy Young, and Kimbrel's 2012 season is just that, giving him a chance to be the first reliever since the Dodgers' Eric Gagne in 2003 to win the award.
Joey Hnath is a resident of metro Atlanta and has been covering MLB since 2011.