The top pitchers in the National League this season have come from some unlikely places.
Dickey's progression from hot-shot prospect to middling reliever to knuckleball wizard is the type off story that makes baseball the greatest game. Dickey reached a crossroads after washing out of the Texas Rangers' bullpen several years ago. He dedicated himself to mastering the knuckleball and the New York Mets and their fans are awfully grateful. Dickey leads the National League with 12 wins, three complete games, and two shutouts.
Cueto has been the best pitcher for the National League Central-leading Cincinnati Reds. The 26-year-old right-hander is following up on a stellar 2011 campaign. Cueto is 10-5 with a 2.39 ERA in 18 starts for the Reds. He has allowed just five home runs in more than 120 innings pitched. Cueto was snubbed by former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa for an All-Star selection but may end up having the last laugh.
Gonzalez has been nothing short of sensational in his first season with the Nationals. He and Stephen Strasburg have formed a dominant combination that's propelled the Nationals to the top of the standings. Strasburg is also having a terrific season, but he is expected to be shut down for the season sometime in early September -- a move that will likely cost him a chance to win the Cy Young Award. Gonzalez currently leads the NL with 12 wins. He's allowed just three home runs and compiled a 1.10 WHIP in 18 starts.
Two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum has struggled this season for the Giants. Matt Cain has helped pick up the slack. The 27-year-old Cain is 10-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 18 starts for San Francisco. Cain tossed a perfect game earlier this season and recently started the All-Star game for the National League. The Giants rewarded Cain with a six year $127.5 million contract extension in spring training.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of the National League's biggest surprises this season. Andrew McCutchen has led the offense, while McDonald has developed into a No. 1 starter. The 27-year-old McDonald is 9-3 with a 2.56 ERA in 18 starts. The former Dodgers farmhand has allowed just 84 hits and fanned 102 in 114 2/3 innings.
*Information gathered from http://www.baseball-reference.com