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2018 Cy Dunn Award: Who was the best position-playing pitcher this season?

Art via Tom Forget / MLB.com

MLB's award season is here. While pundits will argue over who deserves the MVP, the Rookie of the Year or the Cy Young -- there's a new award in town that's bigger, and perhaps more prestigious, than them all.

The Cy Dunn.

Yes, the award for the best position-player pitcher, named after position-player-pitching legend Adam Dunn.

OK, so it's not a real award, but because a record 48 position players pitched this season, we decided we needed to recognize at least one of them for their brave efforts on the mound. Maybe they'll get a nice long phone call from The Big Donkey? Maybe he'll send some flowers? I don't know, he knows nothing about any of this.

Anyway, because it's named after Dunn, we wanted the performance to more or less mirror his outing back in 2014: Minimal damage, a touch of style and, most importantly, lots of fun. Here are the five candidates we narrowed the 2018 list down to. Please vote for your choice in the poll at the bottom of the page. The first annual Cy Dunn Award winner will be announced (by us on Twitter) on Wednesday, Nov. 14 alongside the Cy Young.

Anthony Rizzo

Although he only threw one-third of an inning, nobody had more fun than Rizzo did when he was called to the bump during a July 23 game against the D-backs. The smile never left his face.

 

He threw just two pitches -- both at Little League-level speeds -- retiring A.J. Pollock on a fly ball to end the inning. After the game, Rizzo said: "I got to do what I wanted to do. A lot of fun and a career zero ERA now." 

Efficient and so much fun, the only thing going against the Cubs first baseman was the briefness of his outing.

Pablo Sandoval

If Sandoval continues putting up performances like he did in 2018, the award could be changed so that it's named for him instead (it's not real so we can do that).

The Giants third baseman turned in an electric inning of work -- showing off a mid-80's fastball and delighting every single person in the ballpark. He induced three straight groundouts while giving up zero runs:

Even the Dodgers couldn't help but smile:

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Well, except for Chris Taylor when whiffing on this nasty curveball:

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Perfection from Pablo.

Alex Blandino

You may not have known who Blandino was before July 11, 2018 -- the day he pitched an inning against the Indians. His fluttering, mystifying, break-your-brain knuckleball probably helped change that real quick:

The Reds utilityman struck out two and allowed one hit and zero runs in his mound debut -- hitting close to 90 mph with some of his fastballs. A fantastic combination of success and style (check out those socks) that Dunn, a former Red, would surely approve of. 

Matt Davidson

Let's be honest: Matt Davidson should be a pitcher -- there's even talk that he's training for the position this winter. He should stop playing first or third or wherever he thinks he should play and just join the White Sox's starting rotation. He might actually win that other pitching award the BBWAA gives out.

The 27-year-old took the mound three separate times in 2018, giving up zero runs and just one hit in three innings of work. He walked one and struck out two -- even making 2017 MVP Giancarlo Stanton look like a pitcher-playing-hitter during a game against the Yankees.

His fastball is in the low-90s, he loves pitching and, well, he's basically Babe Ruth.


Erik Kratz

At 38 years of age, Kratz's career as a backup catcher might soon come to a conclusion. Fortunately, he has a second life as a 40-year-old knuckleballer:

Like Davidson, Kratz pitched on three separate occasions for the Brewers, showing off his dancing knuckler against multiple batters:



And 2018 wasn't Kratz's first rodeo: The journeyman has pitched two other times in his career, once for the Astros and another time for the Pirates. He holds a solid 3.60 ERA over five innings with three strikeouts and one walk. That's a 153 ERA+, third all-time behind Clayton Kershaw and Mariano Rivera (if he put up the same numbers for another 1,000 innings). Of course, career stats don't matter for the 2018 Cy Dunn (again, a fake award), but we're just saying.

So, who will it be? Who will be honored with the vaunted Cy Dunn this season? Please vote in the poll below (or tweet us @Cut4 with any write-in candidates you enjoyed watching).