When talking about the favorites to win the National League Cy Young Award, the most common names mentioned are Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, and Adam Wainwright.

Jimenez and Halladay have one no-no each to add to their resumés, and Johnson and Wainwright have been lights-out all year. All four of these pitchers have more than 150 strikeouts and over 8 K’s per 9 innings.

Who would’ve thought that a 35-year old sinkerballer, just two years after reconstructive elbow surgery, would be amongst these strikeout machines in the Cy Young race?

Atlanta Braves ace Tim Hudson has won each of his past five starts, while allowing only two earned runs in 36 2/3 innings (0.49 ERA). His 2.13 ERA on the season is the second best in the Majors and his 14 wins is the fourth most in the National League.

What gives the advantage to Hudson over all of the other candidates?  Hudson’s masterful pitching has put his team in first place. The ace of the Braves’ staff has shutdown opponents all year and in the middle of a heated pennant race, Hudson gives his team a chance to win every time he is on the mound.

The key to Hudson’s success is ground balls. Hudson leads all Major League starting pitchers in ground ball to fly ball ratio (1.95) and opposing batters have a miniscule .293 slugging percentage against Hudson, the lowest against any starting pitcher in baseball.

Some would say that Hudson’s success is due to luck, given his league-lowest BIPA of .219, but the flawed statistic of Balls In Play Average can not trump the dazzling ERA and the fact that Hudson has allowed more than four runs only one time in his 24 starts.

Regardless of the fact that luck may occasionally be on his side, Hudson’s strikeout rate has climbed to almost five whiffs per nine innings since June, and his walk rate has decreased every month of the season.

Hudson is a legitimate candidate to win this year’s Cy Young Award and with a strong outing in his next start against the last-place Washington Nationals, he could easily become the favorite.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com