1) Danny Haren- Diamonbacks 7-5 2.19 era 208 era+
If Haren was playing for a team that was even somewhat good and/or played defense above a little league level, he would be getting a lot more Cy Young award talk. He's having his best year by far which is impressive considering he's already a two-time All Star. When you have an ERA that is less than half the league average--something special is going on....too bad it's just happening for a team that's happens to not be very good this year.
2) Adam Dunn-Nationals .260/.396./.528 142 OPS+
Adam Dunn is doing what he's always done. Hit for a pedestrian average, draw lots of walks, strike out a lot and hit lots of homers. Dunn is iconic in his own way for being one of the greatest 3TO (Three True Outcomes) players of all time.....a little over half of his plate appearances have ended with either a walk, strikeout or home run this year.
The only difference this year is instead of doing this for a 75-win Reds team, he's doing it for a historically bad Nationals team.
3) Cliff Lee- Indians 4-7 3.39 132 OPS+
Last year's reigning Cy Young Award winner is definitely not winning 20+ games again. Unlike most pitchers who go 4-7, it's not because Cliff Lee is not a good pitcher. He's still putting up staff ace numbers, he's just not getting offensive help behind him.
It looks as though Cleveland's run of bad luck in sports has spread to their ace pitcher....(well at least until they trade him).
4) George Sherill Orioles 0-1 1.99 era 229 ERA+
Amongst the multitude of players Baltimore got for Eric Bedard. He was an all-star last year but struggled towards the end.
This year, he is putting up a largely unnoticed monster season as Baltimore's closer. While there ain't many leads to finish off these days...years....decades in Baltimore, when the opportunity has come up this year he has definitely stepped up.
5) Ryan Zimmerman- Nationals- .301/.371.500 128 OPS +
In a weird twist of irony, the team that's far and away the worst (even by last-place team standards) is the one that got two representatives on this list.
While Dunn is putting up a better season, Zimmerman is more or less the face of an otherwise atrocious Nationals team. His highlight of 08/09 was a 30-game hitting streak is the longest seen in baseball since '06. While there were those left off that had an edge statistically, this is more of a lifetime achievement award for Zimmerman's ability to still play well even when surrounded by the Double A caliber "talent" that is pervasive throughout the Nationals roster.
Also receiving consideration: Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Brad Bergesen, Victor Martinez, Shin Choo-Choo, Matt Holiday, Dallas Braden, Andrew Bailey, John Lannan, Adam LaRoche, Zach Duke, Justin Upton, Doug Davis