Thursday, November 14, 2013

Scherzer and Kershaw Take The Pitching Top Honor

In an ballot that didn't surprise too many Baseball people and fans, Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers claimed the 2013 American and National League Cy Young Awards, respectively. Scherzer won the award in a landslide with 28 out of 30 first place votes for a total of 203 points. Kershaw's second Cy Young Award came in the form of an outstanding 29 out of 30 first place votes for 207 points.

The talk of Scherzer benefiting from tremendous run support thereby damaging his Cy Young chances proved to be for naught. Scherzer, who was predicted to win the award by the recently retired Tim McCarver amid laughs, finished the season with a 21-3 record with a 2.90 ERA and a league leading WHIP of 0.970. In 32 games started Scherzer struck out league second best 240 batters (Yu Darvish 277) with only walking 56 and giving up 152 hits in 214.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters hit .198. In doing so, Scherzer became the sixth pitcher since 1900 to finish the season the season with 20+ wins and 3 losses or less joining Cliff Lee (2008 Indians 22-3), Roger Clemens (2001 Yankees 20-3), David Cone (1988 Mets 20-3), Ron Guidry (1978 Yankees 25-3) and Preacher Roe (1951 Dodgers 22-3). Scherzer is also the fourth member of the Detroit Tigers to win the American League Cy Young Award along with teammate Justin Verlander (2011), Denny McClain (1968, 1969) and Willie Hernandez (1984).

The AL Cy Young vote is also interesting since the other runner ups were Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma. Both pitchers started their careers in the Nippon Professional Baseball League (NPB) with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (Darvish) and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes and the Rakuten Golden Eagles (Iwakuma). NPB alum Koji Uehara also received second and third place votes for his dominating performance for the Red Sox in their run for the World Series. Their performance will only help to put to rest the misconception that the Japanese league pitchers can't perform at the perceived higher level of the Major Leagues and their different sized ball. It should be interesting to see how the performances of Darvish, Iwakuma and Uehara affect the posting and bidding for pitchers like Masahiro Tanaka of the Rakutan Golden Eagles this offseason.

In the National League, Kershaw made history in becoming the second Los Angeles Dodger pitcher to win multiple Cy Young Awards joining Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965 and 1966). Kershaw now has two Cy Young Awards in only his sixth season at the Major League level. Kershaw did so in dominating fashion by ranking first in ERA (1.83), WAR (7.9), WHIP (0.915) and strikeouts (232) and finishing second in innings pitched (236). Kershaw finished with a 16-9 record with a 1.83 ERA and a WHIP 0.915. He struckout 232 batters while walking only 52 and giving up 164 hits in 236 innings pitched. Kershaw has lead the National League in ERA and WHIP for the third straight season.

In winning his second Cy Young award, Kershaw joins Roy Halladay (2003, 2010), Tim Lincecum (2008, 2009) and Johan Santana (2004, 2006) as the only active pitchers with multiple Cy Young awards. Adam Wainright came in second in the Cy Young voting with young superstars Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey coming in third and fifth respectively.

Kershaw is among the eight(1956), Don Drysdale (1962), Mike Marshall (1974), Fernando Valenzuela (1981), Orel Hershiser (1988) and Eric Gagne in (2003)
Dodger pitchers to have won the Cy Young awards. Along with the aforementioned three time winner Sandy Koufax you have Don Newcombe

The only award left is the American and National League Most Valuable League awards. Where I've felt that the end-year voting has not been surprising, I believe that the National League MVP award will be the surprising one. I think that either Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamonbacks or Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates will win the award over Yadier Molina. We'll see after 6pm my prediction comes true or if Yadier Molina is the 2013 National League MVP. In the American League, I believe Miguel Cabrera will become the first repeat American League MVP since Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox won the award in 1993 and 1994.

Sisco Kid.

For Further Reading
- Click Here to access Max Scherzer's career statistics from Baseball Reference
- Click Here to access Clayton Kershaw's career statistics from Baseball Reference
- Click Here to access the breakdown of the American League Cy Young vote from the BBWAA website
- Click Here to access the breakdown of the National League Cy Young vote from the BBWAA website