Thursday, November 13, 2014

2014 Cy Young Award Winners

I had mentioned to someone yesterday whether in the Cy Young Award voting we would see an upset and/or the favored choices winning the trophy. Well folks, we got a bit of both when the announcement for the awards came down from the Baseball Writers of America's mountain. Here goes.

- 2014 American League Cy Young Pitcher of the Year
Seattle Mariners fans, especially those of the King's Korner are undoubtedly still steaming from their ace Felix Hernandez being denied his second AL Cy Young Award. Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians is your 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner.

In a very close vote by the Baseball Writers of America, Kluber earned 17 first-place votes and 169 points with Felix Hernandez of the Mariners earning the other 13 first-place votes and 159 points. White Sox starter Chris Sale finished third with 78 points.

18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings. The right-hander led the league in wins, finished second in strikeouts, third in innings pitched and was third in ERA.

After failing to make the All-Star Team, Kluber finished the season with a 10-4 record with a 1.73 ERA with 127 strikeouts and 19 walks. He pitched deep into those last 14 games, only once failing to reach into the sixth and reaching the sixth once, the seventh three times, the eighth four times, the ninth five times, completing two with one shutout.

In terms of Hernandez, the article Corey Kluber edges out King Felix from ESPN.com dated November 13, 2014 states:
Hernandez went 15-6 with an AL-leading 2.14 ERA and 248 strikeouts in 236 innings. He set a major league record when he pitched 16 straight games of seven or more innings and allowing two earned runs or less. It was a brilliant stretch from May to early August that put Hernandez in the lead for his second Cy Young award.
In the same 14 game stretch after the All-Star Game, Hernandez went 8-6 with a 2.16 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 21 walks. In those last 14-games, Hernandez failed to reach the sixth four times. He finished the sixth three times, the seventh seven times and the eighth twice. Hernandez was a victim of his team's lack of offensive performance in those games.

Kluber becomes the fourth Cleveland Indians pitcher to win the American League Cy Young Award Gaylord Perry in 1972, C.C. Sabathia in 2007 and Cliff Lee in 2008.

As I told my friend Christopher yesterday, I think Kluber's strong finish and the complete games/shutouts were the determining factors that led to his winning the AL Cy Young. I would have been satisfied if either he or Hernandez won the award. Both were deserving of the recognition.

- Click Here for Corey Kluber's 2014 Statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here for Felix Hernandez's 2014 Statistics from Baseball Reference.com
- Click Here for the article Could Corey Kluber become the first Cleveland Indians pitcher to win two AL Cy Young Awards? by Paul Hoynes from The Cleveland.com website

- 2014 National League Cy Young Pitcher of the Year
What can I say about Clayton Kershaw that hasn't been said already. Kershaw is quickly staking his claim as being arguably the most dominant pitcher of our generation by winning the National League Cy Young Award for the third time in the last four seasons.

Kershaw won the award via a unanimous vote taking all 30 first place votes. Cincinnati Reds' starter Johnny Cueto finished second and the St. Louis Cardinals' starter Adam Wainwright finished third.

According to the article Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young dated November 12, 2014:
Kershaw, who also won the award in 2011 and 2013, went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA this past season, leading the Dodgers (94-68) to their second straight NL West title. Kershaw was baseball's most dominant pitcher despite missing over a month with a back injury. He led the majors in wins and ERA and had 239 strikeouts in just 198 1/3 innings.
Kershaw also threw his first career no-hitter on June 18, when he had 15 strikeouts and did not walk a batter against the Colorado Rockies.

In doing so, he becomes the 14th National League pitcher to win the award unanimously. According to the BBWAA website, Sandy Koufax achieved it three times, Greg Maddux twice and once apiece by Randy Johnson, Bob Gibson, Steve Carlton, Rick Sutcliffe, Dwight Gooden, Orel Hershiser, Jake Peavy and Roy Halladay.

Kershaw is also the fifth NL pitcher to win the award in consecutive seasons. Maddux and Johnson each won four years in a row. The other back-to-back winners were Koufax and Tim Lincecum.

Kershaw’s third Cy Young Award tied the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers’ franchise record that was originally held by Sandy Koufax and is the eighth Dodgers pitcher to win the award and the twelfth time that the a Dodgers pitcher won the award. Don Newcombe was the first in 1956, followed by Don Drysdale in 1962, Sandy Koufax in 1963, 1965-1966, Mike Marshall in 1974, Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, Orel Hershiser in 1988, Eric Gagne in 2003 and finally Clayton Kershaw in 2011, 2013-2014.

Kershaw is also the sixth pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards in a four-year span since the award was first given in 1956. The other pitchers are Randy Johnson 1999-2002, Pedro Martinez 1997-2000, Greg Maddux 1992-1995, Jim Palmer 1973-1976 and Sandy Koufax 1963-1966.

What's even more impressive that Kershaw has only been in the league for seven years and has been a full-time player for the last six years. At the current age of 26, it is scary to think how much more he will improve and how many more awards he might be capable of winning. Now if the Dodgers can only get him a better bullpen so he can win a post-season game.

- Click Here to see Clayton Kershaw's 2014 Statistics from Baseball Reference.com

Later on today will be the Most Valuable Player announcement. Will it be a Southern California clean sweep with Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw winning the award? Or will it be a Tigers player once again spoiling it for Trout, this time in the form of Victor Martinez. Can the Indians make it another upset in the form of Michael Brantley? Can Andrew McCutchen make it two in a row in the National League? Will Giancarlo Stanton grab the NL MVP trophy and further use that as a bargaining chip in his extension negotiations with the Marlins? We'll have to wait for 6pm to see who wins the awards.

Until Then Keep Playing Ball,
Baseball Sisco
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