On my last post I said there was a clear favorite in the AL Cy Young race, that favorite is Max Scherzer. I can’t say I feel that way with the National League though. When you look at the numbers and consider things such as team standing, ballparks, etc. this becomes a race that is extremely close.
The Dodgers’ own Clayton Kershaw is one of many strong candidates for the prize. He currently has the best ERA in baseball at a miniscule 1.89 and has an equally impressive FIP of 2.54 to match. This combined with striking out the most batters (201 SO) and being the ace of a team that is on its way to the playoffs gives Kershaw an almost unquestionable case for winning the award.
However, there are a couple of other pitchers with equally strong numbers.
Adam Wainwright of the St. Louis Cardinals has had his best season since 2010. He has a FIP of 2.72 and is tied for third in wins with 13. More importantly, his stats in WAR (4.9) and strikeouts (187) are lower than other contenders. Since the Cardinals are in playoff contention, voters may be appealed toward him since his stats are consistent.
In spite of the incredible pitching Kershaw and Wainwright have done this year, there is yet another pitcher who could take home the award.
Matt Harvey of the New York Mets flourished in his first full season as a starter. He is the current leader in FIP at 2.20. His 2.27 ERA, 6.14 K/BB, and 191 SO show his thorough dominance and consistency. The one thing that is holding Harvey back is his low number or wins (9). This is mostly due to the less than stellar offense of the Mets, who are out of playoff contention as well.
Out of these three guys, Kershaw is the one I leans towards. His strong numbers in wins, strikeouts, and ERA will carry him to the award. His sabermetric stats are a bit lower than other pitchers but they’re good enough to show that Kershaw is an excellent pitcher. Sometimes the offense and fielders have saved Kershaw, but the numbers show he has control of his pitches.
So there it is, Kershaw for the NL Cy Young.
Honorable mention: Jose Fernandez, Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg, Mat Latos.