This award is a bit tricky because general consensus says Kershaw will walk away with it. He has pitched brilliantly this season, but there are others who’ve built a strong case for themselves too. The question is if it’s enough to overtake Kershaw.
Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers: What’s scary about Kershaw is even when he isn’t at his best he’s still hard to beat. His 6.7 WAR is the second highest among all players. Only ultra-talented Mike Trout has a higher WAR. Throwing a no-hitter and compiling an ERA of 1.70 with a 10.63 K/9 to go along with his nineteen wins and 1.86 FIP make him the favorite to win this year. He’s generated debate over whether a pitcher can be awarded the MVP and only elite pitching brings up that debate so that shows how good he really has been.
Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds: Fastballs and Cueto go hand in hand and the results have been positive for the Reds all-star. While currently leading the league in IP (222.0), Cueto has compiled a FIP of 3.28 and 8.92 K/9. Overall, he’s posted solid numbers this season with 18 wins, a 2.39 BB/9, and a 3.8 WAR. The problem is other pitchers have been just a little bit better.
Madison Bumgarner, San Francisco Giants: As the Giants ace, Bumgarner has taken the role seamlessly. He’s earned 18 wins this season with a 2.91 FIP to go along with his 9.18 K/9. His nine losses can be attributed to some shaky starts and a lack of run production in a couple of games. However, he’s remained consistent throughout the season, posting a 1.81 BB/9 and a BABIP of .298. Even if he doesn’t win the award this year, he’s reaffirmed his ace status and should be a nightmare for batters for years to come.
Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers: Though he’s somewhat overshadowed by other starting pitchers this season, Greinke has compiled another solid season with a 3.02 FIP, 9.33 K/9, and an even 2 BB/9. These numbers don’t measure up to his 2009 Cy Young Award winning season, but they prove he’s stayed consistent since the ’09 season and remains a quality pitcher regardless of the attention, or lack thereof, he gets.
Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals: It’s hard to imagine the St. Louis ace without a Cy Young Award given his stellar pitching throughout his career but he has yet to win one. He’s put up a formidable case for himself this year with a 2.95 FIP, 7 K/9, and 2 BB/9. These stats go well with his 18 wins and reflect the command he’s exhibited throughout the season and what we’ve come to expect from Wainwright.
Is there really any surprise Clayton Kershaw is my pick? As cliché as it is, Kershaw has been on a different plane of existence compared to the other pitchers in the league. The other four pitchers I mentioned aren’t bad pitchers. They’re excellent and any team would be lucky to have them. But, Kershaw seems more machine than human at times. Even when he throws his pitches down the middle, batters can’t hit him. For all the sabermetric nerds out there here is an article that can explain this better than I can.
All stats provided by fangraphs.com
Current as of 9/16/2014