The 2012 American League Cy Young Award was really only a race between two pitchers but the National League Cy Young Award will likely have up to five different names listed at the top of voter’s ballots.
The National League Cy Young Award race is one that went down to the wire and an argument can be made for multiple pitchers. But, for this voter, there is one pitcher who rose above the rest and his stats clearly dictate that he should be hoisting hardware his excellence in the 2012 season and that pitcher is Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.
I really wanted to give this award to New York Mets starter R.A. Dickey who had an amazing season and could likely be the BBWAA’s choice but I cannot put Kershaw’s name anywhere but at the top because his numbers suggest that that is exactly where he belongs. Check out his stats and where he ranks in the National League:
As you can see, Kershaw ranks in the top 10 in all 19 categories listed and leads the league in ERA, rWAR, fWAR, RE24, REW, WPA/LI, WHIP, and H/9. Kershaw missed finishing first in innings by six, ERA+ by two, FIP by .07, and strikeouts by one.
Kershaw detractors will say that 14 wins is not enough for Kershaw to win the award or that his team did not make the playoffs. Both of those are irrelevant. The award is for the best pitcher in the league for the regular season and I am finding fewer and fewer reasons that say Kershaw is not the best choice for the award.
Dickey will have his backers with a 20-win season and leading the league in innings pitched and strikeouts. Gio Gonzalez will have his backers as he lead the league in wins, FIP, K/9, and made the playoffs. Johnny Cueto will have his backers as he lead the league in ERA+, won 19 games, and made the playoffs. Craig Kimbrel will have his backers, especially those who value the nearly useless save stat, as he went on to have one of the best seasons by a reliever in the history of the game. But I am backing Kershaw and his numbers are doing the same.
I am not trying to take anything away from the pitchers who will finish behind Kershaw on my ballot; they all had fantastic seasons, but Kershaw had the best season and deserves the award.
My NL Cy Young Award Ballot for the BBA:
1. Clayton Kershaw (LAD)
2. R.A. Dickey (NYM)
3. Gio Gonzalez (WAS)
4. Johnny Cueto (CIN)
5. Craig Kimbrel (ATL)
-Jonathan C. Mitchell can be found writing about the Tampa Bay Rays at DRaysBay and the Florida Marlins at ESPN’s SweetSpot site Marlins Daily. You can follow him on twitter at @FigureFilbert. Be sure to follow MLBdirt at @MLBdirt
Filed under: Digging Deep - Analysis Tagged: | Atlanta Braves, BBA, Cincinnati Reds, Clayton Kershaw, Craig Kimbrel, Cy Young Award, Gio Gonzalez, Johnny Cueto, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, R.A. Dickey, Walter Johnson Award, Washington Nationals