Thursday, November 17, 2011

Clayton Kershaw wins 2011 NL Cy Young Award

The greatest season by a Los Angeles Dodgers' starting pitcher in more than a decade is rewarded in the National League's best pitching honor.

Clayton Kershaw was named NL Cy Young Award winner today after receiving 27 of 32 first-place votes. The left-handed starter led the NL in ERA (also best in the Majors), WHIP, strikeouts and H/9. He also tied Ian Kennedy for most wins in the league.

The Philadelphia Phillies' Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee finished second and third, respectively.

Kershaw used a dominant second half to secure the award: 12-1, 1.31 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 8.9 K/9, 5.32 K/BB ratio.

Oh yeah, Kershaw did all this as a 23-year-old. He'll entering his age-24 season as the league's reigning Cy Young winner and arguably the best left-handed pitcher in baseball. He's also the anchor of the Dodger rotation.

Sabermatricians have an argument for Halladay over Kershaw, as he bested Kershaw in a lot of sabermetric categories:
  • bWAR: 7.4 to 7.0
  • fWAR: 8.2 to 6.8
  • FIP: 2.20 to 2.47
  • xFIP: 2.71 to 2.84
The numbers aren't that different, so Kershaw edging Halladay shouldn't be that much of a surprise.

Kershaw is the first Dodger to win the award since Eric Gagne did so in 2003.

Past Dodger Cy Young Award winners:

1956: Don Newcombe
1962: Don Drysdale
1963: Sandy Koufax
1965: Koufax
1966: Koufax
1974: Mike Marshall
1981: Fernando Valenzuela
1988: Orel Hershiser
2003: Gagne
2011: Kershaw

Quite the impressive list.

So, that's one award down. Hopefully I'll be penning another award-winning post (no, not that award-winning) in five days for one Mr. Matt Kemp.

Congratulations Mr. Kershaw. It was well-deserved and a pleasure to watch you work.

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