For months, the debate has raged over who will win the Cy Young award this season. In the National League in particular, the pitching lines of the trio of Jake Arrieta, Zach Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw are nothing short of ridiculous. In any typical season, any one of those three gentlemen would have walked away with the hardware handily. This season, they must compete with one another.
On Wednesday, we'll know the answer to that question, at least as far as the voting members of the BBWAA are concerned. Today on Camden Chat, on direction from the SB Nation overlords, I put the question to you:
Who was the Pitcher of the Year?
I am told that our results for this poll will be factored into network-wide final voting in order to proclaim the people's champion.
If this question was limited to only our league, it would be a tough enough choice. Absent any league-specific consideration, to me the only names worth having on the ballot are the three mentioned above. Sorry to David Price, Dallas Keuchel, and the rest, but you just weren't on the level of the NL trio this year.
Place your vote below. If you need a last refresher about exactly who racked up what during this season, here you are:
Even as I have mostly managed to convince myself that there is no chance that Arrieta would have ever achieved this level of dominance had he remained in Baltimore, there's still times where it pains me to look into what he has become in Chicago. He had the most traditionally successful season of this trio in that he won more than 20 games, which is an impressive feat even if meaningless for the purposes of this award.
A pitcher can win fewer than 20 games and have had a good season. It's hard to win 20+ games without being great in the modern game. A 1.77 season ERA that included a second half ERA of an absolutely ridiculous 0.75 just can't be ignored. He posted a career low BB/9 of 1.89 while striking out 236 batters in 229 innings. Oh yeah, and when he actually gave up contact, the ball was on the ground 56.2% of the time.
Did I mention his WHIP? No? Because that was a microscopic 0.86. Batters hit only .184 against him over the whole season. Holy smokes. Also, he threw four complete games, three of which were shutouts. One of them was a no-hitter! Orioles pitchers did not have a complete game all season.
This man also had an amazing season. He somehow managed to post an even lower ERA than Arrieta's, coming in at an almost unheard-of 1.66. That doesn't even seem possible. It happened, though, just like his 0.84 WHIP over 222.2 innings. Greinke struck out a still-impressive 200 batters in that time. You can't look at his numbers without seeing some mind-blowing number.
Although Greinke came up just short of winning 20 games, he finished with a 19-3 record. Having only three losses over 32 starts is nuts. Chris Tillman wore seven losses on his sleeve by the end of May.
Another pitcher who is on a completely different plane of existence from the rest of these mortals. Kershaw has won three of the last four Cy Young awards in the National League. He was runner-up for the fourth of those, which he arguably also might have won if not for being edged out by the strong performance and narrative behind R.A. Dickey's 2012 season.
Kershaw posted the highest ERA of this trio, a 2.13 ERA that still blows the mind for how low it is. Seriously, what is it like to have a pitcher that good on your team? And the Dodgers had two of these players in their rotation! It's just not fair, man. By the way, Kershaw was drafted two spots before Billy Rowell. If only the 2005 Orioles had collapsed a little harder... then again, who really thinks he would have turned into what he is on those O's? Yeah...
By the way, Kershaw threw an MLB-leading 232.2 innings this season and struck out 301 batters. Yes, that's over three hundred strikeouts, which happens to be more strikeouts than any Orioles pitcher has gotten over the past TWO seasons combined. He also sports the bananas WHIP of 0.88. What can you even say to that? Sure, he, like these other guys, faced NL lineups all year, but that's all just insane.
Kind of a shame that one of them having to win means two of them must lose. There is no wrong answer. Who's your pick? On your conscience be it.