The National League Cy Young Race
Flip a coin. Draw from a hat. Roll some dice. I would not be surprised if NL Cy Young Award voters use any of the aforementioned methods in the coming weeks as they cast their ballot. Jake Arrieta, Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke – you really could make the case for any of these three guys. 20 wins from one, an absurd 1.65 ERA from another, and possibly 300 strikeouts from the latter; these are scary good numbers here people. But as always there can only be one winner, so let’s dig deeper into the statistics and try and give an edge to one of these studs.
The Case for Cubs’ Ace Jake Arrieta:
Remember when this guy was a borderline fifth starter on the Orioles? Well Arrieta has seemingly transformed into a different human in the three years since he was traded from Baltimore to Chicago. Credit the young man for decreasing his ERA almost a whole point in every season that he’s pitched in for the Cubs. Relying heavily on his uncanny 95 MPH sinker, he has finally developed into the Ace many scouts thought he would be and it couldn’t come at a better time for the rising Cubbies. Arrieta has been a monster earning a league-leading 20 wins with a terrific ERA of just 1.88. He also leads the National League in Complete Games (4), Shutouts (3) and Innings Pitched (216.0). He’s a true workhorse that they’ve been riding all season and this is his biggest stake in the tight race as he put together some off-the-charts performances, including a no-hitter. Arrieta has probably been the most valuable pitcher to his team of the trio.
The case for Dodgers’ (Ace?) Zack Grienke:
Journeyman Zack Greinke has always had some nasty stuff in his arsenal but it seems like everything has finally clicked again this year and he is looking like the pitcher that won a Cy Young back in 2009 (2.18 ERA). This season he is somehow even better than that, posting a ridiculous 1.65 ERA. Couple that with an 18-3 record (.857 W-L percentage), a 0.848 WHIP, and a 6.1 H/9, and you can just imagine how untouchable he is been this year. Oh and by the way those statistics are all tops in the Majors. The only knock on Greinke’s pedigree is the fact that he does not strike as many people out with 185 strikeouts. His fastball is an average 92 MPH, so he relies on his changeup (89 MPH) to get some groundball outs. He is not going to overpower anyone. Yet he has only given up 38 earned runs this entire season (7 less than Arrieta and 14 less than Kershaw). And yes you did read that right, 38 runs this ENTIRE season. Eye-popping stuff.
The case for Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers (#2?) starter:
Blessings on blessings on blessings. Dodgers GM Fahran Zaidi should be prancing around his office everyday rapping Big Sean’s song because he has two deadly starters that could carry even the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series (maybe I’m exaggerating a tiny bit, but you get the point). If you need too know how gross Kershaw can be, just check out this video.
Yup. Just try touching that. Thus it is no surprise that Kershaw’s biggest stake in the race is his strikeout numbers. Kershaw has recorded 272 strikeouts this season (52 more than Arrieta), and still has a possible three starts left so 300 is not out of reach. This would be the first time a pitcher reached 300 strikeouts in a single season since first-ballot Hall of Famer Randy Johnson did it back in 2002. He is also leading the league in SO/9 for the second season in a row as well as FIP (pitcher’s effectiveness at preventing HR, BB, HBP, and causing SO’s). The biggest knock on his resume is his 14-7 record, which is by no means his fault. His 2.18 ERA may also lose him a few votes as both other candidates have posted sub-two ERA’s. Will the strikeout factor carry him to his fourth CY Young?
Your Cy Young winner: Zack Greinke
Arrieta has been the hotter than Frank’s Red Hot Sauce since the All-Star break but the Cy Young is given to the best pitcher over an entire season. My vote goes to Greinke to take home his second Cy Young Award in one of the closest votes in history.
- Zack Greinke
- Jake Arrieta
- Clayton Kershaw