July 21, 2012; New York, NY, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) on the field during batting practice before a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

Clayton Kershaw Finishes Second Behind R.A. Dickey for the NL Cy Young Award


Earlier this afternoon the results of the Cy Young Award voting was announced. Disappointingly for Dodgers fans, the BBWAA ranked 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw in second place. R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets was voted number one by a interestingly large margin. Gio Gonzalez placed third respectively.

Although Kershaw only garnered two first place votes, he is the first Dodger pitcher to finish in the top two spots on the Cy Young ballet since Sandy Koufax won consecutive Cy Young Awards in 1965 and 1966. Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports.com and Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com both voted Kershaw 1st.

Pitcher, Team

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Points

R.A. Dickey, Mets 27 5 209
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers 2 11 10 1 6 96
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals 1 12 6 8 4 93
Johnny Cueto, Reds 1 4 10 10 2 75
Craig Kimbrel, Braves 1 5 5 9 41
Matt Cain, Giants 1 6 7 22
Kyle Lohse, Cardinals 2 2 6
Aroldis Chapman, Reds 1 1
Cole Hamels, Phillies 1 1

 

 

R.A. Dickey wins the NL Cy Young Award, just the fifth time ever for a NY Met. Photo: Anthony Gruppuso-US PREWIRE

R.A. Dickey is the third Mets pitcher to win the award and the first knuckleballer to take the coveted distinction. Dickey, 38, captured the attention of baseball fans everywhere this past season as he seemingly came out of nowhere to pitch a truly remarkable season. He finished the year with a 20-6 record, a 2.73 ERA, and a league leading 230 strikeouts. Clayton Kershaw was only one strikeout behind him with 229. Dickey also pitched 5 complete games (an easier task for a knuckleballer for sure), 3 shutouts, and he led the NL with 233 2/3 innings pitched. He was third in the league in rWAR with 5.6 and sixth in fWAR with 4.5.

Clayton Kershaw, the runner-up, led the league in ERA (2.53) and WHIP (1.023). Since the Dodger offense was frustratingly anemic this season, Kershaw finished with a record of 14-9. Yet he led the NL in rWAR (6.2) and fWAR (5.5).

What was really a head scratcher was that two voters, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Alvin Valdez from Hoy didn’t even place Kershaw in the top five spots on their ballot. Unbelievable.

Wins. That meaningless Win-Loss record statistic is what cost Kershaw the Cy Young Award. He is clearly the superior pitcher to Dickey or any other hurler in the league. Yet his teammates inability to score runs and win games behind him cost Clayton his deserved second consecutive Cy Young Award.

I’m in no way downgrading the fantastic season that Dickey had. He pitched superbly. Yet, Clayton

Clayton Kershaw has to settle for second place. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Kershaw’s curveball a.k.a “Public Enemy #1″ is more beautiful than any “Angry Knuckleball” thrown by Dickey. Kershaw managed to pitch another Cy Young worthy season despite numerous health implications like a bout of the Opening Day flu, plantar fasciitis, and a season threatening hip impingement. He never threw in the towel, even when the Dodgers had fallen so far behind the Giants in the West that it was apparent that they would not be able to overcome their foes in 2012. In fact Kershaw even pitched in the final game of the season against the Giants, one in which the Dodgers had already been eliminated from playoff contention. In Kershaw’s last twelve starts he posted a 1.55 ERA, and he only allowed 16 runs during that span.

David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays won the American League Cy Young Award. Tomorrow the M.V.P. Awards will be announced for both leagues. The American League pits Rookie of the Year Mike Trout up against Miguel Cabrera in a highly debated contest.

Even though Kershaw wasn’t able to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards, he has many more years ahead of pitching dominance. Perhaps in the future the BBWAA can look past the W-L column and delve deeper into the statistics which reflect the true value of a pitcher or player. As Dodger fans, Kershaw is #1 on our Blue ballot.

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