CHICAGO, November 13, 2013 — Having handed out the Rookie of the Year and Manager of the Year awards the past couple of days MLB will now shift its attention to the Cy Young Awards. MLB has announced the three finalists in each league (the top three finishers) so the winner in the American League will be one of Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish or Hisashi Iwakuma, while the National League winner will come from a pool of Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright and Jose Fernandez.
The Cy Young and MVP votes have become a battle grounds in recent years for writers that use old metrics and those that subscribe to more recently developed metrics. While the NL Cy Young will likely be close to unanimous, but more on that later, the AL could be a referendum on which side is winning the battle.
Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers is the likely winner in the American League as he led the AL in wins with 21, had a 2.90 ERA, which was fifth in the AL, and struck out 240, good for second in the AL. Writers who look at the classic pitching triple crown categories will likely look at those numbers and place Scherzer’s name at the top of the ballot. This is not to say he would be an undeserving winner as he fares well in many of the advanced metrics, finishing third in the AL in Fielding Independent Pitching, first among AL pitchers in WAR and second in the AL in Strikeouts/9.
The Texas Rangers’ Yu Darvish led the AL in strikeouts and K/9, while finishing second in Adjusted ERA+ and fourth in both ERA and WHIP. Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma finished third in the AL in ERA, while leading AL pitchers in WAR and finishing second in the AL In WHIP but may have benefitted from a BABIP below his normal rates.
It is likely that Scherzer will win the award in the AL, but the case may not be as cut and dry as it appears on the surface.
In the National League, the winner will be Clayton Kershaw and the only question is whether or not the vote will be unanimous. That is not to disrespect Adam Wainwright or Jose Fernandez who both had great seasons in their own right, but almost regardless of which metric you look at, Kershaw finished first. Kershaw led the NL in WAR, ERA, WHIP, Strikeouts, Shutouts, ERA+ and Win Probability Added.
Jose Fernandez, who was announced on Monday as the NL Rookie of the Year, had a great first season finishing second in the NL in ERA, 2.19, and K/9, 9.74. Fernandez also finished third in the NL with a .979 WHIP.
Adam Wainwright finished with a 2.94 ERA, which was seventh in the NL. He did lead the National League with 19 Wins and also led the NL in innings with 241.2.
It might be worth noting that Matt Harvey may have given Kershaw a run for his money had he not suffered a partially torn UCL.
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