The NL Cy Young Is in the Eye of the Beholder

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America; Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America; David Banks/Getty Images North America

Source: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America; Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images North America; David Banks/Getty Images North America

In about three hours, the Cy Young Award winners for both the American and National Leagues will be announced. There is some suspense in the American League race, as both Dallas Keuchel and David Price have a pretty good case for the award. (Sorry, Sonny Gray! You have a great case for third place!)

In the National League, though, the race is as close as any in recent memory. Guys like Max Scherzer, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, and Madison Bumgarner had great seasons, but not one of them even made the top three in the voting — and rightfully so. Unfortunately for that outstanding group of pitchers, there were three guys who were just on another level of greatness this year: Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.

Now, we’ve had close Cy Young races before. In 2005, for example, each league had three pitchers with a decent case — Bartolo Colon, Johan Santana, and Mariano Rivera in the AL, and Chris Carpenter, Dontrelle Willis, and Roger Clemens in the NL — but neither of those races was as close as the 2015 NL race.

It’s not that each of the three candidates this year has a good case — it’s that each has a compelling case. In almost any other season, each of these performances would have easily won the Cy Young Award. But all three happened in the same season, and the voters had to choose one.

Let’s compare the stats, and then we will look at each case:

[table caption=”2015 National League Cy Young Award Finalists”]

Name,G,IP,W-L,K,BB,ERA,FIP,xFIP,rWAR,fWAR

Jake Arrieta,33,229.0,22-6,236,48,1.77,2.35,2.61,8.7,7.3

Zack Greinke,32,222.2,19-3,200,40,1.66,2.76,3.22,9.3,5.9

Clayton Kershaw,33,232.2,16-7,301,42,2.13,1.99,2.09,7.5,8.6

[/table]

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