Dodgers: Why Clayton Kershaw Should Have Won the Cy Young

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Clayton Kershaw
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 29: Clayton Kershaw /

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw comes up just short of his 4th Cy Young Award, after losing to Max Scherzer in the final vote.

Clayton Kershaw came in second place with 126 points (3 first-place votes) behind Max Scherzer who totaled 201 points, including 27 of the 30 first-place votes. This is the second time in Kershaw’s career that he was the runner-up for the Cy Young, the last time being in 2012 when he was second to R.A. Dickey.

The biggest reasoning on why Kershaw shouldn’t win his 4th Cy Young was that he did not make as many starts as the other two finalists. But when you dive into the number, that reason is entirely over-rated because Kershaw was hands down the best pitcher in the NL this season.

Kershaw started 27 games this season, four fewer than Max Scherzer and one less than Stephen Strasburg. Despite missing about six weeks of the season, Kershaw still threw 175 innings and struck out over 200 hitters. That’s only one out less and two fewer strikeouts than Strasburg, and he pitched one extra start over Kershaw. Strasburg put his name into the Cy Young conversation with a lights-out second half. Outside of the second half, Strasburg didn’t have as dominant or complete season that Kershaw had.

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Kershaw was 1st in the NL in ERA (2.31) and strikeouts to walk ratio (6.73) and Wins (18) despite having four fewer starts than Scherzer. He finished 2nd in walk percentage (4.4%), 3rd in strikeout percentage (29.8%), and was the 5th highest rated pitcher according to FanGraphs WAR (4.6).

Kershaw allowed less than 2 earned runs in 20 of his 27 starts this season, which correlates to why he led the league in wins. On a per inning basis, Kershaw was the best pitcher in the NL. He had the lowest ERA, highest strikeout to walk ratio, and his WHIP is one of the best in the league. The injury Kershaw endured this season really came out to hurt him in the end. Before Kershaw’s injury, he was the best pitcher in baseball, and there wasn’t anyone even close to the discussion.

The fact that Kershaw was able to finish second in voting shows how great of a pitcher he is. This season, he set a new career high in home runs allowed (23) and batting average against (.210) and still led the league in ERA for the 5th time in his career. Kershaw is the first pitcher to finish in the top five of Cy Young Award voting in seven consecutive seasons since Greg Maddux in 1992-1998.

Next: Austin Barnes Season Grade

* Side note * Kenley Jansen finished 5th in the voting with 22 points. He received two third-place votes, five fourth place votes, and six fifth place votes.

That’s going to wrap up the MLB Awards for the Dodgers. Tomorrow the MLB will announce the regular season MVPs, and the Dodgers do not have a finalist this year. It was a memorable year for all the Dodgers. Congrats to Kershaw and Jansen on a fine season of pitching.