Two years ago, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won his first NL Cy Young award, and he finished second in voting last year. This year, there should be no runner-up finish for Kershaw — he should be given the NL Cy Young award hands down for the season he just had.
His closest competitor in this award race is Adam Wainwright, and although both he and his team have more wins than Kershaw, it’s the other stats that sway this race heavily in Kershaw’s favor.
Let’s start with the wins category. The St. Louis Cardinals only have four more wins than the Dodgers, so clearly both teams are close in talent and are both very good teams. I know this is an individual player award, but regardless of that, teams records are usually still taken into consideration.
With the team debate out of the way, let’s focus on the individuals. Wainwright has three more wins than Kershaw, but Kershaw has two more no-decisions than Wainwright, which tells me Kershaw got less run support than Wainwright did. So in reality, the wins category doesn’t put Wainwright that far ahead of Kershaw, and if it did, the rest of the stats sway it right back in Kershaw’s favor.
Kershaw has 13 more strikeouts than Wainwright and leads the National League in that category. Another category in which Kershaw leads MLB is WHIP. Wainwright has a 1.07 WHIP which is great, but isn’t nearly as good as Kershaw’s 0.92 WHIP.
2.94 is a very solid ERA and Wainwright can make claim to having that, but Kershaw on the other hand can make claim to not only leading MLB in that category, but he’s also the first pitcher since Roger Clemens in 2005 to have an ERA under 2.00. Kershaw’s ERA is 1.83 and it’s not even close in comparison to Wainwright.
The final stat I would like to talk about is WAR, and it really shows Kershaw’s dominance over Wainwright. Wainwright has a 6.2 WAR, but Kershaw leads the majors with a 8.0 WAR.
Yes, Wainwright and his team have more wins than Kershaw or the Dodgers, but when you look past wins and actually dive into the other categories that should be taken into consideration when choosing the winner of this award, Kershaw is hands down better than Wainwright, which is why he should be the 2013 NL Cy Young award winner.