Craig Kimbrel was the unanimous choice for the NL Rookie of the Year and he picked up a couple of 5th place votes for the NL Cy Young on Thursday. That gave Kimbrel two points and tied him with Brewers closer, John Axford, for 9th place. Is this at all significant? No. Does it give me a reason to voice my thoughts on the Cy Young outcome? You betcha!
Clayton Kershaw won handily collecting 27 of the first place votes for 207 points. Roy Halladay finished second with four first place votes (133 points) rounded out by Cliff Lee (90 points), Ian Kennedy and the remaining first place vote (76 points) and Cole Hamels (17 points).
Kershaw and Halladay were as good as it got in 2011 so complaining about Kershaw winning over Halladay is mainly splitting hairs. I mean, I’m going to do it anyway but that’s just how I roll. Kershaw and Halladay threw almost identical innings (233.1-233.2) but Halladay threw that third of an extra inning in one less start. There’s going to be A LOT of nitpicking so get used to it. The BBWAA headline included Kershaw winning the pitching triple crown: 21 wins, 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts.
Halladay wasn’t too far behind with a 2.35 ERA and bested Kershaw 2.20 to 2.47 in FIP (fielding independent pitching). Halladay also crushed Kershaw in K/BB (strikeout to walk ratio) at 6.29 compared to 4.59 which I think is an important point. Doc gets his fair share of strikeouts while hardly walking anybody. His 1.35 BB/9 was best in the National League. Halladay’s 8.2 fWAR (Fangraphs wins above replacement) made him worth over a full win more valuable than Kershaw and his 6.8 fWAR. I realize WAR isn’t the end all be all of nerd stats and is far from perfect but it has its merits. You obviously couldn’t go wrong with either of these guys but I wanted to show my work on why I voted for Halladay on my BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) ballot.
But yeah, how ’bout that Phillies rotation? Three pitchers in the top five in Cy Young voting? Yikes.
Side note: I don’t believe in “pitcher wins” as a useful stat. Please refrain from ever yelling at me about them.