Blog Entry

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

Posted on: November 17, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 4:17 pm
Clayton Kershaw

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw added the National League Cy Young Award to his pitching Triple Crown on Thursday, beating Phillies' right-hander Roy Halladay to win his first Cy Young.

The 23-year-old Kershaw led the National League with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. He also led the league with a 0.977 WHIP, was named to his first All-Star team and won the Gold Glove -- in all, a pretty good year. He received 27 of the 32 first-place votes in voting done by the Baseball Writers Association of America. Halladay received four first-place votes, while fourth-place finisher Ian Kennedy received the other. Halladay's teammate, Cliff Lee, finished third, but didn't receive a first-place vote.

Halladay, 34, missed out on his third Cy Young Award, winning it in 2010 for the Phillies and in 2003 while in Toronto. Halladay went 19-6 with a 2.35 ERA and 208 strikeouts, leading the league with eight complete games. He also led the National League in ERA+ with a 164. ERA+ measures a pitcher's ERA against the league average and takes park factors into effect.

Three Phillies finished in the top fiive, with left-hander Cole Hamels finishing fifth. In all, four Giants received votes, with Tim Lincecum finishing sixth, Matt Cain eighth and Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong tying for 11th with one fifth-place vote each.

In the end, though, it came down to Kershaw and Halladay. Either was a good choice, but Kershaw's Triple Crown may have pushed him over the top. He was one of the bright spots -- along with Matt Kemp -- of a pretty dark year for the Dodgers. Even though Kershaw made his first All-Star team with a 9-4 record and 3.03 ERA in the first half, he won the Cy Young in the second half, when he went 12-2 with a 1.31 ERA. He also dominated at Dodger Stadium, going 12-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 starts at home, with his only home loss coming on April 16, his second home start of the season.

"I always dreamed about playing in the big leagues. I never dreamed about doing anything special in the big leagues. I don't think any kid ever does," Kershaw said. "The people I'm now associated with, just by having this award, is something that I never thought would ever happen."

It is the 10th time a Dodgers pitcher has won the award, joining three-time winner Sandy Koufax, Don Newcombe, Don Drysdale, Mike Marshall, Fernando Valezuela, Orel Hershiser and Eric Gagne. Being left-handed, the comparisons to Koufax have naturally come up, though Kershaw said he was uncomfortable with the comparison.

"I'm still uncomfortable with it. I don't want to have any disrespect for Mr. Koufax. He did it for a long time. He won a lot of awards and he won World Series. He threw no-hitters. Just a lot of things I'm not anywhere close to accomplishing yet," Kershaw said. "I have tremendous respect for him and would never want to ever put myself in the same category as him." 

Previous Cy Young Award winners.

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Since: Aug 20, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:41 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

Guy certainly was a stud on my fantasy team.  Still think Doc deserved it for a) pitching in a hitter friendly park compared to a pitcher friendly one, b) not geting to face SD and SF (the two worst hitting teams in the league and also extreme pitchers parks) as often as Kershaw.  And before people talk about all the run support Doc gets compared to Kershaw the Phillies were 7th in the league in runs and LA 9th.  Kershaw faced SD and SF nine times...Halladay faced them twice.  I think if they really looked at how the stats were compiled Halladay comes out on top, but Kershaw certainly pitched well against the teams on his schedule...just looks like a much more favorable schedule in a much more favorable park.

Since: Jan 9, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 7:12 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

I do agree with you about Kershaw deserving the CY Young and about Kemp deserving the MVP, but when I first read your post, I felt you took a little cheap shot towards Philly fans, saying we are shortsighted and wouldn't acknowledge anyone outside of east coast media market.   Sure, some people are narrowminded, but to lump all of us into one group because of a few people is narrowminded in itself.  We love our teams and will defend them till the death but when someone deserves credit, the majority of us will give it to them.  Kershaw was flat out dominate with a horrible team outside of Kemp and no one else's stats could measure up to his.  The thing that scares me is that Kershaw is only 23 and his best years are yet to come and I feel bad for the rest of the NL West.

Since: May 24, 2009
Posted on: November 17, 2011 6:54 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

Roy is simply great...however I just laugh at people that don't think CK should have won...the dude won the triple crown, case closed. If you want to start getting into advanced stats then there were other years that Roy got second while with the Jays that I feel he should have won. He should have beat Greinke the year he won. Roy kept having to face the powerful Yanks, Sox, and Rays all year(and their aces most of the time) and still put up amazing numbers. Greinke got to face a bunch of garbage in the Royals division. If Roy was in the same division as Zach his numbers would have been mind blowing. Your could say that about most of his career as a Jay really. This year though, a guy won the triple crown. Give the man his due...

Since: Dec 19, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 6:32 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

I'm a Yankees fan who lives in the greater Philadelphia area.

What these Philly fans fail to realize is how Kershaw essentially carried a mediocre team who finished 3 games over .500.  Hallady on the other hand, had a lineup that took them to the NL East title, and a much better team record than the Dodgers had.  I always evaluate by asking, what if Halladay were pitching for the Dodgers this past season.  How would he do?  If you could honestly say better than Kershaw, then he'd deserve it.  In this particular case though.......I don't think so.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:57 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

I think they got this right, Kershaw was the most dominant pitcher in the National League. I believe wining the triple crown should pretty much guarantee a Cy Young award. Roy had a great year, there is no discounting that, but Clayton had the better body of work on a bad team. I believe pitcher friendly ballparks help average pitchers more than elite hurlers anyways.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:42 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

@WhosUrDaddy84 -- classy post from a classy Phillies fan (yes there are many classy Phillies' fans despite reports to the contrary).

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:39 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

You knew some Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee fans would be here trying to say that Halladay and Lee were as deserving or more so than Clayton Kershaw. I had a guy already bet me that Cliff Lee would win the CY Young over Kershaw. I haven't heard from that guy since.

The fact is it's harder to win 20 games playing for the Dodgers than the Phillies. You don't even have to dig any deeper than that. If Halladay or Lee pitched on the Dodgers they'd have less wins and if Kershaw pitched for the Phillies he'd have even more wins. That's all there is too it. You don't have to bring up ERA, strikeouts or anything else.

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:38 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

After seeing Felix win last year based on his dominance of advanced stats, I was hoping that would carry over into this year, where Halladay dominated Kershaw
Can you really be that big of a homer highflyer.  First, the name of the game is to win right?  That is the objective of any game correct?  Kershaw, on an inferior offensive team, won more games than Halladay.  Second, what "stats" did Halladay dominate Kershaw in?  Kershaw led the league in W, Ks, ERA and WHIP (so Kershaw led the NL in the most important stats -- WINS, runs allowed and walks and hits per 9 innings)--Halladay got ERA+, complete games and shutouts I believe--all good, but they did not translate into the important stats, not allowing runs and winning games, as did Kershaw.  You can have a 0.00 ERA+ and 1 0.5 whip or what ever, but if you allow more runs than the other guy and don't win the game you "advanced stats" are meaningless.  You might have an argument against being "hung up on Wins" if that was the only stat that was in Kershaw's favor, but win you add the ERA and K title, along with the league leading WHIP then obviously the award this year was not being "hung up on wins". 

No pitcher that has won the triple crown has ever not won Cy Young and there is no reason for this year to be different.  Halladay had a great year, again, but if you think Halladay deserved the Cy Young over Kershaw you know nothing about baseball.

Since: Jun 3, 2010
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:29 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

Congrats to a well deserving CK on one of the most dominant performances for the entire baseball season I have ever witnessed. I remember Whitey Ford in the 70's having an unbelievably dominant year when I believe he won like 30 games and I thought CK was very similar to that year by Whitey. CK dominated in all three of the most important stats for pitchers and to lead the league in wins for a team like the Dodgers who clearly suffered on offense really cemented the Cy Young for him. I agree with the posts about potential for East Coast bias costing CK this trophy, but, nobody can really argue the sheer domination of the big three catogories pitchers are measured on and you throw in his WHIP stats, and he was flat out the best pitcher in the N.L., hands down, no argument. I think Halladay is a heck of a pitcher, but for this past year, he was second best to CK. CONGRATS MAN!

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: November 17, 2011 5:28 pm

Clayton Kershaw wins NL Cy Young Award

Can't say he didnt deserve it and had an awesome year on a bad team...the reason Halladay got 4 votes - ballparks. Kershaw pitches in the spacious Dodger Stadium and Doc in homer heaven Citizens Bank. 

CK 9-4  2.67 era   whip 1.06 and BAA .222
RH 11-3  2.23 era whip 1.08 and BAA .243
That's a little oversimplified PhillyRules -- if you're going to try to make that kind of break down you have to go further and look and what park each road game was in, who was pitching for the other team, etc etc etc.  Bottom line, Kershaw was better than Halladay this wins (despite playing for a worse offensive/defensive team--Look at your own numbers, CK had a lower BAA and WHIP than Hallady on road games but a higher ERA and less wins which tells you its the Dodger defense and offense that was the difference, not necessarily pitchers park v hitters park), in ERA, Ks and WHIP.  Kershaw won the big 3 and was absolutely unhittable, home or away, after the break (13-1) so he gets the Cy Young, don't try to make excuses for your guy, he just got outpitched -- maybe next year the result is different, who knows.

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