Three of the past five National League Cy Young Awards are in Los Angeles, as Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw has asserted his dominance on the league.
The two seasons in which Kershaw didn’t win the Cy Young, he finished second in the voting in 2012, and third last season. While advanced metrics leaned heavily in Kershaw’s favor in 2015, it was not enough to overcome Chicago Cubs righty Jake Arrieta.
Arrieta’s strong second half even overshadowed Zack Greinke’s wire-to-wire dominance. The 28-year-old Kershaw is off to another great start in 2016, as through nine starts he is 6-1 with a 1.67 ERA, 1.36 FIP and 0.70 WHIP.
Entering his start on Monday against the Cincinnati Reds, he has 88 strikeouts in 70 innings, while walking just four. Kershaw’s astounding 22-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio would shatter Phil Hughes’ 12-to-1 record set in 2014.
While Arrieta is also putting together a strong campaign, complete with a no-hitter, ESPN’s Jayson Stark named Kershaw the Cy Young Award winner at this stage of the season:
Here we go again. Kershaw or Jake Arrieta? Impossible, isn’t it? Impossible not to pick the guy with the 1.29 ERA (i.e., Arrieta), that is. But guess what? I’m picking Kershaw anyway. On Tuesday night, Reds reliever Steve Delabar faced six hitters — and walked five of them. Meanwhile, Kershaw has faced 253 hitters this year — and walked four of them. So I’ll take the man with the unheard-of 88-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The man with six straight double-figure strikeout games that have included a TOTAL of two walks. The man who bears the weight of his franchise every time he goes out there, averages more outs per start (23) than any pitcher in the sport and owns the late innings like no other starter alive. He has now faced 54 hitters from the seventh inning on. Seven have somehow reached base. Not a one has scored. He’s amazing, this dude.
Arrieta is 8-0 with a 1.29 ERA, 2.48 FIP and 0.84 WHIP over nine starts. Kershaw holds the edge in strikeouts, FIP, WHIP and innings pitched, among other categories.
While Greinke has faded in his first season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cy Young race again figures to feature Arrieta and Kershaw, with all other NL pitchers vying for third place.