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2017 BBWAA Awards: National League Cy Young Award

So far the 2017 BBWAA awards that have been given out have been nail-biters for all involved. Seriously? Who would have thought that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger could come from behind to beat our Paul DeJong and Trey Mancini for Rookie of the Year? INSANITY. Or how about Torey Lovullo taking just sweeping the legs of Bud Black and Dave Roberts? Dave Roberts took two Ls in the last month and this was the biggest. Hands down.

Sarcasm, of course. 

Stephen Strasburg by Lorie Shaull is licensed under CC BY SA-2.0

2017 BBWAA Awards: National League Cy Young Award


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

So far the 2017 BBWAA awards that have been given out have been nail-biters for all involved. Seriously? Who would have thought that Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger could come from behind to beat our Paul DeJong and Trey Mancini for Rookie of the Year? INSANITY. Or how about Torey Lovullo taking just sweeping the legs of Bud Black and Dave Roberts? Dave Roberts took two Ls in the last month and this was the biggest. Hands down.

Sarcasm, of course.

But this is the beginning of the main event. After the Cy Young Award winners are announced, we get to the MVP which are close contests. Will Stanton take home the hardware? Will Joey Votto finally bring a trophy back to Cincinnati? Are the Reds finally relevant? I kid, but I’m serious about these awards. It’s about to get very serious, and it starts with the Cy Youngs.

If you haven’t read the American League Cy Young piece, take a minute and do it. It’s a little less insane than the National League, but it’ll give you perspective on the scope of this race.

Very rarely do these awards have finalists who share an equal claim to the honors. That’s the case this year. Who else would you have as an NL Cy Young finalist? Robbie Ray? Gio Gonzalez? No. It’s Kershaw, Scherzer, Strasburg. That’s all you need. That’s the conversation. These are the best pitchers in the league. No question. So now we have the hard part: how do we pick a winner? It’s a difficult choice for the BBWAA writers, but if they decided Bud Selig deserved to be enshrined in Cooperstown then they can pick sides on the NL Cy Young.


Stephen Strasburg

15-4 – 2.52 ERA, 175.1 IP, 204 Ks, 1.015 WHIP, 10.5 K/9, 4.34 K/BB.

Stephen Strasburg 100% deserves to be a finalist in 2017, without a doubt. Does he have a shot at winning? Not really, but what a season he had. After completely altering his throwing mechanics during the offseason, Strasburg was able to pitch over 25 games for the first time since 2014. the Nationals were solid all year and despite some serious injuries to some big-name players, the starting rotation kept the ship afloat. Seriously, when A.J. Cole is pitching semi-decent and he’s your spot starter, things are going right.

Things went very right for Strasburg in the second half of the season, too. Get this, even though he missed a chunk of August, Strasburg still managed to pitch 10 games in the second half. THE INCREDIBLE THING IS THAT HE ONLY GAVE UP 6 EARNED RUNS IN THOSE 10 GAMES. WHAT.

The question has always been “how good could he be if he were healthy?” That’s the question that’s starting to grow darker. When Strasburg came into the league it was as if he was the going to be the second coming of Randy Johnson, or Nolan Ryan, and now it seems like he might be lost to injury at the drop of a hat.

This season has been a triumph for Strasburg and hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come for the right-hander in Washington.


Clayton Kershaw

18-4 – 2.31 ERA, 175.0 IP, 202 Ks, 0.949 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 6.73 K/BB.

I have long been enamored with Kershaw. This past World Series when all of us non-Astros and Dodgers fans were hopping on bandwagons, I joined the LA contingent, solely because I wanted to see the best pitcher in the game finally win a ring.

Woof.

The World Series loss aside, this year was more of the same for Kershaw. Dominance, lollipop curveballs, and making hitters miss. The Kershaw Special. OR WAS IT?

Kershaw’s season started off like most do, with a 16-2 start. Wait, sorry, I got confused there. Kershaw went 16-2 all the way through August and then seemingly spontaneously combusted giving up 13 Earned Runs in September. In the last month of the season opposing, hitters were batting .273 against the lefty. That’s not a very Kershaw-like number.

Is there a chance that the Dodgers successes in 2017 hurt Kershaw chances at winning a 4th Cy Young? It’s possible, considering that Kershaw pitched fewer games in the second half than any other Cy Young contender in either league. Missing all of August with a back injury certainly doesn’t help Kershaw’s chances. What also doesn’t help his cause is the inability to stop the Dodgers skid once he got back. It’s an internal battle of Kershaw-like things and unKersahw-like things in 2017.

Still, it’s hard to argue with a 2.31 ERA and a sub-1.000 WHIP. It’s also hard to argue with a guy who already has 3 Cy Youngs.


Max Scherzer

16-6 – 2.51 ERA, 200.2 IP, 268 Ks, 0.902 WHIP, 12 K/9, 4.87 K/BB.

This is Max Scherzer’s award to lose, people. Why? The Strikeout numbers. Max Scherzer, from May 4th to August 28th, Max Scherzer threw 13 10+ K games. That’s 13 out of 19 games that Scherzer was suffocatingly good. In the first half of the season, opposing hitters were batting a measly .163 against Old Blue Eye. That’s straight up dominance.

As we’ve seen with pretty much every serious Cy Young contender this year, Scherzer’s numbers took a tumble in the second half. Just kidding, Scherzer’s numbers went from immortal to 10% mortal. Opposing teams jumped up to hitting .204, and his ERA bounced up to 3.24 fro 2.10. Horrid. Absolutely horrid.

Sarcasm.

The fact of the matter is this, Max Scherzer was the most consistent pitcher in this finalist pool, and I’m including the American League. When Scherzer takes the mound, it’s his game to lose and you have to find a way to beat him. It’s the most aggravating thing a pitcher can do. As a Mets fan, I hate Max Scherzer with a fiery passion. Every time he takes the mound I want him to suffer, I want him to get lit up and never return to the game. I’m actively wishing the Yips on Max Scherzer any time he faces the Mets.

As a baseball fan, how can you not love watching Max Scherzer pitch? There’s an animalistic quality. As if he’s stalking his prey, waiting to capitalize on a moment of weakness. Mad Max also seems to pitch every at-bat as if it were the final out of a no-hitter. The disappointment on his face after a first-inning walk is the same as if we’re in the 9th. Md Max has the ferocity to pitch for any team, in any situation, in any ballpark…. except in Game 5 of the NLDS…. sorry Max.

So who wins?

Scherzer. It’s his to defend and it’s his to lose.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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