While the Beyond The Box Score staff was nearly unanimous in awarding the the Rookies of the Year to Myers and Fernandez and was unanimous in awarding the National League Cy Young to Clayton Kershaw, the American League award of the same name was a bit more contested. Perhaps some BBWAA voters will look to his 21 victories and make up their minds, but even the bright minds at BTBS found plenty of reasons to select Max Scherzer as the best pitcher in the American League in 2013.
Scherzer's big year was actually a continuation of his strong finish in 2012 and plenty of prognosticators saw him as a breakout candidate going into 2013. The heterochromatic ace got off to a blistering open that resulted in an All-Star Game start opposite Matt Harvey and a tremendous amount of national attention due to his accumulation of a statistic called "wins."
But Scherzer was more than multi-colored eyes and lots of run support, he was a consistent and dominant starting pitcher. Across 214.1 innings, Scherzer turned in a 2.90 ERA in front of a weak defense to go along with his 2.74 FIP, 3.16 xFIP, and AL best 6.4 fWAR. He struck out nearly 29% of the batters he faced while walking fewer than 7% of them. On eight separate occasions he punched out ten or more hitters in a game and walked more than three just twice.
Scherzer's a believer in advanced metrics and had generally been a darling of sabermetricians. This year, he reached across party lines and won over the old guard with a mesmerizing trick in which he convinced his offense to score him a ton of runs and his bullpen not to blow any leads on days on which he pitched. It was a truly brilliant effort from one of the more deserving people in the sport.
He wasn't without competition, however. His own teammate, Anibal Sanchez was better on an inning by inning basis whether you care about run prevention or FIP, but a brief DL stint was enough to convince most of our voters that Scherzer was better overall. Yu Darvish had another terrific season and Felix Hernandez quietly added to his already impressive resume. Chris Sale found himself on a bad team and overlooked by many despite having one of the better seasons in the league. Iwakuma impressed some and Verlander was actually pretty good as long as you don't try to compare him to the bar he set for himself.
The National League has the high end market cornered, but the American League was rich with depth this year. The award goes to Scherzer for outstanding achievements in traditional and advanced statistics, but several others made it close.
And here's our full ballot:
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All statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.
Neil Weinberg is a writer and editor at Beyond The Box Score, contributor to Gammons Daily, and can also be found writing enthusiastically about the Detroit Tigers at New English D. You can follow and interact with him on Twitter at @NeilWeinberg44.