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Clayton Kershaw named Beyond The Box Score 2013 National League Cy Young Award Winner

For a good part of the season, Matt Harvey and Adam Wainwright were locked in a three-way race for the league's top pitching honor with Clayton Kershaw. Down the stretch, Kershaw separated himself from the pack.

Clayton Kershaw is the consensus National League Cy Young winner.
Clayton Kershaw is the consensus National League Cy Young winner.
Christian Petersen

In late August, Beyond The Box Score was home to a lively debate comparing the seasons of Mets ace Matt Harvey and Dodgers front-man Clayton Kershaw. In fact, I wrote in favor of Harvey's Cy Young case and stand behind everything I said at the time. Unfortunately for me, and really everyone who likes watching baseball, the Mets announced Harvey's season ending injury two hours after that post went live into the world. From there, it was really just about Kershaw maintaining his pace.

The peripherals favor Harvey and Adam Wainwright threw more innings, but Kershaw's mix of 236 innings and a 1.83 ERA, 2.39 FIP, and 2.88 xFIP are enough to set him apart. There's really no question that Kershaw is the best pitcher in baseball at this point given his performance over the last three seasons and the slight decline of Justin Verlander.

His 2013 campaign was superb, but probably not nearly as impressive relative to his competitors as this balloting suggests. The BBWAA will likely hand him the award unanimously tomorrow as we have here, but the distance between Kershaw and his rivals is not nearly as large as the voting indicates. Kershaw, Wainwright, and Harvey were separated by less than half a win according to FanGraphs.

Kershaw pitched in front of a better defense than either of the others and limited runs against generally in line with that advantage. Clayton Kershaw earned this award, but it's worth acknowledging that Harvey and Wainwright weren't that far back. In all honesty, I don't think Kershaw was much better this year than he was in 2011 or 2012. He was an amazing pitcher who had better fielders behind him than he had previously. If you're a voter who cares mostly about results, Kershaw wins in a runaway. If you're someone who votes based on only what a pitcher can control, Kershaw wins a tighter race.

If it feels like this post is dampening the Kershaw love too heavily, just consider that there's really nothing original left to say about Clayton Kershaw. He's the consensus best pitcher in baseball, builds orphanages in Africa, and will soon have a net worth that rivals a handful countries.

Congratulations Clayton, here's another award.

Rank Player 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
1 Clayton Kershaw 16 112
2 Adam Wainwright 11 5 59
3 Matt Harvey 5 7 1 3 47
4 Cliff Lee 3 8 2 35
5 Jose Fernandez 1 6 8 29
6 Jhoulys Chacin 1 3
7 Jordan Zimmermann 1 1
8 Craig Kimbrel 1 1
9 Madison Bumgarner 1 1

And here's our full balloting:

Voter Name 1 2 3 4 5
Lance Rinker Kershaw Harvey Wainwright Fernandez Lee
Andrew Ball Kershaw Wainwright Lee Fernandez Harvey
Jeff Long Kershaw Wainwright Lee Harvey Fernandez
Jon Roegele Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Lee Fernandez
Stuart Wallace Kershaw Harvey Wainwright Fernandez Zimmermann
Ben Horrow Kershaw Wainwright Lee Chacin Harvey
Stephen Loftus Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Lee Fernandez
Matt Hunter Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Fernandez Lee
Alex Kienholz Kershaw Wainwright Fernandez Lee Harvey
Alex Skillin Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Lee Fernandez
Andrew Shen Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Lee Fernandez
TBA Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Lee Fernandez
TBA Kershaw Harvey Wainwright Fernandez Kimbrel
Bryan Grosnick Kershaw Harvey Wainwright Lee Fernandez
Randy Holt Kershaw Wainwright Harvey Fernandez Bumgarner
Neil Weinberg Kershaw Harvey Wainwright Lee Fernandez

. . .

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.

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