It's awards season, the season in which writers, bloggers, and fans will argue over who did the best baseball things over the course of the 2015 season. SB Nation is doing their own awards-giving in the following categories:
- Hitter of the Year
- Pitcher of the Year
- Defensive Play of the Year
- Bat Flip / Celebration of the Year
- Best Breakage of Unwritten Rules of the Year
This particular article relates to the "Pitcher of the Year" award - you may define "Pitcher of the Year" in whatever way is meaningful to you in order to vote. This is not separated by league. The writers at BtBS have submitted a few nominations for each award to help narrow down the choices from "everyone" to "less than everyone". Here are the choices:
Stat line: 2.13 ERA / 1.99 FIP / 2.09 xFIP for an 8.6 fWAR
Kersh had a rough start to the year, I think. Does anyone care about that anymore? He actually led all pitchers in fWAR despite his "rough" start. Kershaw was still above average during his "rough" start. Forget that. He allowed one run to score in the entire month of July. His strikeout rate climbed higher, and his ground-ball rate held almost steady after increasing it quite a bit last year. Oh, he also led all pitchers in innings pitched. Quality and quantity.
Stat line: 1.77 ERA / 2.35 FIP / 2.61 xFIP for a 7.2 fWAR
Arrieta ascended further into ACE status this season. He brought down his walk rate and increased his ground-ball rate while maintaining his strikeout rate over the largest workload by far of his career. He was utterly dominant over the second half of the season.
Stat line: 1.66 ERA / 2.76 FIP / 3.22 xFIP for a 5.9 fWAR
Greinke beat out Arrieta for the lowest ERA among qualified pitchers. He did not strike out as many players as the two guys above him, but he severely limited opposing hitters' strength of contact as shown by a .229 BABIP, which only Marco Estrada beat. Greinke also had the highest strand rate among qualified pitchers. Some say his pre-game preparation and defensive alignment skills help propel him forward.
Stat line: 2.48 ERA / 2.91 FIP / 2.75 xFIP for a 6.1 fWAR
Keuchel continued right where he left off last year, but he got even better. His strikeout rate went up by a fair amount, and he just barely lost to Kershaw in innings pitched. Only Brett Anderson bested Keuchel's ground-ball rate among qualified pitchers.
Stat line: 2.45 ERA / 2.78 FIP / 3.24 xFIP for a 6.4 fWAR
Price helped the Blue Jays reach playoff land for the first time since the 90s. He was everything for which the Blue Jays could have hoped during the regular season. His strikeout rate remained high, his walk rate remained low (though not quite as low as before), and he kept up the workhorse workload with 220.1 innings pitched.