The Cy Young award, named after the Hall of Fame pitcher who died in 1955, was first handed out in 1956 with the goal of recognizing the “most valuable pitcher” from each season. The first eleven years of the award saw one pitcher per year receiving the honor, but in 1967 the Cy Young began being handed out to a pitcher from each league who was voted on as the best from the season.
Fifteen players who have won the Cy Young award have gone on to the Hall of Fame up until this point — several of those players are still active, however. The current record for most Cy Young awards is held by Roger Clemens, with seven, but seventeen total players have won multiple Cy Young’s in their career.
Voting for the award is fairly straightforward.
Two writers from each city of both the American League and National League make up the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voters for the Cy Young award, making a total of thirty voters for each league (fifteen teams, with two voters per city). A first place vote earns a player seven points, a second place vote gets four points, a third place vote receives three points, a fourth place vote is worth two points, with a fifth place vote earning a single point. Once added up, the player with the highest overall total wins.
The 2013 Major League Baseball Cy Young award winners for both the American League and National League were announced Wednesday night on MLB Network. Here are the winners, along with my thoughts on each:
AMERICAN LEAGUE CY YOUNG
Original Pick: Max Scherzer
Finalists: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Max Scherzer
Winner: Max Scherzer
Thoughts On Max Scherzer Winning
Max Scherzer winning the Cy Young award seemed to be an easy choice, as he was the only pitcher with twenty or more wins this past season, however, both Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma had great cases, with many people siding with one of them. But in the end, the writers’ voted for Scherzer, giving him 28 of the 30 first-place votes, and a total of 203 points.
Although Yu Darvish, who received 93 points, was better than Scherzer in both ERA and strikeouts — leading the league in games with ten or more strikeouts, with twelve — it was hard to overlook a win-loss record of 21-3 for Scherzer, which is what I feel ultimately gave him the edge over his competition.
Along with his impressive record, Scherzer posted a 2.90 ERA with 240 strikeouts, and in addition had a win streak of thirteen games to start the season. Many people make the argument that wins aren’t a very good indicator of a pitcher’s performance, being determined by a teams run support — a case make for Iwakuma, who earned 73 of the voters’ points — and while I agree, I don’t think it was close enough to completely throw Scherzer’s record out the door.
Max Scherzer had a great season and was the most deserving of the Cy Young award.
The BBWAA’s vote had Yu Darvish finishing second, with Hisashi Iwakuma coming in third.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CY YOUNG
Original Pick: Clayton Kershaw
Finalists: Jose Fernandez, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright
Winner: Clayton Kershaw
Thoughts On Clayton Kershaw Winning
There was really no contest in the running for National League Cy Young. Clayton Kershaw, who won the award in 2011 and finished second in 2012, had an amazing year, and with the stats he was able to post, you had to figure he was going to be the winner. The voters agreed, as it wasn’t even close. Kershaw received all but one of the first-place votes, earning him 207 total points, beating out Adam Wainwright’s 86 points, and Jose Fernandez’s 62 — Fernandez picked up the Rookie of the Year award on Monday.
The only pitcher recognized on every voters’ ballot, Kershaw had a historical year, going 16-9 with an astounding 1.83 ERA; the lowest ERA since Pedro Martinez in 2000, and the lowest National League ERA for a left-hander since Sandy Koufax in 1966. With a batting average against of .195, Kershaw put up great numbers in every aspect possible.
Kershaw becomes the 17th pitcher in history to win multiple Cy Young awards in their career, and the third pitcher to lead the league in ERA for three consecutive seasons.
At just 25 years old, odds are this won’t be the last Cy Young award for Clayton Kershaw.
The BBWAA’s vote had Adam Wainwright finishing second, with Jose Fernandez coming in third.