The awards for best pitcher, at least in the American League, are worth far more ink than I’m about to spill on them. Alas…
NL Walter Johnson Award
1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
You were expecting Dan Haren? Kershaw hasn’t quite passed Sandy Koufax as the greatest pitcher in Dodgers history yet, largely because pitchers don’t throw 330 innings a season anymore, but he will soon, and I’ll write thousands of words about it when it happens.
2. Johnny Cueto, Reds
3. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
Early in the season, when Kershaw was still building up his case after missing a month with injury, these division rivals were vying for the frontrunnership for this award. Cueto was untouchable in April and May, while Wainwright was his steady, brilliant self all season. Waino finished with the better FIP (2.88 to 3.30), but Cueto led in ERA (2.25 to 2.38) and led the league in innings (243 2/3 by a wide margin.
4. Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
5. Cole Hamels, Phillies
Did you know Hamels had a 2.46 ERA this season? I didn’t either. Moving on…
AL Walter Johnson Award
1. Corey Kluber, Indians
2. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
This one went down to the wire with brilliant September performances, particularly from Kluber. My preferred methodology for picking this award is to rank pitchers by this formula:
fWAR + LOB-wins/2 + BIP-wins/4
Here’s the NL Leaderboard:
It was closer than that.
3. Chris Sale, White Sox
4. Jon Lester, Red Sox/A’s
5. Phil Hughes, Twins
Sale gets a bump for sheer dominance (2.17 ERA) despite a relative dearth of innings (174). Hughes gets a bump for his 11.6 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which I believe is the best of all time. Had teams not BABiPed his head off (.324), he might have contended for this award.