Saturday, December 14, 2013

Breakdown of the 2013 Walter Johnson Award

Every year, the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance) selects noteworthy individuals in the game to win end of the year awards.  There are a number of different awards given away by the BBA.  You can find a list of the awards and my picks for each on my ballot here.  This post is a breakdown explaining my choices for the Walter Johnson Award, which is comparable to the Cy Young Award.

“But wait….I went to your site and looked at your Ballot.  There was no Walter Johnson Award listed at all!”

Thank you dedicated reader.  How accurate your assessment is.  It seems that I completely forgot to list the Walter Johnson Award on my site.  And, as my blog post counts as my ballot, it seems that I did not vote for anyone to win the Walter Johnson Award.  My bad.

The good news is I do have an opinion as to who should have won those awards. Furthermore, I know who won the BBA awards, as well as the actual Cy Young.  And I’m going to tell you all about that now.

In the National League, I would have gone with Clayton Kershaw.  Kershaw was tied for third in the NL with 16 Wins (tied with Jorge de la Rosa and trailing Adam Wainwright and Jordan Zimmerman, who both had 19 Wins).  However Kershaw was by far the most dominant.  He led the league with 232 Ks and a 1.83 ERA.  He had a minuscule 0.97 WHIP and 198 BAA.  He gave up only 164 hits in 236 IP, which was the second most innings pitched in the league.  And his 3 CGs and 2 shutouts were the best in the NL.  He was, quite simply, masterful.  Most believe he has taken over the mantle of best pitcher in the major leagues.  And while others had more wins, he was by far the single most dominant ace across the board.

I also considered Adam Wainwright and Jordan Zimmerman with their league leading 19 Wins.  Wainwright was probably second on my list with 219 Ks, third in the league.  And Jose Fernandez was up there for me with a 2.19 ERA, the second best in baseball, behind only Clayton Kershaw.  However no single pitcher stacked up to the Los Angeles Dodgers ace in total stat dominance.  Clayton Kershaw is among the best in baseball, and was easily my NL winner of the Walter Johnson Award…..had I remembered to choose one.

The American League award was possibly even easier to give.  Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers would have won it…again…assuming I don’t forget this one.  Scherzer led all of MLB with 21 Wins.  He was also second in baseball with 240 Ks in only 214 IP, which is extremely impressive.  He also turned in a 2.90 ERA which means more in the AL than it would have in the NL.  His 0.97 WHIP and 194 BAA show that he was great in all phases of the game and he only walked 56 batters through the year.  Similar to Kershaw in the NL, there were individual pitchers that matched him in some categories, but no one was as dominant across the board as Scherzer.

Yu Darvish was really the only other pitcher who I seriously considered for this award because he had a fantastic year.  It started with a near no hitter in his first start of the year and he was dominant in just about every subsequent start.  He went 13-9 with 32 starts with a 2.83 ERA, a lower ERA than Max Scherzer.  He also had more Ks than Scherzer and everyone else as his 277 Ks led the major leagues.  He did that in 209 IP while turning in a 1.07 WHIP and 194 BAA.  He was great.  But Scherzer was vastly superior in the Wins category, while staying very close in Ks and ERA and presenting a better WHIP and BAA.  Not to mention far less walks.  The AL ERA leader was actually Scherzer’s teammate, Anibal Sanchez, who had a noteworthy year, winning the AL ERA title. His 2.57 mark was the best in the junior circuit and was paired with 202 Ks in 187 IP and a 14-8 record.  He also only made 29 starts but was phenomenal in those starts.  He deserves some recognition, but this was a one-man show for me, and Scherzer was the best pitcher in the AL this year by a decent margin.

The BBA and Major League baseball had the same assessment that I would have had, had I indeed picked Walter Johnson Award winners.  However, similar to the Rookie of the Year/Willie Mays Award winners, whenever large groups agree and vote for the same people across the board, you can assume that the individuals being recognized were very good.  This was the case for Kershaw and Scherzer. 

The last award breakdown (which I actually selected) is coming your way soon.  Stay tuned!

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