Clayton Kershaw: 3 Reasons the Ace Should Repeat as Cy Young Award Winner
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
With the MLB postseason over, now it is time to start focusing on who should win hardware for their performances in 2012.
One of the most debated of the awards that will be doled out over the coming weeks will be the National League Cy Young Award.
Here are three reasons that Kershaw should repeat as the National League Cy Young Award winner.
Kershaw Ranks Near the Top of All Traditional Statistical Categories
Clayton Kershaw posted some of the best numbers in the National League.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
As mentioned before, some have said that Kershaw had a down season, just one year after claiming his first Cy Young Award at the ripe age of 23.
But if you look closely, Kershaw's season statistically was anything but down.
Kershaw led the National League with a 2.53 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP.
Kershaw also finished second in many important categories.
Kershaw's 227.2 innings pitched trailed Dickey's 233.2 innings by five, Kershaw also trailed Dickey by just one strikeout, posting 229 whiffs while Dickey gathered 230 punch-outs.
Kershaw could have easily won both of these categories if he would not have had to miss a pair of starts in September with a hip injury.
Kershaw also finished second in the NL in batting average against, allowing opponents to hit just .210 on the season. Kershaw was also second in OPS against, trailing only Gonzalez while allowing the opposition to post a .593 OPS.
Kershaw's statistical resume certainly looks as though it is Cy Young Award worthy despite the fact that Kershaw won only 14 games on the year.
Kershaw Had the Worst Run Support of the Three Favorites
Matt Kemp and the Dodgers offense struggled to score runs behind Kershaw.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Many will dismiss Kershaw's candidacy for the Cy Young Award because he only won 14 games.
Compare that to Dickey's 20 wins and the 21 victories that Gonzalez posted for the Nationals and it looks as though Kershaw is a distant third in the race.
If one looks more closely though, they may see why Kershaw had so much trouble getting victories.
Kershaw's teammates only provided him with 3.94 runs scored per game. Compare that to Dickey, who received 4.61 runs per game and Gonzalez, who benefited from an eye-popping 5.38 runs per game, and the story suddenly changes.
The stats say that the Mets gave Dickey more support offensively than Kershaw received from the Dodgers, virtually debunking the myth that Kershaw played for a vastly superior team.
One last note for those who want to look at defenses for New York and Los Angeles.
The Mets and Dodgers were virtually even defensively. The Dodgers made 98 errors on the season and posted a .984 fielding percentage while the Mets made 101 errors and posted a .983 fielding percentage.
Sabermetrics Give the Edge to Kershaw
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Kershaw's candidacy is legit when looking at his traditional statistics, but when you incorporate sabermetrics into the analysis, it is clear to see why he may be the only choice.
Kershaw posted a wins above replacement (WAR) of 6.3, which is superior to the 5.4 WAR Dickey posted and the 4.5 WAR for Gonzalez.
Kershaw also posted an average game score of 63.0, which was also best in the NL.
Finally, Kershaw had six tough losses, which could have made his overall win/loss record better. Compare this to just three tough losses for Dickey.
Conclusion: Kershaw Should Repeat as NL Cy Young Award Winner
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Overall, when you look beyond the talking heads and the mainstream media and analyze the stats and evidence, it is clear to see that Clayton Kershaw is the most deserving of the National League Cy Young Award.
There is no a question that Kershaw is deserving of taking home the honor given to the best pitcher in his league for the second consecutive season. The only question is—how many more will the 24 year old win?