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Clayton Kershaw (14-8, 209.0 IP, 1.89 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 8.66 K/9, 4.28 K/BB, 5.9 WAR)
With all due respect to anyone who was expecting to read about Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez, Adam Wainwright, Cliff Lee, Jhoulys Chacin, Mat Latos or Patrick Corbin in this article, the race for the NL Cy Young Award ended when Harvey partially tore his UCL.
Wainwright was a prime contender two months ago, but he has allowed at least three earned runs to score in eight of his last 12 starts, raising his ERA from 2.22 to 3.14 in the process. His 2.55 FIP, 2.76 xFIP and 6.45 K/BB are still quite pristine, but he has taken a giant step back from where he was at in the first half of the season.
Fernandez is going to be shut down before the end of the year and Francisco Liriano has pitched just 136 innings. Great as they have been, no starting pitcher has won a Cy Young Award while pitching fewer than 200 innings since the strike-shortened season of 1994. As much as anything, the Cy Young is about endurance and consistency throughout the course of a full season.
Latos, Lee, Chacin and Corbin have each pitched admirably and feature nearly identical marks in ERA, FIP and WAR, but those numbers are also nowhere near those put up by Kershaw.
If—and this is a pretty big if—Kershaw completely melts down in the month of September and the voters insist on overlooking Craig Kimbrel to give the award to a different starting pitcher in the NL, Harvey has the best shot at getting those votes.
Despite only lasting for three-quarters of the season, his 6.2 WAR will likely end up being the third-best among NL starters. His 2.00 FIP will certainly be the best, and his 2.27 ERA would be the best if Kershaw's ERA balloons another four-tenths of a point.
Let's be serious, though. This was a three-horse race one month ago, and Harvey and Wainwright have drifted so far into Kershaw's rear-view mirror that he could moonwalk his way to the award.
In August, Kershaw averaged 1.01 strikeouts per inning while posting a 1.01 ERA for the month. It was the fourth time in this season's five months that he had an ERA of less than 2.00.
There are better K/9 and K/BB ratios out there for sure, but there hasn't been a total package anywhere near as great as Kershaw has been.