MLB History

Clayton Kershaw and Biggest Landslide MLB Award Races of the Last 25 Years

Robert KnapelCorrespondent INovember 7, 2013

Clayton Kershaw and Biggest Landslide MLB Award Races of the Last 25 Years

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Since he reached the MLB, Clayton Kershaw has been dominating opposing hitters. He picked up the National League Cy Young award in 2011 and finished second to R.A. Dickey last year.

    It seems fairly certain that Kershaw will win his second career Cy Young award this season. Kershaw was already voted as the top pitcher in the National League by his fellow players, as reported by Dylan Hernandez of The Los Angeles Times.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers ace posted a sub-2.00 ERA (1.83) and also led the NL with 232 strikeouts. He should easily take home the Cy Young award in one of the bigger MLB awards voting landslides of the past 25 years.

2012 AL Rookie of the Year: Mike Trout

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Mike Trout's 2012 season was one of the best rookie years of all-time. According to Fangraphs, Mike Trout posted the highest WAR of all time for a position player in their rookie season.

    Trout was absolutely dominant, posting a .326/.399/.564 line with 129 runs scored, 30 home runs, 83 RBI and 49 stolen bases.

    It should come as no surprise that Trout was the unanimous choice for the American League Rookie of the Year Award based on his phenomenal campaign. Even though Yoenis Cespedes put up strong numbers as well, the voting was not even close.

2011 AL Cy Young Award: Justin Verlander

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Following the 2011 season, the question was not if Justin Verlander would win the American League Cy Young Award, but it was if he would also be able to take home the American League MVP Award as well.

    The voters eventually determined that based on his performance that season, he deserved both trophies. No pitcher in the American League could match Verlander's sheer dominance that year.

    Verlander lead the AL in wins, ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts, WHIP and H/9 during the 2011 season. It was clear that he was the key to the Detroit Tigers' success that season and was certainly the best pitcher in the league.

2004 AL Cy Young: Johan Santana

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    Eric Miller/Getty Images

    Johan Santana will go down in history as one of the best Rule 5 Draft picks of all time. He was initially a member of the Houston Astros, but they left him exposed in the 1999 Rule 5 Draft, and the Florida Marlins picked him up and then sent him to the Minnesota Twins.

    That turned out to be a great deal for the Twins as Santana developed into a Cy Young winning pitcher. During the 2004 season Santana won 20 games while also posting an AL leading 2.61 ERA and 265 strikeouts.

    While there were good performances that year from Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, they did not come close to the level of dominance that Santana displayed that year.

2002 NL MVP: Barry Bonds

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    For a four-year span, there was no better offensive player in baseball than Barry Bonds. From 2001 to 2004, Bonds took home the National League MVP Award four times.

    During the 2002 season, Bonds posted a .370/.582/.799 triple slash line. In addition to that, he hit 46 home runs, drove in 110 runs and walked an absurd 198 times.

    The voters had an easy choice for the MVP Award that season, and it was clear that Bonds was going to take home all of the first-place votes.

2002 NL Cy Young: Randy Johnson

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling were a big reason why the Arizona Diamondbacks were able to win the World Series in 2001, and they picked up right where they left off the following season.

    Schilling put up very good numbers in 2002 with a 23-7 record, 3.23 ERA and 316 strikeouts. While that would have won the Cy Young Award in many years, in 2002 it only got Schilling second place in the voting and he received no first-place votes.

    The reason for that is because of the performance of Randy Johnson. During the 2002 season, Johnson went 24-5 with a 2.32 ERA and 334 strikeouts. Johnson was heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition with his performance that year and was the uncontested winner of the National League Cy Young Award.

2001 NL Rookie of the Year: Albert Pujols

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Albert Pujols may have been a 13th-round draft pick, but he burst onto the scene during the 2001 season. Pujols looked like a veteran and was a superstar for the St. Louis Cardinals.

    In his first big league season, Pujols hit .329 with 37 home runs and 130 RBI. Those are MVP-caliber numbers, so it is no surprise that Pujols was selected as the unanimous decision for the NL Rookie of the Year Award over players such as Roy Oswalt and Jimmy Rollins.

2000 AL Cy Young: Pedro Martinez

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    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    As a member of the Boston Red Sox in the year 2000, Pedro Martinez put in one of the best seasons of a pitcher in the 21st century. Opposing hitters struggled mightily to get their bats on the ball that season when Martinez pitched.

    Martinez had a 1.74 ERA that season which was good for an absurd 291 ERA+. In addition to that, he struck out 284 hitters, had a 0.74 WHIP and 18 wins.

    To paint a better picture of Martinez's dominance that season, the pitcher with the next closest ERA in the American League that season was Roger Clemens with a 3.70 mark. That was more than double Martinez's 1.74 ERA. Based on that, it is obvious why Martinez was able to run away with the Cy Young Award.

     

1999 AL Cy Young: Pedro Martinez

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    No pitcher in the American League was on the same level as Pedro Martinez during the 1999 season. It was clear from early in the season that Martinez would go on to win the Cy Young Award that year.

    With 23 wins, a 2.07 ERA and 313 strikeouts, Martinez took home the AL pitching Triple Crown. His dominance that season went unmatched, and he easily collected all of the first-place votes in the AL Cy Young race.

1997 AL Rookie of the Year: Nomar Garciaparra

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    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    When the Boston Red Sox selected Nomar Garciaparra with the 12th pick in the 1994 MLB draft, they knew that they were getting a promising young player. Garciaparra was able to live up to the hype when he reached the majors in 1997.

    Fellow rookies in his class included Jose Cruz and Jason Dickson, who finished second and third in the AL Rookie of the Year voting that season. Cruz had a .248 batting average with 26 home runs and 68 RBI.

    Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Garciaparra had an easy time winning the trophy with his .306 batting average, 30 home runs and 98 RBI.

1995 NL Cy Young: Greg Maddux

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    In the early and mid 1990s, the Atlanta Braves were the most dominant team in the National League as they reached the World Series four times in in a six-year span. A large reason for their success was their pitching staff.

    Leading that staff was future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. During the 1995 season, it was crystal clear that Maddux was not only the best pitcher in the National League, but the best pitcher in all of baseball.

    Over 28 starts, Maddux picked up 19 wins and only allowed 38 earned runs to give him a 1.63 ERA and a 260 ERA+. He also completed 10 games that season and had a 0.81 WHIP.

    Those numbers were more than good enough to earn Maddux his fourth consecutive National League Cy Young Award.

1994 NL Cy Young: Greg Maddux

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    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    During his illustrious career, one of the best seasons that Greg Maddux had came in 1994 during his second year with the Atlanta Braves.

    He was following up a Cy Young Award in his first year with the team, and Maddux kicked things up to another level in 1994. The Braves ace allowed just 35 earned runs that season and had a 1.56 ERA.

    Not only did Maddux look like a potential Cy Young Award winner, but he also earned enough votes to place him fifth in the NL MVP voting that season.

1993 NL Rookie of the Year: Mike Piazza

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The story of Mike Piazza is legendary. He was drafted as a favor to his father by Tommy Lasorda in the 62nd round of the 1988 MLB draft, and he was not expected to amount to anything.

    In turn, Piazza made it look like the best favor that Lasorda had ever granted. After moving to catcher, Piazza began to look like a stronger and stronger candidate to reach the major leagues.

    Once he did, Piazza never looked back and went on to become one of the best offensive catchers in MLB history.

    During his rookie season, Piazza batted .318, slugged 35 home runs and drove in 112 runners. He ended up with a 100 percent share of the NL Rookie of the Year votes, and his closest competitor, Greg McMichael had just a 29 percent share.

1988 NL Cy Young Award: Orel Hershiser

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    When there are a few players that are having a great year, a streak by an individual player can help push them over the top when it comes to awards voting. That is exactly what happened with Orel Hershiser in 1988.

    Hershiser, Danny Jackson and David Cone all broke the 20-win mark and had a sub 2.75 ERA, but when it came down to picking a Cy Young Award winner, the choice was an obvious one for the voters.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers ace had a streak of 59 innings without allowing a run that was finally broken in the last game of the regular season. With that fresh in the voters minds, it is no surprise that Hershiser picked up every first-place vote that year.

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