Cy Young 2013: Most Obvious Choices in Both the American and National League

Tyler BrookeSenior Analyst IINovember 7, 2013

ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 18:  Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 18, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

The 2013 Cy Young Award finalists have officially been released, but we all know who is winning in both the American and National League.

Honestly, it's no contest.  Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers are the obvious choices for this award.  

Yu Darvish and Hisashi Iwakuma were strong pitchers in the AL, but Scherzer was the most dominant pitcher for most of the season.  He posted a 2.90 ERA with an incredible 21-3 record and 240 strikeouts in 214.1 innings of work.

Oct 19, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Max Scherzer throws a pitch against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning in game six of the American League Championship Series playoff baseball game at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: G
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Few opposing hitters had success against Scherzer, as he held them to just a .196 batting average and posted a 6.7 walk percentage.  His WHIP of 0.97 made him the only pitcher in the American League with a WHIP under one.  He also led all AL pitchers with an incredible 6.4 WAR.

What makes Scherzer so deadly is his incredible fastball, which is one of the nastiest in the majors.  He also has an impressive cutter and a curveball that he started to use more in 2013.  According to FanGraphs.com, he led the AL with the highest pitch value on his fastball and the third-highest value for his slider.

As you can see from his pitch usage, his fastball and slider were quite effective.

Max Scherzer 2013 Pitch Usage
PitchCountKBAASLGISO
Fastball2138132.199.365.166
Slider559147.136.204.068
Change79860.223.326.103
Curve27810.191.310.119
BrooksBaseball.net

The case is even easier to make when it comes to Kershaw.  His competition is Jose Fernandez and Adam Wainwright, and while both are terrific pitchers, they weren't on the same planet as Kershaw in 2013.

Kershaw finished with a 16-9 record, leading all National League pitchers in ERA (1.83), WHIP (0.92), WAR (7.9), and strikeouts (232).  He allowed just 164 hits and walked just 52 batters, simply dominating the competition.

Opponents hit just .192 against Kershaw, and he left 80.6 percent of runners on base.  On average, Kershaw allowed a home run only once per 21.1 innings pitched.

No other pitcher has three pitches as dominant as Kershaw's.  He has an incredible four-seam fastball that rises up on opposing hitters, a top-tier slider and arguably the best curveball in the game.

Kershaw's fastball is so good that it actually has the most vertical movement in the majors, according Baseball Prospectus.  

While Scherzer's pitch results were impressive, Kershaw's are the best in baseball.

Clayton Kershaw 2013 Pitch Usage
PitchCountKBAASLGISO
Fastball243594.231.323.092
Change960.273.273.000
Slider99196.193.313.121
Curve50490.102.108.006
BrooksBaseball.net

When it comes to pitchers, Kershaw is easily the best in the MLB.  

Both Scherzer and Kershaw have some excellent pitches and terrific command, and it shows in both traditional stats and sabermetrics.  The competition has done well, but there's no denying we will see these two pitchers win the Cy Young Awards in the AL and NL.

Note: All information, unless otherwise noted, is provided by FanGraphs.com