Friday, October 11, 2013

2013 Walter Johnson Award

The Victoria HarbourCats Baseball Blog (VHCBB) is a proud member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance (BBA). Once again this year, the VHCBB has the honour of casting ballots for the five BBA awards given to players and managers in both the National and American Leagues. Today we give you our ballots for the Walter Johnson Award, which is presented to the top pitcher (starter or reliever) in each league.

National League

Clayton Kershaw
Last year, both the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance botched their voting for the top pitcher in the National League by giving the award to R.A. Dickey over Clayton Kershaw. Voters got seduced by Dickey’s 20-win season, but this year they have no excuse for snubbing Kershaw -- he led the National League in ERA for the third consecutive year and he should be a slam dunk for the award. The only other players to lead the National League in ERA for three or more years in a row are Greg Maddux and Sandy Koufax, so Kershaw is in a pretty elite group. This season he posted a 16-9 record with a stellar 1.83 ERA and 0.92 WHIP. Can you say “Hall of Famer?”

Adam Wainwright earned the second spot on my ballot with his 19-9 record and 2.94 ERA. While his (more relevant) numbers are outstanding, most still fall behind Kershaw’s. Wainwright did a great job as the anchor of the St. Louis pitching staff, posting a 1.07 WHIP in a league-leading 241 2/3 innings on the hill.

Matt Harvey took the National League by storm in 2013, but the 24-year-old hurler blew out his elbow in August and is now scheduled for Tommy John surgery. The first-round pick in the 2010 draft is likely to be out of action until the start of the 2015 season. In his 178 1/3 innings of work before his injury, Harvey posted a 9-5 record, a 2.27 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP.

A pair of 14-game winners, Cliff Lee and Mat Latos, snagged the last two votes on our ballot. That ballot looks as follows:
  1. Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
  2. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
  3. Matt Harvey, Mets
  4. Cliff Lee, Phillies
  5. Mat Latos, Reds
American League

Three of the five pitchers on our American League ballot are from the Detroit Tigers’ starting rotation. Max Scherzer topped our ballot thanks to his stellar 21-3 record to go along with a 2.90 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Scherzer mixed a curve ball into his repertoire this season and the results were impressive, as he set career highs in innings pitched (214 1/3), strikeouts (240), ERA and WHIP.

Anibal Sanchez won the American League ERA title with a 2.57 mark, but his other numbers weren’t quite good enough for him to finish ahead of his teammate Max Scherzer in the voting. The 29-year-old Venezuelan registered a 14-8 record and a 1.15 WHIP.

The Seattle Mariners may have moved in the fences this year, but that didn’t seem to slow down Felix Hernandez. King Felix’s numbers actually improved over 2012 and he posted career bests for strikeouts per nine innings (9.5) and walks per nine innings (2.0). He even managed to have a winning record on the 71-91 Mariners, as he registered a solid 12-10 mark with a 3.04 ERA.

Chris Sale and Justin Verlander earned the last two spots on our AL ballot, which looks something like this:
  1. Max Scherzer, Tigers
  2. Anibal Sanchez, Tigers
  3. Felix Hernandez, Mariners
  4. Chris Sale, White Sox
  5. Justin Verlander, Tigers

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