Unlike the Hitter of the Year voting, which, spoiler alert, was pretty much predetermined due to one candidate's sheer offensive dominance, the Pitcher of the Year voting is a lot more complicated. It's damn near impossible to make a cut-and-dried case for one of the National League candidates, and it could be muddled further when mixing them with pitchers who actually have to face designated hitters.
Here's a thumbnail case for each one:
Clayton Kershaw: Led baseball in fWAR (8.6) thanks to a whopping 301 strikeouts over a league-best 232.2 innings. He finished third in ERA (2.13), but with the league's lowest FIP (1.99). Only real blemish is his 16-7 record, which pales in comparison to his teammate.
Zack Greinke: Led baseball in ERA (1.66), bWAR (9.3) and winning percentage (19-3), and just 10 innings of the league-leader Kershaw. Allowed the second-lowest hits per nine (6.0) behind...
Jake Arrieta: Who allowed just 5.9 hits per nine innings, and also led the league in wins with 22. He finished with the second-lowest ERA (1.77) over the third-most innings (229). He finished second in both WAR measurements, and threw a no-hitter.
Max Scherzer: He won a Cy Young in 2013, but record (14-12) aside, this one was better. He posted a 2.79 ERA with the second-highest strikeout total (276) and baseball's best strikeout-to-walk ratio (8.12). He came within five innings of the league lead in innings (228.2) and threw two no-hitters.
Dallas Keuchel: Led the American League in wins (20), bWAR (7.2), WHIP (1.02) and innings (232), and somehow struck out 216 batters along with the AL's best ground-ball rate (61.3 percent).
David Price: Led the AL in fWAR (6.4) and ERA (2.45), and went 18-5 with the Tigers and Blue Jays. The trade might've cost him a start, as everybody else above him on this list made 33 starts, while Price only pitched 32.
Chris Sale: Led MLB in strikeouts per nine (11.82), good for the AL lead in K's (274), and helping him top the AL leaderboard in FIP (2.73). That helped him finish second in AL fWAR (6.2), although he's not in the top 10 in bWAR due to his less impressive ERA (3.41).
Sonny Gray: Third finalist for AL Cy Young finished third in junior circuit in bWAR (5.8) and ERA (2.73), although a fade to the finish makes his innings total (208) and peripherals less noteworthy than the others.
And a reminder for the remaining categories:
- Wednesday: White Sox defensive play of the year
- Thursday: White Sox bat flip/celebration of the year
- Friday: Best breakage of unwritten rules (all of MLB)