Kershaw wins out in the NL Cy vote by the IBWAA

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(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

The Internet Baseball Writers Association of America announced the third of its 14 annual awards today, naming the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw as its 2011 Cy Young Award winner.

The voting:
1st Place: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
2nd Place: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia
3rd Place: Ian Kennedy, Arizona
4th Place: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia
5th Place: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta

My ballot had Kershaw and Halladay first and second, followed by Lee, Kennedy and Cole Hammels of Philadelphia.

My reasoning: It wasn’t just because Kershaw racked up the Triple Crown numbers, or that the eight others who did the same since the first Cy Young was given out 55 years ago also won the award, too, nearly unanimously. That’s too easy.

All the “new” numbers support him as well. Kershaw was also first in WHIP (0.98), in opponent’s batting average (.207), and his run-support average (5.52) was a bit tougher to deal with than what was provided to Ian Kennedy (6.12) and Roy Halladay (5.89).

Plus, a new standard has been established the last three years – Felix Hernandez, Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum won the Cy in 2010, 2009 and 2008 on teams that finished under .500, with far less dazzling stats. And check it out: the 2011 Dodgers were actually above .500.

Mike Petriello, of MikeSciosciasTragicIllness.com, explained his vote: “The NL Cy Young is really a complete toss-up between Kershaw (233.1 IP, 66 R), Halladay (233.2 IP, 65 R) and Lee (232.2 IP, 66 R), particularly since Baseball Prospectus has the Dodgers and Phillies defenses behind them essentially tied in effectiveness. A vote for any of the three would be completely defensible. From this viewpoint, Kershaw gets the slight edge simply because he was the most dominating, even in the somewhat more forgiving Dodger Stadium. He finished second in MLB (behind Justin Verlander) in strikeouts and second again (behind Zack Greinke) in K%. Only Verlander allowed a lower batting average to his opponents, and Kershaw’s swinging strike percentage topped both of his Philadelphia competitors. Even with a slightly higher walk rate than Halladay or Lee, Kershaw held opposing batters to the lowest OPS of anybody in baseball, topping even Verlander.”

Add Ron Kaplan, Features Editor at NJ Jewish News: “Kershaw has enjoyed one of the best pitching seasons in several years. Despite playing for an underperforming Dodgers team and faced with a most distracting situation not of his own making with the team’s troubles this year, he managed to lead the NL in wins, strikeouts, and ERA – the pitcher’s ‘Triple Crown’ – while allowing fewer than one hit/walk per inning. One can only imagine how much worse Los Angeles fans would have had it without Kershaw and Matt Kemp as the bright lights in an otherwise dismal campaign.”

IBWAA AL Cy Young results will be announced Friday, with Rookie, Manager, Comeback, Executive and Relievers of the Year to follow next week.

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