2011 NL Cy Young Winner: Clayton Kershaw

This season’s end of the year award ceremony continued yesterday with Los Angeles Dodgers’ left-hander Clayton Kershaw winning the 2011 National League Cy Young Award.  Though Kershaw didn’t receive the honor in unanimous fashion like his AL counterpart Justin Verlander, the 23-year-old did finish well ahead of other contenders.

Kershaw dominated his league in 2011, pitching his way to an NL Triple Crown.  Leading the league in ERA (2.28), wins (21) and strikeouts (248), Kershaw had been the favorite to take home the top pitching prize since the regular season ended.

Though he was the favorite, the voters did not unanimously agree that Kershaw should receive the Cy.  Four baseball writers gave that nod to Roy Halladay, who was also very impressive in 2011.

Doc was an early favorite for NL Cy Young, as he put in another solid season with the Phillies.  The big right-hander fell short of Kershaw’s win total (19) and ERA (2.35), but did lead the majors with a K/BB ratio of 6.29.  This, along with his other impressive stats, caused Halladay to finish the season with best fWAR (8.2) and FIP (2.20) among all major league pitchers.

Beyond Kershaw and Halladay, Cliff Lee and Ian Kennedy were the only other pitchers to receive a significant portion of the vote.

Lee, who finished third, was up and down all season but finished the year on a fantastic note.  The veteran lefty posted an ERA south of 1.20 over the final two months of the season to propel him into the Cy discussion.

Other than Verlander and Kershaw, Ian Kennedy was the only pitcher in the majors to tally more than 20 wins in 2011.  Also, besides Kershaw and Halladay, Kennedy was the only NL pitcher to receive a first place vote.

Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels rounded out the top five, while San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Ryan Vogelsong, Milwaukee’s Yovani Gallardo and John Axford and Atlanta’s Craig Kimbrel also received votes.

FanSided’s writers selected a top five identical to the one the BBWAA posted yesterday during our own selection of NL Pitcher of the Year.

Tags: Clayton Kershaw Cliff Lee Ian Kennedy Justin Verlander Roy Halladay

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