Top stats to know: 2013 Cy Young race

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
2:15
PM ET

ESPN Stats & InformationClayton Kershaw dominated lefties and righties, putting him among the NL Cy Young Award finalists.
The National League and American League Cy Young Awards will be announced Wednesday night, with Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw and Detroit Tigers starter Max Scherzer the favorites to win in their respective leagues.

Why they’re favored

Kershaw was the dominant pitcher in the National League throughout 2013. He began his season with a shutout of the San Francisco Giants on Opening Day, which set the tone for one of the best seasons by a lefty in a long time.

Kershaw’s highest ERA for the year at the end of any start was 2.14 on April 23. He finished with a major league-best 1.83 ERA, the best by any southpaw since Ron Guidry had a 1.74 ERA for the New York Yankees in 1978. He joined Sandy Koufax and Greg Maddux as the only NL pitchers to win three consecutive ERA titles.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kershaw would be the fifth pitcher to win multiple Cy Young Awards before turning 26, joining Bret Saberhagen, Denny McLain, Roger Clemens and Tim Lincecum.

In the American League, Scherzer was 21-3, becoming the sixth pitcher in the modern era (since 1900) with at least 20 wins in a season in which he had three losses or fewer. He led the American League in WHIP and ranked second with 240 strikeouts. He pitched a career-high 214 1/3 innings and posted both the lowest home run rate of his career and the best strikeout-to-walk ratio.

According to Elias, since 1967, the first year that the Cy Young Award was handed out in both leagues, 13 other pitchers have finished a season at least 18 games above .500. Only one didn’t win the Cy Young that year. In 1999, Mike Hampton went 22-4 for the Houston Astros but lost out to Randy Johnson.

Darvish, Iwakuma will be the first
No Japanese-born pitcher has ever finished in the top three in the Cy Young vote, but that is assured of being broken this season. Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish and Seattle Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma are the other two finalists with Scherzer in the American League.

The previous high finish by a Japanese-born pitcher was fourth -- done twice by Hideo Nomo (1995, 1996) and Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2008.

Wainwright, Fernandez formidable finalists
The other NL finalists are Adam Wainwright from the St. Louis Cardinals and Jose Fernandez from the Miami Marlins.

Wainwright led the NL with 19 wins and 241 2/3 innings pitched. His season was fueled by a 17-start stretch spanning from mid-April to early July in which he had a 2.19 ERA and allowed only five homers in 127 2/3 innings pitched.

Fernandez, who won NL Rookie of the Year honors Monday, closed his debut season in strong fashion -- 10-3 with a 1.50 ERA in his last 18 starts. Fernandez would be the second player to win the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year in the same season, joining Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.

What the advanced stats show
Kershaw led the major leagues in Wins Above Replacement as a pitcher (7.9), a little bit better than Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies (7.3).

Iwakuma was the American League leader (7.0), though his margin was thin over Chris Sale (6.9) and Scherzer (6.7).

Did you know?
If Scherzer and Kershaw win, it would mark the first time that both Cy Young Award winners lost the game that knocked their team out of that year’s postseason. Kershaw and Scherzer were the losing pitchers when the Dodgers and Tigers were eliminated in the championship series round.

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