It takes a pretty special pitcher having a pretty special season to unseat Clayton Kershaw from winning his second consecutive National League Cy Young Award.
If you're R.A. Dickey, you are that person.
Despite more gaudy numbers from Kershaw, Dickey was the voters' choice as he claimed his first ever Cy Young Award. There really was no doubt, as Dickey gathered 27 of the 32 first-place votes, with Kershaw getting two, and Gio Gonzalez, Johnny Cueto, and Craig Kimbrel each getting one. Kershaw did finish in second, losing out to Dickey by a total of 209-96, with Gonzalez right behind at 93.
I can't say I'm surprised about this, as Dickey had it all going for him in another lost year for the Mets. In many ways, his season is a reflection of what Kershaw did last season - huge numbers on a bad team, and about the only reason to watch that team every fifth day. Seriously, take away David Wright, and can casual baseball fans even name another Met? I think not.
Even though the voters had no doubt, let's take a look at each man's numbers to see if they made the right call.
Dickey: 33 starts, 233 2/3 IP, 20-6, 2.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, .226 BAA, 230 K
Kershaw: 33 starts, 227 2/3 IP, 14-9, 2.53 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, .210 BAA, 229 K
When you break the numbers down, Kershaw certainly has a case for winning his second straight award. He has a better ERA, WHIP, and BAA, while just barely being edged in strikeouts by one. And don't forget, he easily could have been shut down late in the season with a sore hip, but fought his way back to the tune of a 0.67 ERA in four September starts.
Obviously the big stat that Dickey has an advantage in is wins, as he reached the magical 20-win mark. That's pretty awesome, especially on a team that finished near the bottom in runs scored. But so did the Dodgers, who were one behind the Mets (651-650). For whatever reason, Kershaw was hit hard by the lack of run support, while Dickey found a little more love from his hitters.
I also think it's hard to ignore the remarkable story of Dickey, who overcame all sorts of hardships growing up, including some awful stories of sexual abuse. He was the talk of baseball all season long, and proved over and over that he wasn't just a one or two month wonder. He was the real deal. Even though Kershaw went on to have another fantastic season, this award had Dickey's name on it for awhile.
Congratulations go out to Dickey for a fine season, along with Kershaw and all the others who received a vote.