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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Who Gave Ian Kennedy a First-Place Vote for the Cy Young Award, and Why?

See, it’s not just players and fans who can’t be trusted to vote well when it comes to awards — it’s the media too.

Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw deservedly won the NL Cy Young Award by a large margin, capturing 27 of the possible 32 first-place votes. Phillies ace Roy Halladay finished second. I had just assumed that Doc took all the other first-place votes since the race was considered to be between those two pitchers.

However, the gents at Hardball Talk pointed out that someone gave Ian Kennedy a first-place vote. They say it’s John Moffei of the North County Times (a San Diego newspaper). Moffei confirmed to us over email that he voted Kennedy first, and he explained his decision to LBS.

“I looked at him and Kershaw very closely. Kershaw is a great pitcher and deserved the award, but he pitched on a team that was brutal the first half of the season and so was he. He pitched great down the stretch when the race was already over. He was 8-0 against the Padres and Giants, two of the worst-hitting teams in baseball.

“I thought Kennedy’s consistency over the course of the season, pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark on a team that was in the pennant race edged Kershaw by the narrowest of margins.”

Kershaw had a 4.31 in April, but we wouldn’t consider that “brutal” the way Moffei termed it. Kershaw was excellent in May, and pretty much unbeatable the final three months of the season. Still, his point about Kennedy’s consistency is fair.

Although Kennedy had a very good season — he went 21-4 with a 2.88 ERA — Kershaw, Halladay, and even Cliff Lee were superior in almost every regard. The only area where Kennedy was better than those players was record (and Kershaw was 21-5). Kennedy allowed more runs in fewer innings than any of those pitchers, and he had more walks and fewer strikeouts. They were all better pretty much across the board. Here are the stats:

The only good thing I can say about this decision, is at least it wasn’t as bad as the guy who voted Brett Favre for NFL MVP in 2007 over Tom Brady.

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