Only Bellinger and Kershaw crack top MLB award player finalists

Cody Bellinger is a shoe-in for the 2017 NL ROY but that will probably be the only hardware the team with the best record in baseball will acquire.

Clayton Kershaw is in the finals with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the NL CYA.

At one time this summer it seemed as if the Dodgers had a plethora of players who could vie for the NL MVP award  in Chris Taylor, Corey Seager, Justin Turner, Cody Bellinger, and Clayton Kershaw but none of their performances could keep pace with what Stanton/Votto/Goldy did for the whole season.

Bellinger needed to have the season he had because he actually had some nice competition this year. Josh Bell or Paul DeJong  would have made claims on the ROY award in a normal season.  Both of them quietly had solid rookie campaigns.

I’m not sure if Clayton wins his fourth award even he had stayed healthy.  The competition is fierce from the Nationals duo. Kershaw has now been in the top five of CYA voting every year since 2011 when he won his first CYA. He has never finished lower than five and won’t again this year as he is guaranteed at least a 3rd spot. For a time his teammate Alex Wood looked like he might be able to garner some CYA votes but injuries and performance in the second half cut his chances to zero.  I expect we will find that Kenley Jansen got some votes for his outstanding season but not top three.

Now that Clayton has over 2,000 strikeouts in his career we can start checking him out against other pitchers with that benchmark. This is a leaderboard of pitchers who have tallied at least 2,000 strikeouts with an ERA+ >= 130. As you would expect the leaderboard is basically the greatest pitchers in baseball history. And one pitcher sits on top.

Player              ERA+   SO From   To   Age     IP  FIP    K%  BB%
Clayton Kershaw      161 2120 2008 2017 20-29 1935.0 2.60 27.9% 6.7%
Pedro Martinez       154 3154 1992 2009 20-37 2827.1 2.91 27.7% 6.7%
Lefty Grove          148 2266 1925 1941 25-41 3940.2 3.36 13.6% 7.1%
Walter Johnson       147 3509 1907 1927 19-39 5914.1 2.42 15.0% 5.8%
Roger Clemens        143 4672 1984 2007 21-44 4916.2 3.09 23.1% 7.8%
Christy Mathewson    137 2492 1901 1916 20-35 4755.0 2.25 13.3% 4.4%
Randy Johnson        135 4875 1988 2009 24-45 4135.1 3.19 28.6% 8.8%
Pete Alexander       135 2198 1911 1930 24-43 5190.0 2.88 10.5% 4.6%
Rube Waddell         133 2137 1901 1910 24-33 2659.2 1.93 20.4% 6.9%
Greg Maddux          132 3371 1986 2008 20-42 5008.1 3.26 16.5% 4.9%
Sandy Koufax         131 2396 1955 1966 19-30 2324.1 2.69 25.2% 8.6%
Roy Halladay         131 2117 1998 2013 21-36 2749.1 3.39 18.8% 5.2%

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/7/2017.

Okay, that is misleading because all of these pitchers continued pitching beyond age 29, and as they did so (expect Randy Johnson) you would expect their performance to degrade. So how does he compare at age 29 with other pitchers at age 29? Only three make the list using the same criteria. Strikeouts over 2,000, and an ERA+ >= 130.


Player ERA+ SO From To Age IP ERA FIP K% BB%
Walter Johnson 166 2305 1907 1917 19-29 3474.1 1.70 1.92 17.3% 5.2%
Clayton Kershaw 161 2120 2008 2017 20-29 1935.0 2.36 2.60 27.9% 6.7%
Bob Feller 134 2000 1936 1948 17-29 2471.0 2.99 3.23 19.2% 12.0%

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/7/2017.

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