As the season comes to its end, the Indians are holding on to a glimmer of hope for a postseason berth heading into the final series at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. But, that is not the main story line going into the series. The focus tonight is on our beloved ace Corey Kluber and the race for the American League Cy Young award.
As we enter the final weekend of the season, two names remain in the race for the American League Cy Young award: Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians and Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners
Here are their stats:
Corey Kluber: 33 starts, 17-9, 2.54 ERA, 3 CG, 258 Ks, .235 BAA, 227.2 IP, 6.9 WAR.
Felix Hernandez: 33 starts, 14-6, 2.34 ERA, 0 CG, 241 Ks, .203 BAA, 230.2 IP, 6.4 WAR.
When you look at these stats, they are very similar in terms of ERA, innings pitched, WAR, and strikeouts. So how do you decide between the two?
To decide between the two pitchers I look at the dominance factor, the ability to save your bullpen, and the ability to give your team a win. First I look at the dominance factor. This category includes strikeouts, batting average against, and WHIP (walks-hits-innings-pitched). This season Corey Kluber has truly been the king of strikeouts. He has generated 258 Ks, which ranks in the top ten for strikeouts in a season by a Cleveland Indians starter in team history. Kluber also has had double-digit 10 strikeout games which to me spells dominance. Felix also has had success with the Ks. King Felix has racked up 241 strikeouts this season but in 3 more innings than Kluber. Kluber is also ranked 4th in Ks per 9 with 10.80 whereas King Felix is ranked 7th with 9.40 Ks per 9 innings. When it comes to the batting average against stat, King Felix ranks in the top three with a .203 BAA, whereas Kluber is ranked 18th in that category with a .235 BAA. In the WHIP category, King Felix is 2nd in the league with a 0.94 WHIP whereas Kluber ranks 14th with a 1.10 WHIP. Overall I believe that King Felix takes the dominance category because while Kluber is more dominant with the strikeout, King Felix is more dominant because hitters have less success against him and he allows less walks and hits per inning than Kluber.
Next we look at the ability to save your bullpen. That of course is innings pitched and complete games. King Felix has just 3 more innings pitched then Kluber with 230.2 compared to 227.2. But, Corey Kluber has 3 complete games under his belt this season, compared to King Felix’s 0 complete games. Corey Kluber just barely takes this category in my opinion because he has been able to go the distance several times and every time out Kluber goes a consistent 7 or 8 innings.
The Last category I look at is the ability give your team a victory. This category includes ERA and wins. Both Kluber and King Felix get horrendous run support so they are equal in that regard. When it comes to ERA King Felix gets the nod with a 2.34 ERA compared to Kluber’s 2.53 ERA. And Kluber trumps King Felix in wins with 17 wins compared to 14 wins by King Felix. So in this category they tie because they each took one of the subcategory’s within this category
So after all of that evaluation they still come out relatively even for the Cy Young race. So in the end who should win the Cy Young award?
Well in the end I think that Corey Kluber should win the Cy Young because he is finishing stronger than he started and he has a higher WAR than King Felix. In Corey Kluber’s last 2 starts he has racked up 14 strikeouts in each of them and looks to finish tonight with another strong outing. While on the other hand King Felix has had a slight decline heading into his final start on Sunday. And when it comes to stats none are more important than WAR (Wins Above Replacement). This stat is important because it explains how many wins a player has compared to a replacement: Corey Kluber has a WAR of 6.9 and King Felix has a WAR of 6.4.
So in the end I think Corey Kluber deserves and should win the American League Cy Young, But you be the judge!
Here are some youtube videos of both pitchers