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Clayton Kershaw Wins SB Nation NL Cy Young Award...But So Does Roy Halladay

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Clayton Kershaw and Roy Halladay (and for that matter, Cliff Lee) each had award-worthy seasons in 2011. Kershaw won the triple crown, leading the league in the traditional categories of wins, strikeouts, ERA, and also WHIP; Halladay led in the advanced stats of FIP, fWAR, and rWAR. Halladay was ahead of Kershaw in xFIP too, but both were behind Zack Greinke and Lee. Using the neutralized stats on Baseball-Reference.com, Kershaw and Halladay were remarkably close:

  • Halladay: 18-7, 2.59 ERA, 226 innings, 36 walks, 213 strikeouts, 1.106 WHIP
  • Kershaw: 17-7, 2.62 ERA, 223 innings, 57 walks, 237 strikeouts, 1.076 WHIP

The point is that Kershaw and Halladay were very similar in 2011. Neither would be a bad choice for the National League Cy Young Award. SB Nation writers were so divided, they couldn't pick just one, as Kershaw and Halladay tied for the NL Cy Young. Here are the sister-kissing results:

Rank Name 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
1 Clayton Kershaw 14 11 2 1 149
1 Roy Halladay 13 13 2 149
3 Cliff Lee 4 21 2 83
4 Ian Kennedy 3 14 6 43
5 Cole Hamels 1 7 8 29
6 Madison Bumgarner 2 3 7
7 Tim Lincecum 1 4 6
8 Matt Cain 1 3 5
9 Chris Carpenter 1 2
10 Johnny Cueto 1 1
10 Zack Greinke 1 1
10 Craig Kimbrel 1 1

Points were awarded as follows: seven points for a first place vote, four points per second place vote, three points per third place vote, two points per fourth place vote, and one point for every fifth place vote.

The one person who gave Kershaw a fifth place vote was from Gaslamp Ball, the SB Nation blog for the San Diego Padres. That person's ballot: Hamels, Lee, Halladay, Kennedy, Kershaw. Had Kershaw received merely a fourth place vote instead of fifth, he would have won this award.

I think this is the proper reaction to that ballot.

As for our ballots here at True Blue LA, here they are:

  • Me: Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Kennedy, Hamels
  • Phil Gurnee: Kershaw, Halladay, Lee, Hamels, Kennedy

The Baseball Writers Association of America will announce the NL Cy Young winner on Thursday, November 17.