LOS ANGELES — Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw had a fantastic but abbreviated 2016 season, and finished in fifth place in the 2016 National League Cy Young Award vote, his worst showing in the last six years.
Kershaw set a record with five straight seasons finishing in the top three, including Cy Young Awards in 2011, 2013 and 2014, but streak ended this year thanks to a season that saw him miss over 10 weeks with a herniated disc in his back.
In the Baseball Writers Association of America vote, Kershaw received two first-place votes, one third-place vote, five fourth-place votes and three fifth-place votes to finish fifth with 30 points.
Points are awarded on a 7-4-3-2-1 basis. Max Scherzer of the Nationals won the award with 192 points.
The two first-place votes for Kershaw came from J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News and Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.
Kershaw was named on 11 of 30 ballots, the first time since 2012 that Kershaw wasn’t listed in the top five on every single ballot. In the last six years, Kershaw has appeared on 163 of 184 ballots (88.6%), and has been in the top three on 146 of those ballots (79.3%).
The balloting hasn’t always been the same. The current 5-pitcher ballot dates back to 2010, following a 3-pitcher ballot in each league from 1970-2009. Before that, Cy Young voters listed just one pitcher on each ballot from 1956-66 as a single major league award, then from 1967-69 with one award in each league.
Kershaw is the first pitcher ever to receive at least one first-place vote in six consecutive seasons, receiving a total of 83 first-place votes from 2011-16.
The only other pitchers to receive any votes for six straight seasons are Greg Maddux (7 straight years, 1992-98), Randy Johnson (1997-2002), Johan Santana (2003-08) and Roy Halladay (2006-11).
Kershaw led the majors in innings, ERA and strikeouts after his start on June 26, but then he missed 2½ months on the disabled list before his return in September. He finished 12-4 with a 1.69 ERA in 21 starts, with 172 strikeouts and just 11 walks in 149 innings.
He finished 13 innings shy of qualifying for the ERA title, but Kershaw led the majors in ERA among all pitchers with at least 75 innings, and his 0.725 WHIP was the lowest in major league history for any pitcher with a minimum of 100 innings.
Despite his relative lack of innings, Kershaw tied for the National League lead in FanGraphs pitching WAR (6.5), and finished tied for second in the Baseball-Reference version of WAR (5.6).
Kershaw with his fifth-place finish captured 0.14 award shares, with 30 points out of a possible 210. Kershaw has received Cy Young votes every year since 2011, and his 3.96 career Cy Young Award shares rank sixth all-time.