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SBN Awards: Pitcher of the Year

Ezra Shaw

It's time for the SBN Pitcher of the Year. This time a Giants pitcher gets votes! No thanks to me ...

Player Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
R.A. Dickey New York Mets 13 11 6 2 157
Clayton Kershaw Los Angeles Dodgers 11 12 8 2 1 154
Gio Gonzalez Washington Nationals 9 7 7 6 5 129
Johnny Cueto Cincinnati Reds 2 4 7 8 6 73
Cliff Lee Philadelphia Phillies 5 4 3 26
Matt Cain San Francisco Giants 1 5 4 17
Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies 1 3 5 15
Craig Kimbrel Atlanta Braves 1 2 6 13
Wade Miley Arizona Diamondbacks 3 1 7
Kris Medlen Atlanta Braves 3 3
Lance Lynn St. Louis Cardinals 1 1

lol lance lynn

I had a vote. "Bryan Murphy" had a vote. Here's how we voted:

Grant: 1. R.A. Dickey, 2. Johnny Cueto, 3. Clayton Kershaw, 4. Gio Gonzalez, 5. Craig Kimbrel

Bryan: 1. Clayton Kershaw, 2. R.A. Dickey, 3. Johnny Cueto, 4. Matt Cain, 5. Cliff Lee

I probably should have asked Bryan why he picked like he did, but I didn't think of it. It's probably because he loves the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw and he wants to marry Clayton Kershaw and Bryan Murphy and Clayton Kershaw sitting in a tree. He probably voted for Cliff Lee because he just broke up with wins, and he's being really nasty about it, trying to prove a point.

If I knew that everyone else was voting for Matt Cain, I would have too! But here was my reasoning:

Dickey in the top spot by a wafer-thin margin. I struggled with Dickey/Kershaw/Cueto for a while, but I think I eventually decided to penalize Kershaw more than the average bear because of the N.L. West. He pitched a game at Coors and two in Arizona, but the bulk of his starts came in Dodger Stadium, AT&T, or Petco. He also had 19 starts at home, and 14 on the road, and while single-season splits aren't that helpful for predicting future performance, they'll do okay when evaluating who should win a made-up Internet trophy. Cueto had the lead in ERA+, and I was already giving him a big mental adjustment because of his home park, so I voted for him second.

The complete games and shutouts put Dickey over the top, just barely. He led the league in strikeouts and innings pitched, but just barely. Did I give him bonus points because he throws the greatest pitch in the game, has the best pitch-face, and he's probably read Watchmen more than once? Probably, but that wasn't the conscious reason.

Gonzalez needed to be there somewhere, so I snuck him in fourth. That brings up Craig Kimbrel, who took Matt Cain's vote. I'm kind of regretting that, just a tidge. I know all of the stats; I don't have to look up WAR to see who has the edge, as one's a starter and one's a reliever. Cain pitched over 150 more innings than Kimbrel, so he kind of has to be more valuable.

But Kimbrel had one of the most amazing relief seasons of all-time -- of all-time! It was in a specifically defined role that by definition has a limit as to how much value it will offer, but there's no other way to reward it. Sometimes I light some tea candles, put on some Al Green, and stare at his game log for September. There's no other place to give Kimbrel a vote. Just felt that it should be recognized somewhere.