As a member of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, I get the privilege of voting on all the awards handed out at the end of the season. Here is my ballot for the Walter Johnson Award, which goes to the league’s best pitcher.
1) Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles
Kershaw gets the slight edge in what is probably the closest battle for the top spot in any of the ballots I’ll be casting this postseason. He gets the nod due to leading the NL in ERA (2.53) and having the highest WAR (5.5) among all NL pitchers. His 227 2/3 innings and 230 strikeouts were also both second highest in the league.
2) Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Washington
Gonzalez has proven to be an amazing acquisition for the Nationals as the always solid southpaw posted his best season to date with a 21-8 record and 2.89 ERA. His 5.4 WAR was good for second among NL pitchers and his 9.35 K/9 was highest in the league.
3) R.A. Dickey, RHP, New York
The knuckleballer had a season to remember. Dickey led the NL in innings pitched and strikeouts and was 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA. His previous career high in wins was 11. He baffled hitters all season long at age 37 and seems to have found his calling on the mound.
4) Cliff Lee, LHP, Philadelphia
I don’t even know how it’s possible that a pitcher who started 30 games and posted a 3.16 ERA could end a season with a 6-9 record, but Lee somehow did it. 11 times this year, the Phillies failed to score three or more runs in games he started. He posted the third highest pitching WAR in the league at 4.9, so it is safe to say the Phillies really should have lost more of his starts than they did.
5) Kris Medlen, RHP, Atlanta
Medlen started the year off in the Braves’ bullpen but made his final 12 appearances as a starter. The Braves won all 12 of his starts. For the year, he finished 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 120:23 K:BB rate over 138 innings.