Revealing my NL Cy Young ballot 

November, 17, 2011

There were three legitimate candidates for the National League Cy Young Award this year in Clayton Kershaw, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, and I spent just about all of my time on this ballot weighing the performances of those three pitchers; there were other pitchers who had great years, but I don't see a good argument for any top three beyond the pitchers I just named. A quick glance at the most superficial of stats shows just how tough filling out this ballot was going to be:

Even if we use ERA instead of RA, the difference between the lowest and the highest in this troika is just 0.12, equivalent to three earned runs allowed over the course of the entire season. There's just nothing here to support the mainstream narrative that Kershaw ran away with this award (although given that narrative, I'm not surprised he won). Kershaw struck out 28 more batters than Halladay did in the same number of innings, which is great. He also walked 21 more (exclusive of intentional walks) and gave up five more home runs, which is why their run averages were so similar, and why advanced metrics rank these players in a surprisingly different order.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer