American League Finalists
Congratulations to all the finalists for the coveted Cy Young award. In the American League, we have Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, and Luis Severino. Here’s how they match up in a few categories:
Corey Kluber led the way in four of the six categories above, and also threw five complete games (tied for most this season). Teams are shying away from allowed a starting pitcher to face an opposing lineup three time in a game, but Kluber was incredible at it. He allowed an OBP of just .211 the third time through, best in the AL, lower than his overall OBP allowed of .235. Opponents chased 35.5 percent of Kluber’s pitches outside the zone, second best in the AL. He also struck out 59 percent of batters after getting them into a two-strike count, highest rate in MLB.
Chris Sale led all of baseball with 308 strikeouts and a 36.2 percent strikeout rate, highest among starting pitchers. Getting ahead was important for the Red Sox Ace and no one was better at it than him. Sale threw at least two strikes in his first three pitches to 74.4 percent (490/659) of opposing batters (League Avg: 61.6 percent). Opponents also had a miss rate of 31.9 percent (547/1,716) against him, seventh highest in MLB.
Luis Severino has a devastating slider and a blistering fastball. He threw 118 fastballs 100 MPH and above this season, most among starting pitchers in MLB. Opponents had a groundball rate of 65.3 percent (126/193) against Luis Severino on breaking pitches this season, best in the AL. Right-handed batters hit just .198 against him, ninth best in MLB (League Avg: .259). All opponents had a miss rate 28.1 percent against Severino this season, 18th in MLB.
National League Finalists
Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Stephen Strasburg are 2017 National League finalists. Here’s how they match up:
Max Scherzer leads the above table by finishing first in three of the six categories. When the Nationals Ace had a two-strike count this season, it was all but over for the opposing batter. Opponents hit .096 against him (44-for-457) with two strikes, lowest in MLB (League Avg: .180). Right-handed hitters didn’t have much chance no matter what count they were in. They managed to hit just .136 (46-for-337) against Scherzer this season, lowest in MLB. Although Scherzer did not hit triple digits this season, his fastball confounded hitters at the plate. Opponents had a miss rate of 21.9 percent (174/796) against him on fastballs this season, 14th in MLB (League Avg: 16.3 percent).
Clayton Kershaw was sidelined for part of the season with back issues. Despite missing time, the Dodger’s Ace is in the running for his fourth Cy Young award. The lefty was in complete control of the zone this season, as he walked just 4.4 percent of batters, the third lowest rate among qualified starting pitchers (League Avg: 8.1 percent). To coincide with the minimal walks, Kershaw had a 68.6 percent strike rate, highest in the majors and he was even better when behind in the count. The Dodgers lefty pounded the zone with 80.3 percent strikes when behind in the count, highest rate in MLB (League Avg: 67.3 percent). With runners in scoring position, Kershaw only allowed a .233 OBP (27/116), best among qualified starters (League Avg: .342).
In the playoffs, Stephen Strasburg utilized his changeup to dismantle the Chicago Cubs. During the regular season, opponents hit just .112 against the changeup, second in the majors. Opposing batters swung and missed at 50.5 percent of all changeups thrown by Strasburg, highest rate in the majors (Min. 100 swings – League Avg: 29.8 percent). On all non-fastballs, Strasburg allowed an OPS of just .439, third best among qualified starters.
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