Corey Kluber Is Your 2014 AL Cy Young Winner

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Cleveland Indians ace Corey Kluber has won the 2014 American League Cy Young Award, beating out the Seattle Mariners‘ Felix Hernandez and the Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale for MLB’s top pitching honor.

Klubot, your mission has been achieved.

Most MLB fans didn’t know Cleveland’s Corey Kluber before the season, and few baseball experts predicted the 28-year old right-hander to have much of a chance at the American League Cy Young award, even after Kluber was named as a finalist. But Kluber became the fourth Indians pitcher to win the Cy Young Award (following Cliff Lee in 2008, C.C. Sabathia in 2007 and Gaylord Perry in 1972) and won a close race for the award over Felix Hernandez.

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Kluber had 17 first-place votes, Hernandez had 13, and Sale had two, with Kluber beating out Hernandez by a total of just 10 points. The award is

voted

on by the Baseball Writer’s Association of America. Hernandez won the Cy Young award in 2010.

Unlike the National League Cy Young award, which wasn’t much of a race with the Los Angeles Dodgers‘ Clayton Kershaw running away with the award unanimously, the American League had two serious candidates and a third worthy candidate in Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox, who likely missed too much time to be considered the winner, making 26 starts to Kluber and Hernandez’s 34 starts. Sale finished the year with a sterling 2.17 ERA in 174 innings pitched, striking out 208, but making eight fewer starts than the other two finalists (due to an early-season injury) likely cost Sale the award.

Picking between Hernandez and Kluber was an exercise in splitting hairs. Hernandez had the better ERA at 2.14 across 236 innings, and if you care about pitching records, he went 15-6, and struck out 248 hitters in another dominating season. Kluber pitched 235.2 innings and had a 2.44 ERA, with a whopping 269 strikeouts. Part of Kluber’s candidacy comes from park factors (Cleveland’s Progressive Field is generally considered a hitter’s park by most metrics), and Kluber also had a phenomenal Fielding Independent Pitching of 2.35 (compared to Hernandez’s 2.56), and pitched in front of a far inferior defense with the Indians than Hernandez did with the Mariners.

Kluber had a solid 2013 season that was interrupted by a finger injury, but was roaring for the Tribe since the second game of the season, and was simply brilliant in the second half of the season. Cleveland fans nicknamed their ace “Klubot” due to the right-hander’s constant stoic expression (and seeming lack of emotions), and he was typically even-keeled about winning the award.

We here at Wahoo’s On First are thrilled for Corey, and quite happy others have noticed his dominance. And unlike with the past two Cy Young winners, there doesn’t appear to be a trade in sight, as Kluber won’t be a free agent until 2019. You don’t need snark here, Indians fans. Kluber was completely deserving of this Cy Young award, and there aren’t any strings attached. He’s a great pitcher who we can enjoy for a few more years, so let’s enjoy it.

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