Back at midseason, I wrote a post which averaged out the different sabermetric rate stats scaled to ERA and thought about other things like IP regarding the best starting pitchers. Strasburg and Verlander seemed to be the most logical picks at the time. But now, things have changed, and we have the whole season of data to view, so let's take a final look. (PS, then I was a Cards Fan in Chitown, which I am no longer).
First of all, the obvious for those into the fWAR stat: Verlander and Felix Hernandez had the most WAR, and Kershaw and Gio Gonzalez had the most in the NL. But with the wealth of pitching rate stats to look at, I like to average them together. After all, there are things called tERA, xFIP, FIP, and SIERA out there. Here goes...
NL Cy Young Award
In the bizarro world of xFIP, Cliff Lee is your leader. Averaging the 4 advanced rate stats together, Cliff gets a 3.1 rating. Pretty awesome. Just for traditional reference, he finished with a 3.16 ERA on the season. I also like to look at IP, and he had 211 of those. So I think he's definitely in the conversation. However, in this world, his 6 wins against 9 losses will disqualify him from Cy Young talks, which is a real shame.
Another surprise: Adam Wainwright 8th in the majors in xFIP. His sabr rate average comes to 3.345 and he had right around 200 IP, so not quite as good as Cliff. Also, he'll be disqualified from Cy talks because of his near-4 ERA. Honestly, wasn't expecting Waino to stand a chance in a post-TJ season, so kudos to him.
Cole Hamels had the same xFIP as Adam. Another guy that hasn't been talked about too much in Cy Young talks. At 215 IP, he has the most innings talked about so far. However, at 3.375 ave sabr rate, he's not gonna be close enough to the top. However, 17-6 with a 3.05 ERA will undoubtedly gain him at least some consideration in traditional circles.
Now on to the pitching WAR leader in the NL, Clayton Kershaw. He's just outside of the top 10 in xFIP in MLB, but his ave sabr rate is 3.0825, the best so far that I've mentioned. On top of that, he's an absolute workhorse with 227.2 IP. Making his case even more is a 2.53 ERA. Surely he's got this, right? But wait, there were 2 others I considered at midseason...
Gio Gonzalez is the other NL fWAR leader in pitching. 3.2575 is his averaged sabr rate (remember, that means an ave of FIP/xFIP/tERA/SIERA). This puts him 3rd in that category. A 2.89 ERA is quite nice, but does not approach Kershaw's. His 200 IP or so does not approach Kershaw's monster year either.
And last but not least, the surprising RA Dickey. Dickey pulled off the kinda cool feat of matching his FIP to his xFIP at 3.27. 3.2775 is his sabr rate so that is pretty much the same. Dickey's main strength though is reliability: he had the most IP. Still, Kershaw is just a more elite pitcher in both ERA and IP as well as the sabermetric stats.
So Clayton Kershaw should be the NL Cy Young Award winner. Also, we got to see here how under the radar Cliff Lee went this season, as most talks revolved around Gio Gonzalez and RA Dickey much of the year and the odd drama surrounding Stephen Strasburg of course. Maybe next year, Stephen.
AL Cy Young Award
While Cliff Lee led the majors in xFIP in 2012, David Price was second and first in the AL at 3.12. His ave sabr rate is 3.14. With 211 IP and 2.56 ERA, David is a solid Cy Young contender.
Perennial contender CC Sabathia is back in the talks with an ave sabr rate of 3.3925 but I brought him up mainly because of his excellent xFIP. However, 200 IP is less than Price's and his ERA is not nearly as flashy.
Another every-year AL great is Felix Hernandez: ave sabr rate is 3.1125 so he's better in that area than Price. On top of that, King Felix had 232 innings pitched! His ERA is not that amazing in comparison, but I still think he probably deserves it more.
Since I brought him up at midseason, I'll bring him up again: Chris Sale's ASR (sick of typing out "ave sabr rate") is 3.455, which is the least impressive so far. I don't think he's gonna win it, to say the least.
Skipping James Shields and Max Scherzer's pretty excellent seasons, let's have a look at what Justin freakin Verlander did in 2012. Justin Verlander had a 3.235 ASR, a 2.64 ERA, and 238.1 IP. This makes the AL Cy Young really difficult to decide using the methodology I am employing. I'll leave it up to you guys in the poll.
Actually, the new sbn does not have the poll feature at this time, I think they forgot to put it in. So please list in the comments who you think should get AL Cy Young, Verlander or Hernandez.