The Major League Baseball Awards season continued Wednesday night as favorites Dallas Kuechel and Jake Arrieta each pulled down their first Cy Young Awards. Keuchel, the 27-year-old lefty, easily outdistanced David Price after going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA. Arrieta became the first Chicago Cubs Cy Young Award winner since Greg Maddux won the award in 1992 after a historic season in which he went 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA.
In just his second season as a full-time starter in the Astros rotation, Keuchel got off to an incredible start and hardly slowed down all season. Through the first two months of the season, Keuchel went 7-1 with a 1.76 ERA. Batters hit just .183 over that span and Keuchel allowed just three home runs over 81 innings.
Keuchel won the American League Pitcher of the Month Award in April, May, and August and was the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star Game. He set a major league record for most wins at home in a season without a loss when he went 15-0 at Minute Maid Park. He also won a Gold Glove Award and the Warren Spahn Award as the best pitcher in Major League Baseball.
Keuchel received 22 first place votes with Price garnering the other eight. Oakland A's righty Sonny Gray finished third while Chris Sale and Chris Archer rounded out the top five. Only one member of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals received votes, as Wade Davis finished sixth. He placed the highest among American League relief pitchers.
Felix Hernandez received votes for the sixth time in his 11-year career, finishing seventh after going 18-9 with a 3.53 ERA. New York Yankees relievers Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances finished 10th and 12th, respectively. The Indians' Corey Kluber, the 2014 Cy Young Award winner, finished ninth despite leading the league with 16 losses.
In the National League, Arrieta was the clear choice after leading the majors with 22 wins. On June 16, Arrieta walked six batters in five innings in a 6-0 loss to the Indians. The loss dropped Arrieta's record to 6-5 on the season and his ERA reached a season-high 3.40. From that point on though, Arrieta was basically unhittable.
Over his final 20 starts of the season, Arrieta went 16-1 with a minuscule 0.86 ERA. He pitched 147 innings over that time and allowed just 14 earned runs over that time. Arrieta reached his peak as the Cubs surged through August on the way to their first postseason berth since 2008. Over a stretch of seven starts in August and September, Arrieta went 7-0 and allowed just two earned runs over 50 innings. Of the 186 batters he faced during that span, only 33 reached base via hit or walk.
In addition to leading the AL in wins, Arrieta also led the league with four complete games, three shutouts, 5.9 hits per nine innings, and 33 games started. He allowed just 10 home runs in 229 innings (an NL-best 0.4 per nine innings) and hurled the 14th no-hitter in Cubs history on August 30. Arrieta's 0.75 ERA over the second half of the season was the lowest in major league history.
Arrieta became the third member of the Cubs to take home a postseason award, joining National League Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant and Manager of the Year Joe Maddon.
As incredible as Arrieta was all season, his Cy Young Award was not a slam-dunk by any means. Los Angeles Dodgers righty Zack Greinke nearly matched Arrieta throughout the season. Greinke received 10 first place votes to Arrieta's 17 after leading the National League in ERA (1.66), WHIP (0.844) WAR for pitchers (9.3) and winning percentage (.864). Greinke's teammate Calyton Kershaw received the other three first place votes and finished third in the voting. Gerrit Cole of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Nationals Max Scherzer finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Despite the hype surrounding the Mets' dynamic young pitching staff, Jacob deGrom was the only member of the team to receive any recognition. He finished seventh with seven votes after going 14-8 with a 2.54 ERA. Mark Melancon, Cole's Pirates teammate, was the only reliever to receive votes. He finished eighth after leading the majors with 51 saves.
As expected, congratulations poured in from around the majors.
Carlos Correa (@TeamCJCorrea) November 18, 2015
Jon Lester (@JLester34) November 19, 2015
Congrats to @kidkeuchy for winning the American League cy young!! He was my pick and I think the writers got it right!!— David Price (@DAVIDprice14) November 18, 2015
Jason Motte (@JMotte30) November 19, 2015
Dexter Fowler (@DexterFowler) November 18, 2015