Brian Kenny has been beating the drum for Iwakuma all week, citing his superior run prevention despite a terrible defense behind him, and he's got a reasonable point. Iwakuma lead all American League pitchers in bWAR (7.0), which relies on run prevention instead of FIP, which Fangraphs uses. fWAR wasn't nearly as kind to Iwakuma (4.2), and didn't have him among the league's top pitchers. I actually had Iwakuma in my personal top three, finishing behind Scherzer and his teammate, Anibal Sanchez.
Run prevention is still very important to voters, which is why Iwakuma made the top three to begin with. Still, wins and pitching for a contender matter to a lot of people, and Scherzer had a good combination of both.
So how did the votes break down?
Scherzer got 28 first place votes, Darvish and Iwakuma got none. Anibal Sanchez and Chris Sale each got a first place vote, finishing in fourth and fifth. In a stacked year, Felix Hernandez only showed up on three of 30 ballots.
The American League had a ton of worthy candidates this year. Scherzer deserves the award, and for once, there isn't much to gripe about.
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