Cleveland Indians pitcher Corey Kluber narrowly beat out Felix Hernandez to win the 2014 AL Cy Young award on Wednesday.
On the National League side, Clayton Kershaw was the easy and unanimous winner. The AL side wasn't so simple, as both Kluber and Hernandez had Cy Young caliber years. Kluber, possibly thanks to an incredibly strong September finish, eked out the first Cy Young of his career. He finished with 169 votes and Hernandez finished with 159 votes. Kluber received 17 of 30 first-place votes.
A lot of people were banking on Hernandez taking home his second Cy Young award, but it was a vote that could easily swing either way. Where as Hernandez was inhuman throughout much of the summer, Kluber finished the season on a note that was nearly impossible to top. Over the month of September, Kluber threw 43 innings, struck out 56 and posted a xFIP of 1.85.
A vote this close makes sense, and it is unfortunate that the Cy Young isn't easily doled out to two individuals. Statistically, Kluber and Hernandez were neck and neck throughout the season. King Felix posted the lowest ERA and WHIP by an AL pitcher since Pedro Martinez in 2000, and in previous years that probably would have been the statistic used to justify his win.
|ERA||WHIP||K||Opp. Avg.||FIP||WAR (fangraphs)
But Hernandez also started to shatter the old standards when he won his Cy Young in 2010 despite winning only 13 games. Kluber, although not by much, was ever so slightly better than King Felix in a few of the advanced pitching metrics. Kluber also pitched in a less pitching-friendly environment and was backed by one of the worst defenses in the league.
In the end, it is a definite blow, because out of any Mariner who deserves to win awards, it is always Felix Hernandez. Kluber is young and deserves this award. Hernandez is also young and will deserve future Cy Youngs over and over again.