NL Cy Young-1. Roy Halladay
2. Clayton Kershaw
3. Cliff Lee-I feel like these three more or less had to be the top three; it was merely a matter of arranging them. Both Baseball-Reference WAR and Fangraphs WAR agreed that the order was Halladay-Kershaw-Lee. But Kershaw did win the pitching triple crown (which is one thing I hope to write more about, hopefully by next week). So, I was somewhat pre-disposed to put him first. But, everything I looked at seemed to indicate that Halladay was the better pitcher by a slight margin. Halladay made one fewer start than Kershaw, but threw one third of an inning more. Kershaw had 248 strikeouts to Lee’s 238 and Halladay’s 220 (first, second, and tied for third, respectively), and a 9.57 K/9 Innings (to Lee’s 9.21 and Halladay’s 8.47). But Halladay has both of them topped in BB/9 innings, with 1.35 to Kershaw’s 2.08 and Lee’s 1.62. Halladay also led the group in HR/9 innings, .39 to .58 (Kershaw) and .70 (Lee), despite the fact that Kershaw played in a better pitcher’s park. Their ERA’s were close as well, with Kershaw leading Halladay and Lee 2.28 to 2.35 and 2.40. But playing in a pitcher’s park hurt him; ERA+ put him second (163) to Halladay (164), with Lee and incredibly close third (161). Really, they were all incredible, but it seemed like Halladay consistently edged out Kershaw while playing in a better hitter’s park, leading to this order.
4. Ian Kennedy
5. Cole Hamels-Again, my down-ballot spots are less rigid. Kennedy seemed like a good fourth place, and I was split on whether to try and slide Carpenter into the fifth slot. In the end, I went against it, which is totally the opposite of what I did on my AL Rookie of the Year ballot. So yes, my philosophy on the final ballot spots fluctuates quite easily.
Now, for an announcement. The project for this site that is currently taking up my time is this Baseball Past and Present idea. Basically, it’s just what it sounds like (if you clicked the link, then came back); Who are the 50 Best Players who currently aren’t in the Hall of Fame? My ballot currently stands at 42 players, with 12 more fighting for the last 8 spaces (and I actually am being very deliberate with these final picks). I feel like this may lead to numerous future updates; there will be at least one, to be sure. Keep your eyes open.