Either Chris Sale or Corey Kluber will win the American League Cy Young Award. There are other pitchers who had good seasons, like Craig Kimbrel, Carlos Carrasco, Drew Pomeranz, Justin Verlander, Ervin Santana, Luis Severino and Dallas Keuchel, but none of their statistics can stack up against the Red Sox and Indians aces.
Chris Sale, 28, finished the season 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and 6.0 WAR in 32 starts. Across 214.1 innings he struck out 308 batters and walked only 43. He led the Major Leagues in FIP (2.45), innings (214.1), strikeouts (308) and K/9 (12.9). The 2017 All Star Game starter was brilliant for most of the season before tailing off a bit towards the end, still finishing with very impressive numbers.
Corey Kluber, 31, went 18-4 with a 2.25 ERA and 8.1 WAR in 29 starts. Across 203.2 innings he struck out 265 batters and walked 36. He led the Major Leagues in wins (18), ERA (2.25), complete games (5), shutouts (3), ERA+ (202), WHIP (0.869), and K/BB (7.36). He also led the American League in win% (.818), H/9 (6.2), and BB/9 (1.6).
Both pitchers are worthy of the award, but which do you think will win? I asked that question to my fellow writers here at MMO and here are their responses:
John Sheridan: Corey Kluber
He’s the MLB leader in wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts, ERA+, and WHIP. Is there really anything that needs to be said beyond that?
John Jackson: Corey Kluber
From an entertainment standpoint, the argument can be made that Chris Sale was more exciting to watch as he struck out a whopping 308 batters. However, Corey Kluber has been the better pitcher overall in 2017 as he leads MLB pitchers in ERA (2.25) and WAR (8.1). His 265 strikeouts may be 43 less than Sale, but they are good for third best in the Majors.
Laney Ortiz: Corey Kluber
There’s a big debate between Sale and Kluber at the moment, but I have to say I’m on Team Kluber. His ERA and WHIP are works of art and put him as possibly the best pitcher in the Major Leagues statistically.
Dilip Sridhar: Corey Kluber
Chris Sale looked like a runaway lock but Corey Kluber had arguably one of the best second halves a pitcher has ever had. Kluber’s 8 bWAR trounces Sale’s 6.1 bWAR even though Sale bests in FIP and strikeouts. At the end of the day, Kluber’s 202 ERA+ is 45 points higher than Sale’s 157. He should win the second Cy Young Award of his career.
Josh Finkelstein: Corey Kluber
I see Corey Kluber winning it, despite being hurt for about a month of the season. He was absolutely dominant after returning from the DL and his five complete games, 18-4 record, and 2.25 ERA speak for themselves. Chris Sale’s 308 strikeouts top the 265 from Kluber, but that alone will not be enough to win the award.
Logan Barer: Corey Kluber
In addition to all of the valid reasons my fellow writers have highlighted, I believe he will win because his only competition (Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel) could split a few first place votes. Even if Kimbrel takes one or two from Sale, that could give Kluber the edge — not that he would need the help. The only reason people are even debating this is because of Sale’s impressive 308 strikeouts and his beautiful 2.25 FIP.
Check out our other recent roundtables here: