The battle for the AL Cy Young Award is really a two-man race. David Price and Dallas Keuchel will be the top two finishers. The voters will have a difficult time deciding between the two, though.
The graphs below show the important statistics for the three finalists, along with other notable AL pitchers in 2015. The three finalists are highlighted in blue.
Looking at advanced metrics, we can see where Keuchel has an advantage. Keuchel had a 2.48 ERA, a 2.73 FIP, a 2.60 xFIP, and a 2.84 SIERA. If you average the three ERA estimators, Keuchel finished with a 2.72 ERA estimate. Do the same for David Price and we get 3.10 as the final number. Based on the things a pitcher controls the most, Keuchel was better at preventing runs. He also pitched 11 2/3 more innings.
While Keuchel and Price are very close, I expect Keuchel to narrowly edge out Price in the AL Cy Young Award voting.
Price started the year with the Detroit Tigers and went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA. The Tigers were out of the playoffs by July, so they traded Price to the Toronto Blue Jays. Price was a superb 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA down the stretch with the Jays. He’s been a strong pitcher in nearly every year of his career and should get a good number of first place votes for the AL Cy Young. Ultimately, though, I think Keuchel will get the nod.
Chris Archer (4.8 WAR) At the All-Star break, Chris Archer was firmly in the conversation for the best pitcher in the American League. He was 9-6 with a 2.74 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and had 147 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings. The second half was not so kind, as Archer went 3-7 with a 3.89 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. His overall season was still quite good, but it was definitely a tale of two halves.
Chris Sale (4.8 WAR) Sale was the Bizarro World version of Sonny Gray this year. Gray had a 2.73 ERA and a 3.45 FIP. Sale had a 3.41 ERA and a 2.73 FIP. Gray had 5.8 WAR according to Baseball-Reference and 3.8 WAR according to Fangraphs. Sale’s totals were 3.3 and 6.2. Baseball-Reference WAR pegged Gray as the 3rd best pitcher in the AL this year, while Sale was 17th. Fangraphs had Gray 9th in the AL and Sale 2nd. In fact, Sale was right there with Price and Keuchel in value if you go by Fangraphs WAR. Let’s look at the breakdown to see why this was true:
Who I think will win: This should be a close race between Dallas Keuchel and David Price. I think Keuchel will end up winning the award. Their numbers are close enough that it could go either way, but the narrative of the underdog Astros and Keuchel being their Ace should drive the voters to give him the nod.
Who I would vote for: I would go with Keuchel also.