The Major League Baseball season has just concluded and that means the annual player awards are being announced. On Wednesday, two pitchers, who looked to be fringe major leaguers just a few years ago, were named the winners of the Cy Young Award.
Jake Arrieta from the Chicago Cubs won the honor in the National League, while Dallas Keuchel from the Houston Astros won the honor for the American League.
Their rise to be named the Cy Young winners was a testament to their perseverance, knowledge, ability, hard work and as was often said by Arrieta learning to make the adjustments and figuring the game of baseball out.
Just three seasons ago, Keuchel’s ERA was 5.27 while a rookie with Houston in a season where he walked more players than he struck out.
In 2012, Arrieta’s ERA was 6.20 for Baltimore during his third season in the big leagues. He was considered higher rated than Keuchel but he too could not put things together.
Arrieta even spent time in the minors during 2013 and was eventually traded by the Orioles to Chicago.
Both players when awarded the trophy looked pleased to win it. Arrieta pumped his fist while receiving a champagne celebration from one of its friends. Arrieta praised all his teammates for their help in not just making the fielding plays but also scoring the needed runs on days when he was not at his best.
Many thought Zack Greinke would win the award as well as Clayton Kershaw. Greinke had an amazing 1.66 ERA while Kershaw struck out 301 batters.
However, Arrieta ended the season 12-1 with an ERA of 0.75 in his final 15 starts. He was 13-1 on the road and in his nine starts versus NL Central rivals Pittsburgh and St. Louis, Arrieta had an ERA of 1.45.
Greinke never had an ERA above 2.00 the entire season. He gave up one run or fewer in 21 of 32 starts. He gave up over three runs just twice and pitched a minimum of six innings in all of his 32 starts.
Keuchel won quite easily in the American League. He finished ahead of second place David Price who was traded from Detroit to Toronto at the trade deadline.
There was less competition in the American League, as Keuchel and Price were far and away the two best pitchers this season in the AL. However, in the National League, the awarded could have gone to any of the top three finishers, but in the end, Arrieta won and was highly deserving of it.