It's MLB awards seasons and many of the honors handed out were little contest.
White Sox slugger Jose Abreu for Rookie of the Year was simple, so was Clayton Kershaw for National League Cy Young.
But, when it came to the American League, many figured that Felix Hernandez would win the Cy Young award.
That included eventual winner Corey Kluber.
"I would have been in no position to argue if he had won," Kluber told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He had such a great year."
- Corey Kluber is Indians' star no one knows
- Felix Hernandez shows dominance again for Mariners
- Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez make strong MVP cases
What made him better?
If you look at the tradition numbers, Hernandez was better at 15-6 with a 2.14 ERA and 0.915 WHIP. Kluber was 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 1.095 WHIP.
The craziest Felix stat was his consistency with a run of 18 straight starts allowing two or less runs while pitching seven or more innings.
According to MLB.com's Andrew Castrovince, however, a big factor in Kluber's favor was how he fared down the stretch in his final 14 starts, when Kluber was 9-3 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.96 WHIP while Felix went 4-4 with a 2.16 ERA and 0.94 WHIP.
Another factor that Castrovince mentioned is that the fielding behind Kluber wasn't nearly as good, so numbers like WAR and FIP were to his advantage.
Didn't name recognition matter?
Usually, when a race is close, voters tend to give the benefit of the doubt to the established pitcher. They don't want to be one of those pointed at later for awarded a one-trick pony the award against one of the best pitchers of this era.
We won't know if Kluber will show any sort of dominant consistency until he actually does it. Felix has been doing this for years. His stuff is good, no matter how many years opponents have to get familiar with it.
The name recognition and history, however, ultimately had nothing to do with this decision. That should be to the voter's credit. It's a yearly award and should be voted on as such.
It's just hard to believe that it actually happened. Kluber was good, really good. Three times, he pitched complete games. Felix didn't have any. That could have as much to do with managerial style as anything, but it was a factor as well.
Votes are in
Kluber finished with 17 first-place votes and 11 second place. Felix had 13 first-place votes and 17 second place. In points, that's 169 for Kluber and 159 for Felix.
It couldn't be much closer, really.
“The motivation in the second half was team driven," Kluber said.
"The fact that we were right in the middle of the playoff chase was a driving factor for all of us. That's what made it so easy to come to the ballpark every day."
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