Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - There have been 10 unanimous National League Cy Young Award winners.
Clayton Kershaw could become No. 11 on Wednesday when the Baseball Writers' Association of America continues to hand out its postseason awards, as the top pitchers in both the American and National League are revealed.
Kershaw, who won this award in 2011, is a heavy favorite to nail down his second NL Cy Young after another dominating season for the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 25-year-old left-hander went 16-9 and led the NL for a third straight year with a minuscule 1.83 ERA, the lowest ERA in MLB since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 in 2000, and lowest in the NL since Greg Maddux's 1.63 in 1995. His 232 strikeouts were also tops in the league, as was his 0.92 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched), while he finished second with 236 innings and an .195 opponents' batting average.
It was the fourth consecutive season that Kershaw tallied 200 or more strikeouts. He also allowed a .202 batting average to right-handed hitters and just .165 to left-handed hitters.
Essentially, it's not a matter of if he will win, it'll be a matter of by how much. And should he take the honor, he'll be the Dodgers' first multiple winner since Sandy Koufax (1963, '65, '66).
Kershaw's main competition figures to come from Miami righty, and recently named Rookie of the Year, Jose Fernandez.
In a year that not much went right for the 100-loss Marlins, Fernandez turned in perhaps the best rookie season in team history, going 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA. He also struck out a team rookie record 187 batters, and he posted a WHIP of 0.98.
From June 1 to the end of the season, Fernandez's 1.50 ERA was the best in the NL. The Marlins were also 18-10 in his 28 starts and Fernandez was 9-0 at home with a 1.19 ERA, while holding opponents to .164 clip at Marlins Park.
St. Louis righty Adam Wainwright is also a finalist after leading the NL with 19 wins.
It's a little less clear cut in the American League, but Detroit righty Max Scherzer appears to have the inside track on Seattle right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.
Scherzer enjoyed the best year of his career, as he won an MLB-best 21 games, while pitching to a 2.90 ERA and striking out 240 batters over a career-high 214 innings.
With 2011 winner Justin Verlander inconsistent for the majority of the year, Scherzer anchored a staff that led the AL in almost every major category.
Scherzer has captured almost every pitching award this offseason and will likely become the Tigers' second pitcher to win a Cy Young in three years. Still, as good as Scherzer was, there are heavy rumors that he could be moved in a trade this offseason.
Iwakuma will probably come up short, but actually may be more deserving.
While Scherzer pitched for the AL Central champion Tigers, Iwakuma was on a Seattle team that went 71-91, had the lowest batting average in the league at .237 and ended the year 12th in runs scored in the AL.
Iwakuma won only 14 games, but pitched to a 2.66 ERA and was second in the AL in WHIP (a club record 1.006), innings (219 2/3) and opponents' batting average (.222), fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.40) and quality starts (23) and fifth in opponents' OPS (.630).
Iwakuma posted a 2.86 ERA in his 13 no-decisions. He actually became the second pitcher in Major League history to have five starts of at least six innings in which he recorded a no-decision despite not allowing an earned run.
He also finished the year strong, going 4-0 with 1.62 ERA over his final eight starts.
The AL's other finalist is Texas flamethrower Yu Darvish, who struck out a major league-best 277 batters. Darvish only won 13 games, but like Iwakuma was often a victim of poor run support, as he became the first pitcher in 24 years to lose four games by a 1-0 score.
The Rangers also scored two runs or fewer in 17 of his last 23 starts.
Darvish finished fifth in the league with a 2.83 ERA and allowed three or fewer runs in 26 of 32 starts. He struck out batters at a rate of 11.89 per nine innings and opponents hit a mere .194 off of him.