Houston Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel and Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs have been named the 2015 AL and NL Cy Young Award winners.
Normally I would talk about the AL winner first, but I will make an exception here. The reason for this is because I predicted Arrieta would be the NL Cy Young winner prior to the 2015 season:
Excitement was further aroused with the signing of free agent pitcher Jon Lester, owner of two World Series rings with the Red Sox. The biggest beneficiary of Lester’s presence will be Jake Arrieta, who finally began to realize his potential in 2014. I see Arrieta building on 2014 and turning in a season that will earn him an NL Cy Young Award.
Well, Arrieta did the rest winning an MLB leading 22 games, posting an ERA of 1.77 and striking out 236 batters against only 48 walks in 229 innings pitched. Arrieta also led the NL in complete games and shutouts.
When Arrieta began his career with the Orioles, every time I’d see him pitch the Red Sox they would knock him around. He had good stuff, but very little command of it and couldn’t keep the ball down in the strike zone. When the O’s traded him to the Cubs in the middle of the 2013 season, his ERA was 7.23. After a stint at Triple-AAA Iowa City, Arrieta worked extensively with Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio and developed a great rapport with him. When I saw him pitch in 2014, I saw that he learned to keep the ball down and that he had learned to throw his slider for a strike. His 10-5 record didn’t stand out, but I sure noticed and began telling everybody who would listen to watch out for Arrieta in 2015.
I’ve been posting my MLB predictions here at the AmSpec since 2009 and my Arrieta NL Cy Young prediction is by far my best and boldest prediction.
Now I didn’t pick Keuchel to win the AL Cy Young. (I predicted that Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians would win back to back AL Cy Youngs). But I did write, “Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh are developing into solid big league starters.” Keuchel and McHugh combined for 39 wins for an Astros team that would win the AL Wild Card. Keuchel led the AL with 20 wins and also led the Junior Circuit with 232 innings pitched and two shutouts. He struck out 216 while walking only 51. Keuchel also won a Gold Glove for his fielding.
But in a week that has been filled with misery and in a life full of disappointments, it is nice to get one right every once in a while.