Dominant pitchers vie for 2017 Players Choice Awards
The finalists for the 2017 Players Choice Awards as the Outstanding Pitchers in both leagues all helped their clubs reach the postseason.
In the American League, Corey Kluber of the Indians, Chris Sale of the Red Sox and Luis Severino of the Yankees each emerged as a top-of-the-rotation workhorse and led the way in their clubs' division races. In the National League, the same could be said for finalists Zack Greinke of the Diamondbacks, Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and Max Scherzer of the Nationals.
For the seventh consecutive year, Players Choice Award winners will be announced exclusively on MLB Network on Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 8 - 9:30 pm ET.
The Players Choice Awards benefit the Major League Baseball Players Trust, the collective charity created and administered by the players themselves. Players Choice Award winners in all categories will designate charities to receive grants totaling $260,000.
The winners of the 2017 Players Choice Awards as Outstanding AL Pitcher and Outstanding NL Pitcher will receive $20,000 grants for the charity of their choice.
Showing why he is nicknamed “Klubot,” Kluber was nearly invincible in the way he methodically picked apart AL lineups. The 31-year-old right-hander was 18-4 with an MLB-leading 2.25 ERA and 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings, and also leading the league in wins, WHIP (0.869), complete games (5), shutouts (3). Using his trademark curve, he had 265 strikeouts while walking just 35 over 203 2/3 innings.
Sale, a 6-foot-6 left-hander who relies on a four-seam fastball, led the majors with an incredible 308 strikeouts and 214 1/3 innings pitched over 32 starts in his first season with the Red Sox following an offseason trade. The 28-year-old from Lakeland, Fla., had 12.9 strikeouts per nine innings while going 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA as Boston finished first in the AL East.
The youngest of the pitching finalists at 23, Luis Severino rose to the top of the Yankees' rotation in his third season by going 14-6 with a third-in-the-AL 2.98 ERA and was fourth in the league in both strikeouts (230) and strikeouts per nine innings (10.7). In just his third season, the hard-throwing right-hander from Sabana de la Mar, Dominican Republic, walked just 51 batters over 193 1/3 innings over 31 starts.
In the NL, Zack Greinke, 34, had double-digit wins for the 10th straight season, going 17-7 with a 3.20 ERA and 215 strikeouts over 202 1/3 innings for the upstart Diamondbacks. A four-time all-star, Greinke has won two previous Players Choice Awards as Outstanding Pitcher; he was the AL winner in 2009 with the Royals and was the AL winner in 2015 with the Dodgers.
Clayton Kershaw, who has already won the Players Choice Award as the NL Outstanding Pitcher three times (2011, 2013 and 2014), led the Dodgers to an MLB-leading 104 wins, going 18-4 with a league-leading 2.31 ERA and 208 strikeouts over 175 innings. It was the fifth time in the 29-year-old left-hander's 10-year career that he led the NL in ERA and the third time he led the league in wins.
The third NL finalist, Max Scherzer, who won the AL Outstanding Pitcher award in 2014, was 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and an NL-leading 268 strikeouts in 200 2/3 innings for the Nats and also led the league with an 0.90 WHIP and allowed just 5.7 hits per nine innings. It was the second straight season the Missouri native led the NL in strikeouts and the fourth time in the past five seasons that he's posted an ERA below 3.00.
Now in its 26th year, the Players Choice Awards annually honor the outstanding player, rookie, pitcher and comeback player in each league, as well as an overall Player of the Year and Marvin Miller Man of the Year awards, which are selected by players in both leagues.
Balloting for the 2017 Players Choice Awards, which are being presented by MLB The Show and sponsored by Majestic Athletic, was conducted in all Major League clubhouses on Sept. 19, under the supervision of accounting firm KPMG.
The Players Trust raises funds and attention for issues affecting the needy and promotes community involvement, and it has recognized the outstanding on-field and off-field performances of Players Choice Awards winners by contributing more than $4 million to charities around the world. For additional information, please visit www.PlayersTrust.org