On Monday, we voted on the first of five 2015 SB Nation Awards: MLB Hitter of the Year. With a full 50% of the vote, the community went with Bryce Harper of the Nationals.
Next up is MLB Pitcher of the Year. We have three nominees: our own Sonny Gray, Houston's Dallas Keuchel, and Jake Arrieta of the Chicago Cubs. Here is the case for each.
2015 stats: 2.73 ERA, 208 innings, 169 Ks, 59 BB, 5.8 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR
Sonny spent most of the year as a Cy Young frontrunner, but a 6.84 ERA in September ended his chances. He still had a great year and earned an All-Star berth, though. And let's be real, he's on our team, so there's a pretty good chance you're voting for him.
2015 stats: 1.77 ERA, 229 innings, 236 Ks, 48 BB, 8.7 bWAR, 7.3 fWAR
After a disappointing start to his career in Baltimore, Arrieta emerged as an excellent starter for the Cubs last year at age 28. He doubled down on that success this season and became an NL Cy Young candidate. Chicago signed Jon Lester last winter, but it was Arrieta who became their ace.
2015 stats: 2.48 ERA, 232 innings, 216 Ks, 51 BB, 7.2 bWAR, 6.1 fWAR
Keuchel is almost certain to win the AL Cy Young. He was consistently incredible all season long for the Astros -- only once did he go fewer than six innings in a start, and his ERA was under 4.00 in every single month. He started the All-Star Game, he led his team to an unlikely postseason berth, and he won his second straight Gold Glove. The lefty is the total package. I also still think it's funny that Houston's star player is named Dallas.
2015 stats: Irrelevant, he throws with both hands
Bonus entry! He tied for fourth in the nomination process, and that was juuuust good enough of an excuse for me to include him here. Don't worry about his stats; he is on this list as an innovator. He plays baseball in a way that no one has ever done professionally in over 100 years of history. I know we talked about it to no end all year, and the novelty may have worn off slightly, and he's not even on the A's anymore, but it's still pretty incredible if you stop and think about it. The dude can pitch with both arms. Most people aren't good enough to pitch with one arm, but both of his arms are good enough to retire some hitters.
Alright, now you have two calls to action. The first is to vote for Pitcher of the Year in the poll at the bottom. The second is to make your nominations for Best A's Defensive Play of 2015 in the comments. A reminder of the process:
1. I will kick off the nominations in the comments with a couple of obvious examples.
2. To vote for a nominee, "Rec" the comment introducing that play. You can Rec however many of the nominees you want.
3. If you want to nominate a defensive play that has not yet been nominated, then make a new comment with "Nomination: (Come up w/ a name for the play)" in the subject line and then provide some kind of link to a video or GIF of the play. Please double-check to make sure that the play actually hasn't been nominated yet.
4. On Tuesday, at 11:59 p.m. PT, the nomination process will end and a yet-undecided number of the top nominees with the most Recs will advance.
5. I'll have a post for you Wednesday morning, which will include a poll at the bottom so that we can vote from among the Best Play nominees and choose a winner. In the comments of that Wednesday post we will nominate our candidates for A's Celebration of the Year.