Up next in this week of BBWAA awards is tonight’s announcement of the American League and National League Cy Young winners. We already know that no Yankees finished in the top three, but I suppose there’s some chance Hiroki Kuroda got a bottom-of-the-ballot vote or two. Cy Young voters are asked to rank their top five candidates, so we’ll try to do the same with an All-Yankees Cy Young ballot.
1. Hiroki Kuroda
I gave some thought to moving Kuroda into the No. 2 spot based on his rough finish, but he ultimately had the rotation’s lowest WHIP, lowest walk rate, second-best ERA (behind Nova) and second-most innings (behind Sabathia). He was shockingly bad in the final two months — 5.40 ERA, opponents hit .296/.341/.496 against him — but he was so good in the four months before that, that his season still stands out as the best of the bunch. From April through July, Kuroda pitched 139.2 innings with a 2.38 ERA. That’s a larger workload than Nova’s entire season, and with much better results. He was incredible until the end.
2. Ivan Nova
So bad in April that he was shipped to Triple-A — first he was hurt, then he was activated, then he was demoted — Nova returned in mid-June and became the Yankees best starter late in the year. From June 23 through the end of the season, Nova went 10-7 with a 2.70 ERA. Notoriously inconsistent through his first three big league seasons, Nova’s strong second half was yet another extended stretch that built some hope that he might eventually carry those results through an entire season. It likely assured him a spot in next year’s rotation.
3. Mariano Rivera
The Yankees closer and setup man had fairly similar seasons, really. More strikeouts (and also more walks) in the eighth inning, but ultimately very similar workload, WHIP and ERA for both Rivera and Robertson. In these rankings, Rivera will get the nod for once again taking on the high-pressure job of closer and delivering one final season of consistency. Sure, there were moments along the way when Rivera was beatable, but he was able to increase his workload down the stretch when the Yankees were still clinging to some hope of a playoff berth. Bonus points for delivering the year’s most memorable moment with his emotional Yankee Stadium farewell.
4. Dave Robertson
Best ERA+ and lowest WHIP on the team, Robertson continued his year-by-year trend of cutting down on his walk rate and delivered a season that was — in a few ways — better than his breakout 2011. His WHIP and strikeout-to-walk ratio were better in 2013 than they’d ever been, and he came one out away from matching his largest workload. His strikeout rate dipped to a still-excellent 10.4 K/9, but he also reduced his walks to 18 (almost half of his 2011 total). In perhaps his final year in the eighth inning, Robertson was again one of baseball’s best setup relievers.
5. Boone Logan
One of the more underrated Yankees of the past four years, Logan’s New York tenure likely came to an end this season with career-bests in WHIP (1.18) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.85). Ultimately, his four years since being acquired in a late-2009 trade were pretty strong and pretty steady; often as the only lefty in the pen. This season, Shawn Kelley’s made a big impression with his big strikeout totals, but Kelley’s 12.0 strikeouts-per-nine-innings was not significantly better than Logan’s 11.5 K/9. Pitching with an elbow issue most of the year, Logan was once again underrated and effective.
Associated Press photo