Sale finished an impressive second in the league in many categories, but it was Kluber who finished first in most of them.
While Sale faded a bit down the stretch, Kluber only got stronger. He posted a spectacular 1.79 ERA and struck out 142 batters in 110 1/3 innings after the break. It seemed that Sale would run away with the award, but Kluber’s dominant second half allowed him to overtake Boston’s ace.
Kluber finished with a league-leading 18 wins, 2.25 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 1.9 BB/9, 6.2 H/9 and 8.0 pitching WAR. His 265 strikeouts and 11.71 K/9 were second only to Sale, while his 7.36 K/BB ratio gave him a slight edge for first in the league.
A brief stint on the disabled list limited Kluber to only 29 starts, yet he still finished with a workhorse innings total of 203 2/3, which ranked fourth in the league. The additional workload is a feather in the cap for Sale, but the gap isn’t large enough to make a significant difference given that Kluber still managed to top the 200 innings mark. Kluber made up for some of that lost time with a major league-leading five complete games, including three shutouts.
Kluber already has one Cy Young under his belt from 2014 and is on the verge of adding another. ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor gives him a comfortable lead over Sale by a margin of 199.2 to 173.7. Severino is a distant ninth by their scale, coming in with a score of 134.6.
Sale’s first season in a Red Sox uniform was everything the team could have hoped for, but it wasn’t quite enough to put him ahead of Kluber in this race.