Kershaw unanimously wins third NL Cy Young Award

Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw pitches during what turned out to be his 20th win of the 2014 season. (Photo by Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw pitches during what turned out to be his 20th win of the 2014 season. (Photo by Matt Marton/USA TODAY Sports)

It seems as if I write a version of this post every November.

Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw won his third National League Cy Young Award on Wednesday. I started this blog in 2011, the first year he won one. After finishing second to R.A. Dickey in 2012, he won his second NL Cy Young Award in 2013.

That means Kershaw won a Cy Young Award in three of the four years I’ve been writing about the Midwest League. And I keep writing about him because he pitched for the Great Lakes Loons in 2007, when he went 7-5 with a 2.77 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 97.1 IP and was named the MWL Prospect of the Year. (He also was the winning pitcher in that year’s MWL All-Star Game at Kane County.)

Clayton Kershaw was the winning pitcher in the 2007 Midwest League All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons)

Clayton Kershaw pitches during the 2007 Midwest League All-Star Game. (Photo courtesy of the Great Lakes Loons)

Although he missed all of April because of a back injury, Kershaw arguably had his best season yet in 2014. He went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, a 0.857 WHIP, 239 strikeouts and 31 walks in 198.1 IP (27 starts). His most dominant month was June, when he went 6-0 with a 0.82 ERA, 61 strikeouts and four walks in 44 IP. That month he also pitched a no-hitter in which he struck out 15 and walked none, but an error was committed, so he didn’t get credited with a perfect game.

Kershaw is the first pitcher to win three Cy Young Awards before his 27th birthday, and the sixth pitcher to win three in a four-year span. Only nine pitchers have won three or more Cy Young Awards since the honor was first given in 1956.

Cincinnati Reds RHP Johnny Cueto finished second in this year’s NL Cy Young Award vote after going 20-9 with a 2.25 ERA, 0.960 WHIP, 242 strikeouts and 65 walks in 243.2 IP (34 starts).

Cueto pitched for the Dayton Dragons in 2006, going 8-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 76.1 IP. He also made two rehab starts for the Dragons in 2013, notching a win and striking out eight batters in eight innings.

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