Dallas Keuchel: 2015 Cy Young Contender?
By Jason Burke
Dallas Keuchel had a great 2014 season. It was far and away the best of his career, but could he be on his way to being a Cy Young candidate? While this may be a stretch, here is the argument for why Keuchel has a shot and bringing home the trophy at the end of 2015.
First, let’s compare stats. We’ll take Keuchel’s 2014 season, and compare it with 2014 AL Cy Young award winner, Corey Kluber.
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Comparing the two, Kluber definitely had the better season, and subsequently won the award that goes along with it. Yet, it was Keuchel who threw more complete games (5), while making five fewer starts. Both starters lost nine games, but Kluber totaled 18 wins, compared with Dallas Keuchel’s 12 on a rebuilding Astros team.
If the Astros are to challenge for .500 in 2015, they will need Keuchel to be on his game. While many will look at the bullpen for giving up leads, it was actually the Houston offense that failed Keuchel in 2014. The bats of the Astros provided a total of 11 runs while Keuchel was on the mound in his 9 losses last season, scoring as many as three runs once, and being shut out three times.
While wins and losses don’t matter as much to today’s voters, they still look for candidates that do well down the stretch, and that they are pitching meaningful games in September. The former, Keuchel did in 2014, compiling a 1.66 ERA in three September starts. The latter could be coming as early as 2015 with some key acquisitions this Winter.
Another “sexy” stat for voters seems to be the strikeout, which isn’t exactly Keuchel’s forte. The 146 strikeouts he achieved in 2014 are likely on par with what the lefty will achieve going forward as well. The good news is that the AL West is full of free swingers, and strikeouts can be aplenty.
Will Dallas Keuchel win the 2015 Cy Young award? That may be a stretch. Can he contend for the 2015 Cy Young award? That is entirely possible.