Keuchel placed in the top two on all 30 ballots (22 first-place votes, eight second-place), earning a total of 186 points. (Weighted seven points for first place, four for second, three for third, two for fourth and one for fifth.) David Price came in a reasonably close second place, landing 21 second place votes and eight first place votes (plus one third place) for a total of 143 points. Sonny Gray, the only other recipient of a second-place vote, finished third with 82 points. Rounding out the ballot were Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Wade Davis, Felix Hernandez, Collin McHugh, Corey Kluber, Marco Estrada, Andrew Miller, Shawn Tolleson, Carlos Carrasco and Dellin Betances, in that order. (Full voting breakdown here.)
The 27-year-old Keuchel was fighting for a rotation spot as recently as Spring Training 2014, but his remarkable transformation into a bona fide ace atop the Houston rotation was completed with a dominant follow-up to a breakout 2014 season. Keuchel led the AL with 232 innings (trailing only Clayton Kershaw’s 232 2/3 innings for the MLB lead) and worked to a pristine 2.48 ERA with 8.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and an AL-best 61.7 percent ground-ball rate. While pitcher wins are no longer as significantly emphasized as they once were, Keuchel’s 20 victories likely still held some weight with many voters (as evidenced, perhaps, by teammate and 19-game winner McHugh receiving votes despite logging a 3.89 ERA).
In the National League, voting was even closer, as most would expect. Arrieta’s 169 points narrowly edged out Zack Greinke’s 147 points, with Clayton Kershaw coming in third with a total of 101. Rounding out the ballot, in order, were Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer, Madison Bumgarner, Jacob deGrom, Mark Melancon and John Lackey. (Full voting breakdown.)
Arrieta delivered a strong first half of the season but ratcheted things up with an historic second half, yielding a breathtaking four earned runs in his final 88 1/3 innings. Arrieta recorded an 89-to-14 K/BB ratio over that dominant stretch and shrank his earned run average from 2.62 to 1.77 in the process. He also led the Senior Circuit with 22 wins, four complete games and three shutouts.
There was a split camp between Arrieta and Greinke, the latter of whom posted a 1.66 ERA — the lowest earned run average since Greg Maddux 20 years ago. Greinke recorded 19 wins and averaged 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings against just 1.6 walks per nine in 222 2/3 innings with the Dodgers this season and also enjoyed an otherworldly run of 45 2/3 scoreless innings over the middle portion of the season. Incredibly, Greinke allowed just 19 runs over his first 19 starts this season.