Chicago Cubs Gradeout: Jake Arrieta’s Cy Young 2015 campaign


A. After pitching well for the Chicago Cubs in 2014, Arrieta emerged as a legitimate big league ace this year, winning a league-leading 22 games and posting the lowest second-half earned run average in Major League history. Although he started to run out of gas in the postseason, he stands a very good chance at bringing home his first-ever <strong><a href=. SP. Chicago Cubs. JAKE ARRIETA

In a few weeks, we’ll know if the rest of baseball appreciates the work Jake Arrieta turned in when the National League Cy Young voting results are made public. But, for now, there’s no doubt in the minds of Cubs fans that the fiery right-hander is the best there is.

It would be easy to be a bit disheartened after the Chicago ace stumbled in his final pair of postseason starts, but to sell Arrieta short in any way would be nothing short of blasphemous.

He was hot right out of the gates, posting an ERA just barely above 2.00 in the first month of the season, before stumbling in the month of May. That month, his worst in the entire campaign, saw him make half-a-dozen starts for the North Siders, winning just once in the process.

That being said, Arrieta’s strikeout-to-walk mark was the best single-month performance of 2015, despite his struggling win-loss record.

From there, it was all upward for the 29-year-old budding ace – his ERA dropped to 2.45 in June, then down to 1.90 in August before he really turned things up a notch.

In his final outing of August, Arrieta worked his magic on the road at Chavez Ravine, twirling the first no-hitter of his career against the Los Angeles Dodgers, becoming the first Chicago Cubs pitcher to accomplish the feat since Carlos Zambrano in 2008.

Between his August, September and October regular-season outings, the former Baltimore Orioles’ prospect went 11-0, posting earned run averages of 0.43 and 0.39, respectively, in the season’s final two months.

The Chicago Cubs’ hurler ranked third in the National League in terms of WAR (8.9) – trailing only the Washington Nationals’ Bryce Harper (9.9) and the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke (9.9). He finished second in WHIP (0.865) and innings pitched (229), while leading all NL hurlers in home runs allowed per nine (0.393), complete games (4), shutouts (3) and hits per nine innings pitched.

More from Cubbies Crib

The high-point of Arrieta’s 2015 campaign, aside from his night of near-perfection in Los Angeles in late August, came just over a month later, when he put the Cubs on his back in the National League wild card game, tossing a shutout against the division-rival Pittsburgh Pirates, giving Chicago its first postseason win since 2003 in the process.

From there, however, for reasons that we may never really know, Arrieta stumbled – maybe it was his career-high in innings pitched; maybe it was just mere coincidence. Regardless, between his two starts following that Wild Card Game win, he posted an earned run average pushing 7.00, never completing six innings in a single start.

So while that may be bitter when we look back at the 2015 season, the utter dominance Jake Arrieta demonstrated for virtually an entire big league campaign is something we haven’t seen from a Chicago Cubs player in years.

A pair of tough postseason starts aside, what’s not to love about the work Arrieta turned in this season?

Absolutely nothing.

Next: Takeaways from Theo Epstein's press conference