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Nationals’ Max Scherzer a finalist for 2016 NL Cy Young

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Nationals’ righty Max Scherzer and Cubs’ starters Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester were named the three finalists for the 2016 NL Cy Young.

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Five Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

While acknowledging that he might be biased by the fact that he never managed a starter who won the award, Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker told reporters late in his first season in Washington that he thought Max Scherzer deserved consideration as the NL Cy Young.

"It depends on whatever the criteria is from the voters that are voting for him to be the Cy Young," Baker explained, as quoted by MLB.com’s Jamal Collier.

"Is it strikeouts? Is it ERA? Is it victories? Is it amount of innings pitched?” Baker asked.

“Is it how many games you pitched where you stopped a losing streak or your team's wins when you pitch? It's going to be a tight race. It's going to be a very tight race."

Scherzer, as MLB Network analyst Jon Morosi noted late this season, led all NL pitchers in wins, strikeouts, WHIP and innings pitched, the first to do so since Dodgers’ lefty Sandy Koufax in 1965.

Scherzer finished third in the NL in fWAR this season, at 5.6, behind only Miami’s Jose Fernandez (6.2) and New York Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard (6.4).

His 2.96 ERA was the eight-lowest among qualified NL starters, his 3.24 FIP was fifth-lowest, his xFIP was third-lowest, behind Syndergaard (2.68) and Fernandez (2.56). He also gave up an NL-leading 31 home runs overall on the season.

“He should be in strong consideration for a Cy Young,” Baker told reporters after win No. 18 of Scherzer’s second season in D.C.

Scherzer earned two more wins after that, finishing the 2016 campaign unbeaten in his final 10 starts, over which he was (8-0) with the Nationals 10-0 in his outings.

The 32-year-old veteran was named a finalist for the NL Cy Young Award tonight, joining the Chicago Cubs’ Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks as the three finalists for the award:

Scherzer took the AL Cy Young Award in 2013, after going (21-3) in 32 starts for the Detroit Tigers over which he put up a 2.90 ERA, a 2.74 FIP, 56 walks and 240 Ks in 214 13 IP, finishing the year at 6.1 fWAR.

Will the Cubs’ starters split the vote and allow Scherzer to claim his second Cy Young?