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Arrieta adds 2 MLB Awards to offseason haul

Cubs ace honored with Best Starting Pitcher and Best Breakout Player

Hopefully Jake Arrieta has some room on his fireplace mantle. After winning the Cubs' first National League Cy Young Award in 23 years earlier in the week, the right-hander was honored Friday with a pair of Esurance MLB Awards.

Arrieta won both for Best Breakout Player and Best Starting Pitcher, edging American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and fellow NL Cy Young Award finalist Zack Greinke for the latter honor after leading the Major Leagues with 22 victories thanks in large part to an historic finish.

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After closing the first half of the season with a complete-game two-hitter against the White Sox, Arrieta went 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break to finish the year 22-6 with a 1.77 ERA. His second-half sprint included an Aug. 30 no-hitter at Dodger Stadium, helping to give Arrieta the lowest second-half ERA since the All-Star Game was instituted in 1933. His 0.41 ERA from Aug. 4 through the end of the season was the lowest mark over the final two months of a season since ERA became an official stat in 1912.

In winning Best Breakout Player, Arrieta beat out an impressive field that included fellow finalists Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado and the 2015 NL MVP, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper.

Video: 2015 MLB Awards: Best Breakout Player - Arrieta

"Honestly, it took a number of adjustments for me to get to the point where I felt like I could go out there every five days and be dominant," Arrieta said this week. "Some guys, it kind of clicks right away in their career.

"For me, it took a little bit longer, but I was able to make some adjustments necessary to start to have success on a consistent basis. That's when the ball really started to roll for me."

The basis of those adjustments, Arrieta said, was reverting to his boyhood mechanics.

"I tried to build off that," Arrieta said. "Make some slight adjustments, make some tweaks, and see where I ended up after that point. It turned out pretty well."

Arrieta, 29, is what one might call a late bloomer. When Baltimore traded Arrieta to the Cubs in 2013 in a package for pitcher Scott Feldman, Arrieta had a career 5.46 ERA.

"I've been through a lot in my career, and the failure that I've gone through makes me really appreciate the moments of success much more," Arrieta said during the postseason. "I've had some pretty dark times in this game in my career, you know, but I was dedicated to getting over the hump, to putting in the time, the effort, making any adjustments necessary to get to this point."

The Esurance MLB Awards annually honor Major League Baseball's greatest achievements as part of an industry-wide balloting process that includes five components, each of which accounts for 20 percent of the overall vote: media, front-office personnel, retired MLB players, fans at and voters at the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).

Individual awards were presented for 22 categories, including Best Major Leaguer, Everyday Player, Bounceback Player, Social Media Personality and Postseason Performer. Winners were also recognized for the year's Best Offensive Play, Defensive Play, Moment, Single-Game Performance, Social Media Post, Celebrity Fan and Fan Catch.

Manager and Executive winners will be announced at the Winter Meetings in December.

Nominees were judged on their bodies of work from the entire year -- from Opening Day through the postseason -- and selected after a careful review of all 30 clubs. Winners in all 24 categories receive a Greatness in Baseball Yearly (GIBBY) trophy.

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
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