With about 20+ games left in the season, the post-season awards are starting to come into focus. The Eiji Sawamura Award in particular looks to be an interesting case for a battle between 3 Central League starters; Tomoyuki Sugano of the Giants, Yudai Ono of the Dragons and Yuki Nishi of the Tigers. Mention could also be made for Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Buffaloes and Hideaki Wakui of the Eagles in the Pacific League who too is having an excellent season.
First of all, we should run through what it is the selection committee looks for. It is always important to understand that the Eiji Sawamura Award differs from the MLB's Cy Young in a number of ways. Firstly, the Sawamura award is only given to one pitcher in the entirety of NPB. The MLB awards a Cy Young for the American League and the National League. Also, the Sawamura is judged against a very specific criteria that is said to embody the spirit of Eiji Sawamura. The Cy Young is generally just awarded to the statistically "best" pitcher. Finally, a Sawamura Award committee comprised of former winners of the award decide who receives it; not the media and not the players' peers.
So, what are the categories that the committee scrutinize the most?