The past few days have seen Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani winning Rookies of the Year, as well as Brian Snitker and Doug Melvin winning Managers of the Year. Today, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America announced the results of the voting for the 2018 Cy Young Awards. Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell took home the honors in the American League, with New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom being deemed the best in the National League.
The competition for the American League honors was down to three big names. Snell was joined by Houston Astros righty Justin Verlander and Cleveland Indians righty Corey Kluber. When all was said and done, Snell took the top spot with 17 first-place votes. Verlander came in second at 13 votes, just a few shy of his second Cy Young award. Corey Kluber earned four second-place votes and twelve third-place votes, but came up empty with the first-place votes.
After decent (but not Cy Young-worthy) 2016 and 2017 seasons, Blake Snell broke through with a MLB-leading 21 wins, being one of two pitchers to record at least twenty victories (Kluber had 20). Other notable categories in which Snell was the best American League pitcher were pitchers’ wins above replacement (7.5), earned run average (1.89), and hits per nine innings (5.579).
While picking up 21 wins through 31 starts, Snell only got five losses. Through 180.2 innings, he surrendered 38 earned runs on 112 hits, recording a dominant 1.89 ERA. He allowed just 18 homers all season, while walking 64 opposing batters and striking out 221. Despite missing out on receiving enough votes to earn a spot in this past summer’s All Star Game, Snell stayed dominant throughout the second half of the season, and posted strong enough stats to earn his first career Cy Young award.
Justin Verlander also earned the top spot out of all American League pitchers in various categories, including walks and hits per innings (0.902), strikeouts (290, career high), and starts (34). He went 16-9 with a 2.52 earned run average over 214 innings, recording one shutout in his one complete game. He was responsible for 60 runs on 156 hits, including 28 home runs. Meanwhile, he walked 37 batters while striking out 290.
Despite achieving multiple new career-highs, Corey Kluber did not receive any first-place votes. He broke his previous personal single-season records for several categories, including wins (20) and walks per nine innings (1.4). While winning 20 games over 33 starts, Kluber also recorded seven losses. Through 215 innings, he allowed 69 earned runs on 179 hits, including 25 homers. Kluber fanned 222 batters, whiling issuing 37 free passes. Even though he posted these great stats, the Indians have mentioned his name, as well as other pitchers’, in trade talks with other teams as they explore the best options for their organization. In the end, Kluber may remain with Cleveland, but there is a possibility that he dons a new uniform for the 2019 season.
In the National League, New York Mets star Jacob deGrom ran away with the honors. He received a whopping 29 first-place votes. The only other pitcher to get a top vote was Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer, whose lone vote came from a writer in San Diego. Far behind, in third place, was Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola, who had an impressive season but failed to earn a first- or second-place vote.
Jacob deGrom is a two-time All Star who was once the National League Rookie of the Year. But his new honor as the National League’s best pitcher is a first for him. deGrom led the league in one the biggest categories: earned run average. Through 32 starts, deGrom held his ERA to just 1.70, an amazing number for a pitcher.
There is, however, one stat of deGrom’s that had previously would have called into question the righty’s worthiness of the Cy Young award. That stat was the basic measurement of how many wins and losses a pitcher recorded. Jacob deGrom’s 2018 record was 10-9. That’s right: the National League’s Cy Young winner recorded less than half as many wins as the American League’s winner. However, it is widely understood that deGrom’s record shouldn’t affect how he is viewed. One of the main reasons his record was around .500 was merely because he was on a Mets’ roster that struggled to produce wins as a team, and Jacob deGrom simply did not get enough run support from his teammates to pump out a 20+ win season.
Besides his 10-9 record, deGrom posted amazing stats in every other categories. Along with his dominant ERA, he allowed just 46 walks while recording a career-high 269 strikeouts. Through 217 innings, deGrom surrendered 41 earned runs on 152 hits, including just 10 strikeouts.
Max Scherzer, who has already earned one career Cy Young award in his career, trailed fairly far behind deGrom in the voting this year. However, the veteran righty still posted terrific stats. Through 33 starts, Mad Max recorded 18 wins and seven losses. He posted a 2.53 ERA, allowing 62 earned runs on 150 hits, including just 23 homers. He walked 51 batters while posting a career-high 300 (!!!) strikeouts.
In his fourth major-league season, Phillies righty Aaron Nola found a spot on his first career All Star team. Through 33 starts, Nola went 17-6 with a career-best 2.37 earned run average. Through a career-high 212.1 innings, Nola allowed 56 earned runs on 149 hits, including 17 homers. He walked 58 batters while fanning a career-high 224 batters. It was by far Nola’s best year in the majors, but he still fell short of being dubbed the best pitcher in the National League.
With the Cy Young awards being announced, just one more major award has not been revealed yet; on Thursday, the BBWAA will announce who the leagues’ most valuable playeres are. For now, though, congrats to Snell, deGrom, and all of the Cy Young candidates on a great season.