Mets’ Jacob deGrom, Astros’ Justin Verlander win 2nd Cy Young Awards; Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu finishes 2nd

August 26, 2020 0 Comments

first_imgHyun-Jin Ryu’s elite season in 2019 will earn him millions of dollars this winter as a free agent. But it wasn’t enough to earn him the National League Cy Young Award.New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom was a near-unanimous choice for the award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, receiving 29 of the 30 first-place votes to win his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award. DeGrom is the 20th pitcher to win multiple Cy Youngs and the 11th to win it consecutively, joining Max Scherzer (2017-2016) and Clayton Kershaw (2013-14) as back-to-back winners in the past seven seasons.Ryu received the other first-place vote and finished second, ahead of the Washington Nationals’ Scherzer.Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander was awarded his second AL Cy Young Award, beating out teammate Gerrit Cole. Verlander got 17 first-place votes compared to 13 for Cole, who became a free agent after the season. DeGrom passed Ryu down the stretch by following the opposite route. After his first nine starts, deGrom had a 3.98 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. Starting in late May, however, deGrom posted a 1.89 ERA and 0.93 WHIP over his final 23 starts, allowing two runs or fewer in 19 of those 23 starts. DeGrom capped his season with 23 consecutive scoreless innings.“I feel like I was trying to better what I did in 2018,” deGrom said of his slow start, adding “I think that was something I struggled with to start this year, was kind of dwelling on what happened last year. Kind of not focusing on the task ahead as much as I probably should have.”Ryu still finished with the best ERA in baseball (2.32). But deGrom was right behind at 2.43 and had better total numbers than Ryu in nearly everything else – WHIP (0.97), strikeouts (255), innings pitched (204), strikeouts per nine innings (11.25), FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), adjusted ERA (which compensates for ballpark) and WAR, finishing in the NL’s top four in each of those categories.Opposing batters found deGrom more difficult to hit than Ryu in terms of batting average (.207 to .234), on-base percentage (.257 to .263), slugging percentage (.323 to .359) and OPS (.580 to .622).“It was a dream to play this game and a dream to win one Cy Young,” deGrom said. “To win back to back was a goal. It’s hard to explain. You set these goals, but it almost doesn’t feel real yet.”Over the past 20 years, an ERA title has translated to a Cy Young Award in the National League just seven times – three times for Kershaw (2011, 2013-14) and twice for Randy Johnson (2001-02).The St. Louis Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty, a former Harvard-Westlake standout, finished fourth in the NL voting, just behind Scherzer and ahead of the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg. The Dodgers’ Kershaw and Walker Buehler each received some down-ballot votes, finishing eighth and ninth, respectively. Kershaw received one third-place vote and Buehler received one fourth-place vote.The 36-year-old Verlander won his first Cy Young in 2011 with Detroit, when he was also named AL MVP. Since then, he’d been a runner-up three times. Verlander is the 21st pitcher to win multiple Cy Youngs.“The adversity I went through puts a new perspective on everything,” he said. “I mean, still would’ve liked to have won a couple of them.”Verlander continued a marvelous second act to his career since a 2017 trade from Detroit to Houston. He led the majors with 21 victories and padded his Hall of Fame resume by getting his 3,000th strikeout in his final start of the regular season. He also reached 300 punchouts in a season for the first time.Verlander no-hit Toronto on Sept. 1, becoming the sixth pitcher with three no-hitters in a career. He joined a group that includes Hall of Famers Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax, Bob Feller and Cy Young, along with 1880s pitcher Larry Corcoran.The case between Verlander and Cole was tight. Cole, who starred at Orange Lutheran High and UCLA, had more strikeouts (326) and a lower ERA (2.50), but Verlander threw 10-2/3 more innings and won more games. They are the first set of teammates to finish 1-2 in AL voting – it’s happened five times in the NL.Verlander and Cole pitched Houston to the World Series, where Cole continued to dominate while Verlander faltered. The right-hander lost twice to the champion Nationals – a letdown not factored in voting that concluded before the postseason began.He’s hoping to take another run at a title – with Cole – next season.“I know that Gerrit had a great time playing here and I know he would like to return, if possible,” Verlander said. “But that is now on Gerrit and his family and people above me.”Tampa Bay Rays righty Charlie Morton finished third a year after leaving Houston in free agency. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, a Laguna Hills High product who was named the MVP of the All-Star Game this summer, finished fourth.Ballots, submitted prior to postseason play, were cast by two writers in each league city, and the voters differ for AL and NL in cities with multiple teams. They are tabulated on a system that rewards seven points for first place, four points for second place, three points for third place, two votes for fourth place and one point for fifth place.News services contributed to this story. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorcenter_img For much of the 2019 season, Ryu was a surprise frontrunner in the Cy Young race.The 32-year-old Korean left-hander had chosen to accept the Dodgers’ qualifying offer last winter, returning to the Dodgers on a one-year, $17.9 million contract rather than take his checkered medical record into free agency.Shoulder and elbow surgeries had limited Ryu to one start over two seasons in 2015 and 2016. A groin injury had limited him to 15 starts in 2018. Those 15 starts, however, turned out to be a sign of things to come – Ryu had a 1.97 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, both career bests, over 82-1/3 innings.The award was Ryu’s to lose in mid-August this season. The NL’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game, Ryu had a 1.45 ERA – far and away the lowest in the majors – and a 0.95 ERA through his first 22 starts. He held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 20 of those 22 starts.Over his final seven starts, though, Ryu had a 5.40 ERA including 18 runs scored in 14-2/3 innings over a three-start stretch in August. That slump brought pitchers like deGrom, Scherzer, Jack Flaherty and Stephen Strasburg back into the Cy Young debate.last_img read more