NL Cy Young Award Breakdown

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It is award season! Some of the awards for Major League Baseball are more hotly contested than others, as always. We look to break down all of the awards for you, and even give a little prediction. This is our look at the NL Cy Young award.

Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals

Once again, Max Scherzer finds himself in the Cy Young conversation. The 2019 World Series winner and seven-time all-star has finished top-five in the Cy Young voting every season since 2013. He won the award in 2013 with the Detriot Tigers as well as 2016 and 2017 with the Washington Nationals.

Scherzer statisitically had a down season, to his standards, as his ERA was 2.92, his highest since his 2016 2.96. He also finished with his lowest win total since 2009 with 11 wins. Mad Max had his lowest strikeout total at 213 since 2013 at 240. He finished with under 200 innings pitched at 172.1 for the first time since 2012.

Despite the down season, Scherzer still was one of the most dominant pitchers on the mound this season and more than deserving of a fourth Cy Young award. In addition to the stats mentioned above, Scherzer only walked 33 hitters this past season and had a NL-best 2.45 FIP.

Jacob DeGrom, New York Mets

The argument against DeGrom is the same one from last year, as his team did not do enough to help him get victories as he finished with a weak 11-8 record. That being said, he’s still arguably the front-runner to win the award, which will make him and his competitor Scherzer as the only two players to win the NL Cy Young within the last four years.

DeGrom finished the season with the NL’s second-best ERA at 2.43 and led the NL in strikeouts at 255. For the third consecutive season, he threw over 200 innings at 204.0. He only walked 44 hitters during the season, and had a WHIP of 0.917.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers

Ryu led the NL in ERA at 2.32, but did not pitch over 200 innings like DeGrom and had significantly less strikeouts than the other two competitors at 163. What’s interesting though, is that he was considered the front-runner for almost the whole first half of the 2019 season.

Ryu had an incredible 1.73 ERA in the first half of the season and hitters only hit .221/.241/.341 off of him in the first half. Those numbers ballooned to a 3.18 ERA and a .251/.293/.385 slash line against in the second half. While those second half numbers are nothing to write-off, it might not be good enough to warrant picking him over Scherzer or DeGrom. That being said, no one had as strong of a half as Ryu did this year and those 17 starts of pure dominance might be enough to get him the award.

The Decision

Our writers voted Jacob DeGrom as the 2019 Cy Young with Ryu and Scherzer tying for second place. DeGrom’s only real criticism compared to the other two is not being part of a playoff team. While the Mets were competitive this year, they struggled last year. How is that relevant? Degrom still won last year! Voters don’t care as much about the team’s success as people think and we think Degrom did enough to showcase that he was the best pitcher in the NL this past season.

Author Twitter: @SentryCarney

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