Breaking Down the AL Cy Young Award

With the 2019 MLB season in the books, it’s that time of year to recognize the standouts from this past summer. One of the most prestigious awards up for grabs is the Cy Young Award, given to the top pitcher from each league. Here, we will focus on the winner from the American League. Last year’s winner was Blake Snell who, unfortunately, did not have a good enough campaign in 2019 to be named a finalist for the award. So, let’s take a look at the three gentlemen who are in the running and who we at Overtime Heroics thinks will win!

Charlie Morton

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Tampa Bay Rays fans may be disappointed that Snell cannot win back to back awards. However, they are more than happy to see Charlie Morton’s name on the list of the final three, and rightfully so. Over 194.2 innings on the mound, Morton was dominant. 

His numbers are tremendous across the board. Morton tallied a WHIP of 1.084, good for 5th in the AL. Morton’s knack for creating swings and misses kept hitters off balance all season, as his 240 strikeouts was also fifth in the AL. His stuff was also efficient, with just a 4.211 strikeout to walk ratio. Where did that finish in the AL? You guessed it, fifth. What separates Morton, however, is his ability to avoid the home run ball. His home run per nine innings was 0.694, which was not fifth in the AL. It led the league. 

It was hard not to root for Morton this season. He’s as humble as they come and is an absolute joy to watch on the mound. His decision to leave the Houston Astros this past offseason is the only reason there isn’t three ‘Stros competing for the 2019 AL Cy Young. 

Gerrit Cole

Image result for gerrit cole
(Troy Taormina/USA Today)

Our first Astro up for the AL Cy Young is Gerrit Cole. Even the most clueless of baseball fans found out quickly who this guy was throughout the postseason. Cole’s velocity on his fastball, which sits between 94 and 98 MPH, made him nearly impossible to hit this season especially when he was effective with his offspeed pitches. 

Cole’s 326 strikeouts not only led the AL, but all of Major League Baseball. This came in 212.1 innings of work, good for another league leading 13.818 strikeouts per nine innings. His 2.50 ERA, .895 WHIP, and 6.019 hits per nine innings, and 6.792 strikeout to walk ratio were all top three across all of baseball. In addition, Cole’s fielding independent pitching (FIP) was also a league leading 2.64. Needless to say, Gerrit was flat out nasty in 2019. 

Of course, the postseason success of Cole does not factor whatsoever into his campaign for the Cy Young. Regardless, baseball fans should just be happy the world was practically forced to take notice of him this past October.

Justin Verlander

Image result for justin verlander
(AP)

As mentioned, Cole is not the lone Astro up for the Cy Young. Justin Verlander now enters the chat, and with a ridiculous 2019 season along with him.

Verlander led the league (not just the AL, all of baseball) in so many categories that squeezing them into one sentence would just be… not ideal. Instead, here’s a simple list using numbers from baseball reference:

  • WAR for pitchers (7.8)
  • WHIP (.803)
  • Hits per 9 innings (5.529)
  • Adjusted pitching runs (52)
  • Adjusted pitching wins (5.4)
  • Base-out runs saved (58.65)
  • Win probability added (5.6)
  • Situational runs saved (5.4)
  • Base-out wins saved (6.1)

In addition to his flurry of league-leading statistics, Verlander was right at the top of other categories as well. His strikeout to walk ratio 7.143 and adjusted ERA+ of 179 were both second across baseball respectively.

The combination of Cole and Verlander was a huge reason why Houston maintained one of the best, if not, the best pitching staff in the MLB this past season.

Predicted Winner

The Overtime Heroics baseball staff voted on a predicted winner for the award. If you bet on a Houston Astro to win, congratulations! The staff believes that Gerrit Cole will bring home the 2019 AL Cy Young award. 

Despite being beat out by his teammate Verlander in a number of statistical categories, Cole had the edge in four crucial ones. Those would be ERA, ERA+, strikeouts, and FIP. Cole’s ability to keep runners off base aided his defense all year long. Sometimes, heavy strikeout throwers don’t last long each game because of how many pitches they throw. However, Cole worked efficiently and consistently gave the Astros seven-plus inning efforts. His dominance should be enough to bring home his first ever Cy Young award. 

Author Twitter: @Noush9602

Come discuss this and much more at the Overtime Heroics forums!

Check out our Overtime Heroics merch store!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: