During the final week of the season, the Standing Room Only guys are giving their predictions for this year’s award winners. On Tuesday, Scott told us who he thinks deserves Manager of the Year. Yesterday, I told you that Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani should be the Rookies of the Year. Today, let’s look at the tight race for this year’s Cy Young Award.
And the National League Cy Young Award Winner is…
Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Yes, you heard me right. Max Scherzer and not Jacob deGrom. Do I have something against the Mets? I mean who doesn’t, but that’s besides the point. When Felix Hernandez won the Cy Young, the Baseball Writers Association was praised for looking past the win-loss record and looking at the whole picture. Right now, I am asking the Baseball Writers to do the same again, but this time look past deGrom’s 1.70 ERA and instead look at the bigger picture.
Let’s look at Max Scherzer’s case. In terms of the stats, the resume between Scherzer and deGrom are almost identical. Scherzer’s WAR (9.7) and WHIP (0.911) are nearly identical to deGrom’s (10.3 WAR and WHIP 0.912), which makes a lot of this race a toss up. When you look at the overall body of work, Scherzer has the edge. He is currently 1st in the NL in wins (18), innings pitched (220.2), strikeouts (300), WHIP (0.91), and complete games (2). While I don’t hold a ton of stock in wins because that is more of a team category, that is an impressive list. deGrom, however, is only leading the NL in ERA (1.70). Add on top that Scherzer is holding opponents to a lower batting average against (.188) than deGrom, it makes the case that Scherzer gets the edge in this race.
This is one of the toughest calls I have had to make. Jacob deGrom has had a fantastic year and he is totally deserving of this award. I feel, however, that Scherzer’s case is just enough to sway the tides.
Commiserations to Jacob deGrom and Kyle Freeland
And the American League Cy Young Award Winner is…
Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
I know what you’re thinking, first you snub Jacob deGrom and now you’ve lost your damn mind by not picking Blake Snell. Yes, I have lost my mind. The Baseball Writers Association will probably send Blake Snell home this winter with the hardware, but they aren’t voting in this Standing Room Only article now, are they. I am going to make the bold and unpopular argument as to why Corey Kluber deserves the AL Cy Young award just as if we were sitting in a bar drinking a pint.
Sure, on the surface, Blake Snell is the man this year. He has a 7.1 WAR and a tidy 1.90 ERA when compared to Kluber’s WAR of 6.0 and 2.83 ERA. There is one big issue for me when it comes to Blake Snell: innings pitched. This season, Snell has appeared in 30 starts and has thrown 175.2 innings. That is compared to Kluber and his 32 starts with 210.0 innings. That might not be a big deal, but it is. Of course you’re going to have earned runs given up, you have thrown 35 less innings. Snell is only averaging 5.84 innings per start compared to Kluber’s 6.5 innings per start. That might seem like a small different, but if you are going to win the Cy Young, you better be throwing deep into ball games.
While Snell has almost the same number of strikeouts as Kluber, he does have nearly double the walks meaning that Snell has not been as efficient as Kluber this year during his starts.
While Snell is most likely going to be our AL Cy Young winner, you cannot forget about Corey Kluber. While the numbers are not as flashy as Snell’s, Kluber has quietly had a Cy Young deserving season. And hey, Kluber did help get his team to the playoffs didn’t he or is that just my Indians fan bias showing?