The Cy Young Award: It’s On The Line for Jacob deGrom

Baseball's Cy Young Award (Photo:

Jacob deGrom will not be a runaway Cy Young Award winner again this year. Competition is keen. With four remaining starts, deGrom needs to pull a Verlander…

Jacob deGrom is pitching in an era where a pitcher’s won-loss record is not valued as much as it once was. Nevertheless, he is again having a season worthy of serious consideration for the Cy Young Award.

Top Ten Pitchers In ERA 9/3/2019 (Source: Baseball Reference)
Top Ten Pitchers In ERA 9/3/2019 (Source: Baseball Reference)

In this New Era, Earned Run Average trumps all pitching stats, followed by walks vs. strikeouts, and finally, the number of quality starts a pitcher has (defined as six innings or more with three or less earned runs).

Head To Head For The Cy Young Award Tonight

Jacob deGrom has delivered in all three areas in 2019. The table above shows the top ten pitchers in ERA as of 9/32019. deGrom starts tonight for the Mets in a classic matchup with Max Scherzer in Washington, and Zack Greinke is also making a start against the Brewers.

Strikeouts vs Walks NL Leaders 9/3/2019 (Source: Baseball Reference)
Strikeouts vs. Walks NL Leaders 9/3/2019 (Source: Baseball Reference)

So, those numbers will be altered moving forward. But not much. Batting averages, for instance, at this stage of the season do not move much up or down based on one game.

Based on the spread between deGrom, Mike Soroka, and Sonny Gray, it looks like deGrom will finish the season where he is now – in fourth place. A notable achievement.

The table above depicts the NL leaders in strikeouts vs. base-on-balls. The stat is measured as a ratio, meaning that deGrom registers about six strikeouts before he gives up a walk. Max Scherzer has a commanding lead in this category as well as ERA over deGrom.

Jacob deGrom, 2018 NL Cy Young (Photo - New York Post)
Jacob deGrom, 2018 NL Cy Young (Photo – New York Post)

It’s in the final category of Quality Starts (QS) where deGrom shines over Scherzer. According to data provided by Fox Sports, Jacob deGrom has registered a QS in all but eight of his 27 starts this season. Max Scherzer has recorded 16 Quality Starts and is tied with Noah Syndergaard in nineteenth place in the major leagues.

The Scherzer Train Is Rolling

On the surface then, it looks like deGrom loses out to Scherzer in a close contest between the two. Hyun-Jin Ryu would seem to be in the mix as well, but he is faltering of late. Ryu has taken three consecutive losses while giving up 18 runs in 14.2 innings pitched. The Dodgers will be watching Ryu closely to limit his innings from here forward to the postseason.

The Cy Young is voted on by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BWAA), with one representative from each team. For such a prestigious award, that is not a lot of votes to count.

Cy Young Award Contender Max Scherzer (Photo:
Cy Young Award Contender Max Scherzer (Photo:

Unlike the vote for each league’s Most Valuable Player in which the BWAA uses what is termed a “voting vectors” process, the Cy Young is reasonably straight forward. Meaning, the fifteen writers in each league are apparent and, therefore, more accountable for their vote.

With this in mind, it is not likely deGrom will beat out Scherzer for this year’s Cy Young Award. Scherzer’s body of work over twelve seasons is too much for deGrom to overcome. Scherzer’s three previous Cy Young Awards factor in as well.

You might say the award is designed for one season, and that’s true. But when the vote between two pitchers is as close as this one, other factors come into play to break the tie, fair or not.

If either deGrom or Scherzer can pull a Justin Verlander, who stunned the world of baseball with his third no-hitter last weekend, then all bets are off just as Verlander is now the clear leader in the American League for the award.

Mets fans will widely disagree, but from an objective standpoint, it’s Max Scherzer in a squeaker over Jacob deGrom. Unless, of course, things change…

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.

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