Max Scherzer’s league-leading stats in most pitching categories weren’t enough to retain the Cy Young Award against the guy who led the majors in the most important category: ERA.
Jacob deGrom was revealed tonight as the National League’s top pitcher in 2018 in a lopsided vote over Scherzer, who was trying to join elite company with his fourth career and third consecutive Cy Young Award.
The Mets ace received 29 of 30 first-place votes and 207 total points to Scherzer’s one first-place vote and 123 total points in balloting conducted before the start of the postseason by two members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America representing each NL city. Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola, who for part of the summer was locked with deGrom and Scherzer in a three-way battle for the prize, received 86 points to finish third.
Though Scherzer led the NL in wins (18), innings (220 2/3), strikeouts (300) and WHIP (0.991), it was deGrom’s miniscule 1.70 ERA that earned the 30-year-old his first career Cy Young Award to go along with his NL Rookie of the Year Award from 2014.
Scherzer’s lone first-place vote came from John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune.
In siding overwhelmingly with deGrom, voters made perhaps the strongest declaration to date that the notion of evaluating pitchers by their win total is no longer viable. The victim of precious little run support from his Mets teammates all season, deGrom finished with a pedestrian 10-9 record, by far the lowest win total ever for a Cy Young Award-winning starting pitcher.
That 1.70 ERA, however, was the sixth-lowest posted by any major league pitcher since the mound was lowered in 1969, and voters weren’t about to gloss over that fact. They also rewarded deGrom for tossing 23 consecutive quality starts, a major league record.
Thus did Scherzer, whose 2.53 ERA ranked third in the NL behind deGrom and Nola (2.37), come up short in his quest for back-to-back-to-back Cy Young Awards, a feat previously achieved only by Greg Maddux and Randy Johnson.
In spite of that, the Nationals ace continued a dominant stretch of pitching that now has him on a Hall of Fame track. Scherzer has now finished in the top five in Cy Young voting six consecutive seasons, winning three times, finishing second once and fifth twice.
Scherzer also has a chance of finishing in the top 10 in NL MVP voting for the third straight year, with results set to be announced Thursday evening.