New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom won the 2018 National League Cy Young Award, pitching’s top honor in Major League Baseball.
He did so in dominant fashion, garnering 29 of a possible 30 first-place votes, finishing ahead of Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals and Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies:
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 14, 2018
His victory is one of the rarest and oddest Cy Young victories considering all the intangibles that went into deGrom’s historic year.
The first thing that is seen among most pitching stat lines is wins. At first glance, the 30-year-old’s 10 wins would have disqualified him from being considered a finalist for the award. But deGrom’s dominance goes much deeper than just a 10-9 record.
DeGrom went 29-straight starts allowing three runs or fewer, an MLB record that is unprecedented in today’s offensive-laden game. Eight of those starts featured no runs allowed, yet deGrom only received 3.53 runs of support per start. That was the second-lowest number in the majors only behind Cole Hamels and the main reason as to why deGrom didn’t have more wins.
Had he earned the league average of 4.45 runs per start, deGrom would have easily eclipsed the 20-win mark, making his stat line look far more appealing.
DeGrom was throttled to the Cy Young Award behind his ERA, which was a sterling 1.70. That’s the sixth-lowest mark in Major League Baseball since the mounds were lowered in 1969 and the second-lowest since 1995.
Behind a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 269-46, deGrom truly had one of the rarest combinations of stats in the game’s history.
Since 1908, only two other pitchers (Christy Matthewson in 1908, Pedro Martinez in 2000) recorded an ERA under 2.00 with more than 250 strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks in a season.
It was more than enough to secure a landslide victory, one that set a record in the process.
DeGrom’s 10 wins this season are the fewest attained by a Cy Young Award winner. The previous record belonged to Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who won 13 games in 2010 before winning the American League Cy Young.