The 2018 National League Cy Young Award seems to be a two-horse race between Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
Scherzer had himself quite a season as he continues to build his Hall-of-Fame resume. His 18 wins, 220.2 innings pitched, 300 strikeouts, two complete games and one shutout led the majors in 2018.
That statline, especially those 300 strikeouts would normally be more than enough to win the Cy Young Award. However, New York’s deGrom provides one big, historic roadblock. One that is more than deserving of the award.
Had the 30-year-old played on almost any other MLB team, he would have likely led the majors in wins instead of the 10 he was able to accrue in Queens.
He strung together 29-straight starts in which he allowed three runs or fewer, a new major-league record, and didn’t allow a single run in eight separate appearances.
It played a big part as to why his ERA was a minuscule 1.70, by far the best in the majors and 0.83 points lower than Scherzer’s mark of 2.53. That ERA is also the sixth-lowest by a pitcher in Major League Baseball since the mound was lowered in 1969. Only Zack Greinke’s 1.66 ERA in 2015 was lower in the past 23 seasons.
DeGrom’s control was of otherworldly proportions, striking out 269 batters compared to just 46 walks surrendered. It created a statline that is rarely seen in baseball.
Since 1908, only New York Giants legend Christy Mathewson 110 years ago and Pedro Martinez of the Boston Red Sox in 2000 recorded seasons that contained a sub-2.00 ERA, over 250 strikeouts and fewer than 50 walks. Both are in the Hall of Fame.
By comparison, Major League Baseball has seen Scherzer’s 300 strikeouts far more often. In fact, it’s happened seven other times since 1997.
No other pitcher in the game was nearly as dominant as Jacob deGrom this season in a performance that we might not see too many times over the next century. That lone is enough to win the Cy Young Award and it shouldn’t even be that close of a vote.