Mets fans finally got something to cheer about when the Baseball Writers’ Association announced its selection of Jacob deGrom as 2018’s National League Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday, November 14.
CBS Sports reports that deGrom put a damper on Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer’s attempt at being named pitcher of the year for a third consecutive season by hogging up a near-unanimous vote. Of the 30 ballots cast, Scherzer only got the first place nod from one writer, with the other 29 in agreement that deGrom had run away with honors. This, despite the fact that deGrom lost nine games and only won 10 – making for a winning percentage that pales in comparison to the 18-7 record Scherzer posted to go along with a league-leading 300 strikeouts.
While no Cy Young Award winner has ever collected fewer full-season victories than deGrom did, it was universally understood that his losses and no-decisions came by no fault of his own. As ESPN notes in its coverage of the award’s presentation, the former Rookie of the Year hurler received the worst run support of any starter in all of baseball, with his team averaging no more than 3.5 on the scoreboard whenever he took the mound. Throughout one particular stretch of the season, the Mets were so bad on offense that they only put up a total of 10 runs in seven of deGrom’s games, and he was responsible for helping his own cause by driving in four of them.
To his credit, New York’s 77-85 season never deterred him to the point where he failed to show up with aims to dominate the opposition. The two-time MLB All-Star set a record by giving up three runs or less in 29 straight starts, and an outstanding 18 of those games saw him allow no more than one score. Such efficiency proved good enough to bring deGrom’s earned run average down to 1.70 over 217 innings on the season – which was two-thirds of a run lower than Aaron Nola’s second-best NL ERA of 2.37. In addition, his historic 9.6 wins above replacement (WAR) mark won deGrom favor from writers, as did his second place finish in strikeouts (269) and WHIP (0.91).
“I’m extremely humbled to win this award along with some other great former Mets such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey. I’d especially like to thank my teammates, coaching staff and my family,” deGrom said after becoming just the fourth Mets pitcher to ever win the award.
DeGrom heads into the history books with the Tampa Bay Rays’ Blake Snell, who was named the American League Cy Young award on the complete opposite merit of having won an MLB best 21 games.