Jacob deGrom dethrones Max Scherzer as NL Cy Young winner
Max Scherzer is still among the most dominant pitchers in baseball, but his reign as the National League’s award favorite is over.
New York Mets righty Jacob deGrom won the 2018 NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday, ending Scherzer’s bid to win his third award in a row and fourth of his career.
deGrom won 29 of 30 available first-place votes, with Scherzer picking up the remaining one. Scherzer received the other 29 voters’ second-place ranking.
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola finished third. The award is voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Scherzer pitched a career-high 300 strikeouts and led the NL in that category for the third straight year. He went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA, and also led the NL with 220.2 innings pitched and a WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) of 0.911.
Despite all that, he was no match for deGrom, whose ERA of 1.70 led the MLB and lapped the competition. It was baseball’s sixth-lowest single-season ERA among qualifying starters since 1969. He and Nola tied for the best wins above replacement mark among pitchers (10.0), a shade ahead of Scherzer (9.5), according to Baseball Reference.
His dominance was obscured by a losing Mets team that rarely provided him run support. deGrom finished 10-9, and in his nine losing decisions, he never allowed more than three earned runs. In fact, he set an MLB record with 24 consecutive quality starts defined as at least six innings pitched and no more than three earned runs allowed.
The NL East rival overshadowed another terrific year from Scherzer, 34, who in many categories had a better season than he did in 2016, the year he won his first Cy Young as National.
Scherzer won the award for the first time in 2013 when he pitched for the Detroit Tigers. He is already in rarefied air as one of 10 pitchers to win it at least three times.
But had he won, Scherzer would have become just the third pitcher to win three consecutive Cy Youngs. Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux each won four in a row during their careers.
Scherzer was in the Bahamas during MLB Network’s broadcast of the announcement and, humorously enough, could not get his Wi-Fi to work to appear on their show via Facetime.