6:28pm: The BBWAA announced a slight correction in the NL voting (Twitter link), revealing that Ryu finished in second place alone — not in a tie with Scherzer, who is alone in third place. Flaherty is now alone in fourth place as well, with Strasburg landing fifth.
5:56pm: Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom and Astros righty Justin Verlander have been named the Cy Young Award winners in their respective leagues, the Baseball Writers Association of America announced Wednesday (click for voting breakdowns in the National League and American League).
It’s the second consecutive Cy Young win for deGrom, who has cemented himself among the elite arms of the generation. The 31-year-old deGrom received 29 of a possible 30 first-place votes, with the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu receiving the lone other first-place vote. Ryu, who narrowly topped deGrom for the NL ERA title but tossed 22 fewer innings, finished in a second-place tie with Max Scherzer. Stephen Strasburg and Jack Flaherty, meanwhile, were only slightly behind that pair in a fourth-place tie of their own. Mike Soroka, Sonny Gray, Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, Kirby Yates and Patrick Corbin all received votes and appeared further down the ballot.
Tossing 200 innings is an increasingly rare feat in today’s era of bullpen dominance, but deGrom delivered his third straight year of 200-plus frames, finishing with 204 innings of 2.43 ERA ball. His 2.67 FIP largely supported that excellent ERA, and deGrom was once again masterful in terms of overall strikeout percentage (31.7 percent) and walk percentage (5.5 percent). The right-hander, to this point, hasn’t given the Mets any reason to second-guess the four-year, $120.5MM contract extension they awarded him prior to the 2019 campaign. That pact ensured that deGrom will be a fixture on the starting staff for years to come, and he’ll join Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman in a formidable top four in 2020 as the Mets look to reload and once again take aim at a postseason berth.
Verlander, 36, narrowly edged out teammate Gerrit Cole but managed to secure his second career Cy Young win. No pitcher outside of Verlander or Cole received a first- or second-place vote, but Verlander’s 17 first-place votes won the day. Rays star Charlie Morton received the bulk of the third-place votes (18) and came in third place on the ballot, while Cleveland’s Shane Bieber received 10 third-place votes and finished fourth in voting. Lance Lynn parlayed his brilliant rebound campaign into a fifth-place finish, while Eduardo Rodriguez, Lucas Giolito and Mike Minor rounded out the ballot (in that order).
Verlander led the Majors with 223 innings pitched and finished second in the game in strikeout percentage (35.4 percent), trailing only Cole (39.9 percent) in that regard. Verlander’s 2.58 ERA was slightly higher than Cole’s 2.50 mark, and his FIP (3.27) was a good margin higher than that of Cole (2.64). But Verlander yielded fewer walks in more innings pitched, started one more game than Cole and finished the year with 21 victories to Cole’s 20. The two were widely expected to crush the rest of the field in a tightly contested race and did just that. Verlander would have been a free agent alongside Cole were it not for the two-year, $66MM extension he signed over the winter. He’ll instead join Zack Greinke atop the Houston rotation for the next couple of seasons as he seeks to add a third trophy to his Cooperstown case.