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Jacob Degrom Wins 2018 National League Cy Young

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  • Jacob Degrom Wins 2018 National League Cy Young

    Mets' Jacob deGrom rides majors-best 1.70 ERA to NL Cy Young Award

    New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom won his first Cy Young Award on Wednesday, taking home the National League edition after leading the majors in ERA.

    DeGrom received 29 first-place votes and 207 points in voting announced Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Washington's Max Scherzer got the other first-place vote and finished second while seeking a third straight Cy Young and fourth overall.

    A ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2010 and a former Rookie of the Year, deGrom's major-league-leading 1.70 ERA was two-thirds of a run lower than the next closest NL hurler, Philadelphia's Aaron Nola (2.37), and the second best by any starter this century.

    The 30-year old righty finished second in the National League in innings (217), strikeouts (269) and WHIP (0.91), and allowed just 10 home runs, four fewer than any other starter. His string of 29 consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or less, a streak that began in mid-April and is still active, is the longest in MLB history.

    Despite his effectiveness on the mound, deGrom was frequently victimized by a lack of offensive production from his teammates. Pitching for a Mets club that finished eight games under .500 and ranked 12th in the NL in scoring, he received the worst run support in baseball (3.5 runs per game). As a result, he completed the 2018 season with a 10-9 record. His 10 victories are the fewest ever by a Cy Young winner in a non-strike-shortened season, eclipsing the previous mark held by Felix Hernandez, who went 13-12 during his 2010 campaign.

    Hernandez's Cy Young victory signaled a major shift by voters, who once prioritized pitcher wins. The push toward advanced analytics made deGrom's candidacy possible, and by September there was little debate deGrom was worthy, even as the Mets regularly wasted his dominance.

    During one stretch late in the season, the Mets totaled 10 runs over seven of deGrom's outings, and four of those runs were driven in by the pitcher himself.

    DeGrom nearly produced more wins above replacement than actual wins -- a dubious sabermetric feat that has only been accomplished once, when the Philadelphia Athletics' Eddie Smith went 4-17 with 4.1 WAR in 1937. Baseball-Reference calculated a 9.6 WAR for deGrom.

    Prior to this season, deGrom's previous career-low ERA was 2.54 in 2015. That year, he was named an All-Star for the first time and finished seventh in the Cy Young balloting. He had another top-10 finish in 2017 (eighth). This past season, he made his second All-Star appearance, coming on in relief of Scherzer, who started the Midsummer Classic in front of his hometown fans in Washington.

    Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA and led the majors with 220⅔ innings and 300 strikeouts. He was attempting to become the first player since Randy Johnson to win three consecutive Cy Youngs. He got the first-place vote of John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 second-place votes and 123 points. Nola was third with 86 points, followed by Colorado's Kyle Freeland and Arizona's Patrick Corbin.
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