Playing for the Mets didn’t impede Jacob deGrom’s NL Cy Young chances in the slightest. Despite only putting up a 10-9 record due to his hitters giving him some of the worst run support in the league, the Mets ace wasn’t penalized for his lack of wins, and he blew away Max Scherzer in the voting. DeGrom got 29 of 30 first place votes, and placed second on the one rebellious outlier.
It was a smart choice from the vast majority of voters. DeGrom was the undeniable best pitcher in the National League this season, finishing first in fWAR, FIP and xFIP, second in K/9, and third in BB/9 among qualified pitchers. Perhaps most importantly, no other starter was better at limiting dingers than deGrom, who only allowed ten in 217 innings pitched. While it was wasted on a 77-85 team, and those 10 wins are the lowest ever for a Cy Young-winning starter, this was still easily one of the best pitching seasons of the decade.
Over in the American League, Blake Snell won a much closer race against Justin Verlander, earning 17 first-place votes to JV’s 13. Snell didn’t pitch for a playoff team either—his 90-win Rays had the misfortune of playing in the AL East this season—but his selection is still a bit more traditional for the voters. Even though Verlander pitched 35 more innings, has the FIP and xFIP edge, and bests Snell in K/9 and BB/9, Snell led all of baseball with 21 wins, and he blows away all challenging AL starters with a 1.89 ERA. Snell also avoided home runs in a way Verlander couldn’t, and he showed a remarkable ability to escape tight spots with a league-leading 88 percent of runners left on base. This was a breakout season for the young Ray, and you can’t argue he doesn’t deserve some hardware to show for it. Verlander already has a Cy Young in his trophy case, anyway.