Who are the teams with the longest MVP and Cy Young droughts?

Who are the teams with the longest MVP and Cy Young droughts?

Jose Abreu became the first White Sox player to win MVP since 1994.
Jose Abreu became the first White Sox player to win MVP since 1994.
Image: (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Trevor Bauer became the first Cincinnati Reds pitcher ever to win a Cy Young Award. That leaves only three teams in Major League Baseball that have never had one of their pitchers receive that honor, matching the three teams that have never had an MVP.

A few others have had very long droughts, with no winners of either award in this century, a group that the White Sox and Atlanta escaped on Thursday when Jose Abreu and Freddie Freeman won the MVP awards, the first for their teams since Frank Thomas won back to back in 1993-94 and Chipper Jones in 1999, respectively. Who are the teams still waiting to win their first MVP or Cy Young, or dealing with a 21st century-long drought in awards? Let’s find out.

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Paul Goldschmidt
Paul Goldschmidt
Image: (Getty Images)

Paul Goldschmidt set a team record with 8.3 wins above replacement in 2015, but finished second in the MVP vote to Bryce Harper of the Nationals. Two years earlier, Goldschmidt also was second in the MVP race, despite leading the National League in homers and runs batted in, as Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen won the vote for leading Pittsburgh to its first playoff appearance in two decades.

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BALTIMORE ORIOLES

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Cal Ripken
Cal Ripken
Image: (Getty Images)

The last big award for an Oriole was Cal Ripken’s MVP in 1991. Has Baltimore been overlooked? Well, Nick Markakis led the American League in WAR in 2008 and didn’t even appear on any MVP ballots as Dustin Pedroia won. In 2015, Manny Machado was fourth behind Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout, and Lorenzo Cain. That was at least defensible. As for the Cy Young, you have to go back to Steve Stone in 1980 to find the last Baltimore winner. While Mike Mussina had a good case in 1992, the closest an Oriole has come in recent years was Zack Britton as a dominant closer in 2016. He got five first-place votes, but finished fourth behind Rick Porcello, Justin Verlander, and Corey Kluber, all starters with ERAs over 3.

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COLORADO ROCKIES

COLORADO ROCKIES

Kyle Freeland
Kyle Freeland
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Kyle Freeland’s 2018 season, when the lefty went 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA, easily rates as the best in Rockies history, but he was fourth in the Cy Young vote behind Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Aaron Nola. That isn’t really controversial, it just goes to show how hard it is pitching in Colorado. Meanwhile, voters tend to hold Coors Field against Rockies position players, and Larry Walker is the only Colorado MVP, having won in 1997.

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MIAMI MARLINS

MIAMI MARLINS

Dontrelle Willis
Dontrelle Willis
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Kevin Brown had a 1.89 ERA in 1996, more than a run better than Cy Young winner John Smoltz, and Brown only gave up eight home runs to Smoltz’s 19 gopher balls. Still, as Smoltz won 24 games and Brown went 17-11, the vote wasn’t particularly close. Smoltz got 26 first-place nods to Brown’s two. Dontrelle Willis came even closer in 2005, getting 11 first-place votes for his 22-win season, but Chris Carpenter of the Cardinals got 19 first-place votes and the award.

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NEW YORK METS

NEW YORK METS

David Wright
David Wright
Image: (Getty Images)

There have been plenty of Cy Young winners in Queens — Tom Seaver three times, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey once each, and Jacob deGrom in 2018 and 2019 — but never an MVP. David Wright, second in the National League in WAR in 2007 behind Albert Pujols, probably would have won the MVP if the Mets hadn’t choked. Instead, it went to Jimmy Rollins in a close vote over Matt Holliday.

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TAMPA BAY RAYS

TAMPA BAY RAYS

Ben Zobrist
Ben Zobrist
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A pair of Rays lefties, David Price in 2012 and Blake Snell in 2018, have won the Cy Young. Even though Ben Zobrist led the American League in WAR in 2009, he was a distant eighth in an MVP vote won by Joe Mauer over Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter. The following year, Evan Longoria was sixth and Carl Crawford seventh, as Josh Hamilton won. Then, in 2011, when Longoria and Zobrist each had their second-best seasons, they were 10th and tied for 16th, respectively, with James Shields also part of that 16th-place logjam in the year Justin Verlander won over a mishmash of a field.

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TEXAS RANGERS

TEXAS RANGERS

Fergie Jenkins
Fergie Jenkins
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Jeff Burroughs won Texas’ first MVP in 1974, followed by Juan Gonzalez in 1996 and 1998, Ivan Rodriguez in 1999, Alex Rodriguez in 2003, and Josh Hamilton in 2010. Pitching, even in the best of times for the Rangers, has never really been their strength, with one exception being 2019, when Lance Lynn was fifth in the Cy Young vote and Mike Minor ninth in a race that came down to two pitchers from across the state, with Verlander edging Gerrit Cole. Fergie Jenkins had 10 first-place votes in 1974, when he finished fifth to Burroughs in the MVP race, but Catfish Hunter of the A’s won the Cy with extremely similar numbers. Hunter, oddly enough, finished right behind Jenkins in sixth place in the MVP vote that year.

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Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.