New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was named the NL Cy Young Award winner Wednesday, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes. He becomes the seventh NL pitcher all-time to win the award at least two years in a row.
Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was the only other player to receive a first-place vote.
DeGrom joins Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Greg Maddux and Sandy Koufax on the list of NL back-to-back winners, but he had to rebound from a slow start to the season in order to capture his second.
On May 17, deGrom allowed nine hits and seven runs over five innings in a loss to the Marlins. The reigning Cy Young winner was nine starts into his season and he was 3-5 with a 3.98 ERA. “Tonight’s on me,” he said after the game. “I did a terrible job out there. I let it get out of hand.”
He didn’t have too many terrible starts after that one. DeGrom kicked back into his 2018 form and would post a 1.89 ERA the rest of the season as he finished 11-8 with a 2.43 ERA and a league-leading 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. The 31-year-old right-hander outpointed the three-time Cy Young winner Scherzer and major league ERA leader Ryu to become the 11th pitcher overall to win consecutive Cy Young Awards.
Because of that slow start, deGrom wasn’t quite as dominant as 2018, when he posted a 1.70 ERA and also claimed 29 of 30 first-place votes in the Cy Young voting. Still, in 2019 he led National League pitchers in both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs WAR along with strikeouts and lowest OPS allowed, while finishing second in ERA, second in WHIP, third in innings and third in ERA+.
Over his final 23 starts, he allowed more than two runs just four times: three runs twice and four runs twice. One of the three-run outings included three unearned runs. He closed the seasons with a flourish, with three straight scoreless starts of seven innings apiece and just nine hits allowed over 21 innings.
NL Cy Young Voting
|Jacob deGrom, Mets||29||1||–||–||–||207|
|Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers||1||6||8||7||3||72|
|Max Scherzer, Nationals||–||8||8||6||4||72|
|Stephen Strasburg, Nationals||–||10||1||9||8||69|
|Jack Flaherty, Cardinals||–||5||11||6||4||69|
|Mike Soroka, Braves||–||–||1||6||9|
|Sonny Gray, Reds||–||–||–||–||4||4|
|Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers||–||–||1||–||–||3|
|Walker Buehler, Dodgers||–||–||–||1||–||2|
|Kirby Yates, Padres||–||–||–||1||–||2|
|Patrick Corbin, Nationals||–||–||–||–||1||1|
|–Baseball Writers’ Association of America|
DeGrom’s final start came on the day the Mets were officially eliminated in the wild-card race. “That would mean a lot. It’d be a huge honor,” he said about winning a second Cy Young Award. “I guess you do kind of set personal goals, but tonight we fell short of a team goal. So it’s kind of mixed emotions and nobody in here is real happy that we’re eliminated.”
Similar to his 2018 season, when he won 10 games, deGrom was once again plagued with poor run support. Three times he allowed no runs and didn’t get a win. Four times he allowed one run and came away with a no-decision. He allowed two runs in eight starts and went just 3-2 in those games.
DeGrom joins three-time winner Tom Seaver as a multiple Cy Young winner in Mets history. R.A. Dickey and Dwight Gooden are also Mets Cy Young winners. DeGrom should have more opportunities to win a third Cy Young Award in a Mets uniform: He signed a five-year, $137.5 million extension in spring training (although the contract does include an opt-out clause after 2022).
Ryu had his best season in the majors, going 14-5 with a league-best 2.32 ERA. He looked like the Cy Young favorite through August 11, when he was 12-2 with a 1.45 ERA and had allowed more than two earned runs in a game just once. Over his final starts, however, he went 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA, including two seven-run outings. He also pitched fewer innings than deGrom with a 182.2 and was less dominant, with 163 strikeouts.
Scherzer, who won back-to-back Cy Youngs with the Nationals in 2016 and 2017, also faded down the stretch, slowed by back and neck issues that would pop up again during the World Series. He was 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA at the All-Star break, but then made just one start between July 6 and August 22. In five starts in September he had a 5.16 ERA. He finished 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA and 243 strikeouts in 172.1 innings.