Jacob deGrom has gone back-to-back.
The New York Mets ace was named the National League’s Cy Young award winner again on Wednesday after a vote by the Baseball Writers Association of America. In achieving that landmark victory, deGrom becomes just the 11th different pitcher since the Cy Young award was introduced in 1956 to win it in consecutive seasons. Roger Clemens won it in consecutive years twice during his career.
The last back-to-back winner was Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Scherzer and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Los Angeles Dodgers were the other two finalists for this season’s award.
For the second straight season, deGrom also received 29 of 30 first-place votes. Ryu received the other and finished second in the voting.
It’s the seventh time a New York Mets pitcher has won the award. In addition to deGrom’s win last season, Tom Seaver (1969, 1973, 1975), Dwight Gooden (1985) and R.A. Dickey (2012) have also won.
Despite deGrom’s dominance in the voting, the field seemed to be much deeper this season with Ryu and Walker Buehler from the Dodgers, Scherzer and his Nationals teammate Stephen Strasburg, along with Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals and Mike Soroka of the Atlanta Braves, all putting together excellent seasons. Yet deGrom again managed to stand out despite playing on a non-contending team.
DeGrom started the season slow, posting a 4.85 ERA in April. From May 21 on, he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball not named Gerrit Cole. DeGrom led MLB with a 1.89 ERA over his final 23 starts and finished with a 2.43 ERA overall, second only to Ryu’s 2.32. His 255 strikeouts and a 0.97 WHIP were tops in the NL.
What separated deGrom from the other finalists this season was his durability. While Strasburg and Ryu missed time down the stretch with injuries, deGrom was seemingly getting better and stronger. Ryu was limited to 29 starts, while Scherzer made just 27 after battling reoccurring back and neck issues. Both pitchers were brilliant when healthy and may have pushed deGrom with completely healthy seasons.
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