Tag Archives: Cy Young Award

Phillies young ace Aaron Nola named as a Cy Young Award finalist

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Phillies young ace Aaron Nola named a Cy Young Award finalist for first time

Major League Baseball announced the finalists for its 2018 major awards today, and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola was named as one of the three finalists for the National League Cy Young Award.

The 25-year-old Nola enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Phillies this past season. Becoming the team’s ace, the young right-hander went 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA, 0.975 WHIP, 175 ERA+, and 3.01 FIP.
Nola allowed only 149 hits this year in 212.1 innings across 33 starts with a 224/58 K:BB ratio. His 10.5 WAR mark was the best by any pitcher in the game and the second-highest in all of baseball, just ahead of Mike Trout and just behind Mookie Betts.
The other finalists announced for the award were Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals and Jacob deGrom of the New York Mets.
Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA, 0.911 WHIP, 168 ERA+, and 2.65 FIP. Over 33 starts the 34-year-old allowed 150 hits in 220.2 innings pitched with a 300/51 K:BB ratio and 8.8 WAR mark.
The right-hander already has three Cy Young Awards on his mantle at home. Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award with Detroit in 2014 before taking home the honors for the National League in each of the last two seasons with Washington.
The 30-year-old deGrom went 10-9 with a 1.70 ERA, 0.912 WHIP, 216 ERA+, and a 1.98 FIP. He yielded 152 hits across 217 innings over 32 starts with a 269/46 K:BB ratio and 9.6 WAR mark.
A two-time NL All-Star, deGrom was the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year. The righty finished seventh in 2015 and eighth a year ago in previous NL Cy Young Award voting results.

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.@AaronNola027 finished this season 17-6 with a 2.37 ERA and 224 strikeouts over his 33 starts.

Thank you, Ace, for one heck of a 2018!

This was easily the Phillies finest performance from a starting pitcher since Cliff Lee put together his last great season in 2013. In fact, Vince Velasquez in 2015 and Jeremy Hellickson in both 2016 and 2017 are the only Phillies starting pitchers besides Nola to finish with a winning season since that time.

After the Phillies had defeated the Nationals back on August 23 with Nola out-dueling Scherzer by tossing eight shutout frames, manager Gabe Kapler threw his support behind his own hurler for the honors. Matt Breen at Philly.com quoted the skipper following that game:

“Nola in my opinion is the Cy Young this year. Of course, Nola is our guy. But I watch him every time out there and just the dependability, the consistency, the creativity, the numbers. The numbers speak for themselves.”

An examination of some of those key “numbers” at the end of the season, stats that the voters will surely use to make their final selection, you can see that Nola may not be favored or expected to actually win the award.
However, that the Phillies now have such a young, legitimate ace to front their staff is encouraging. It will now be management’s job to bring in or develop another big arm or two in order to further enhance the team’s ability to rise to contending status.
Four pitchers have won the NL Cy Young Award while wearing a Phillies uniform. Right-handers John Denny (1983), Steve Bedrosian (1987), and Roy Halladay (2010) all took home the honors. Lefty Steve Carlton (1972, 1977, 1980, 1982) won the award four times during his Hall of Fame career.
The winners of the 2018 Cy Young awards in both the National and American Leagues will be announced on November 14 at 6:00PM EST.

Originally published at Phillies Nation as “Aaron Nola named as a finalist for National League Cy Young Award

Rick Porcello turnaround could help Bosox pull away

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Rick Porcello helping the Bosox take charge in AL East

As late as June 2, the Boston Red Sox were just four games over the .500 mark. At that point, the team sat in third place in the AL East race, three games behind the arch-rival New York Yankees.

Flash forward a little more than seven weeks, and the Bosox have taken charge. They went 26-19 to flip the standings position, now leading the Yanks by 3.5 after the games of Saturday, July 22.
For the second straight season, Boston has an AL Cy Young Award front-runner. This time around, that top starting pitcher is lefty Chris Sale.
But last season’s top starter has struggled for much of the 2017 season. Rick Porcello won the 2016 AL Cy Young Award following the best season by far of his then eight-year big league career.
Porcello went 22-4 a year ago with a 3.15 ERA and 1.009 WHIP. He allowed just 193 hits over 223 innings with a 189/32 K:BB ratio.
Flash forward to this season, and Porcello’s numbers are nowhere near that level. The 28-year old righty has gone 4-12 with a 4.60 ERA and 1.436 WHIP. He has allowed 156 hits over 125.1 innings with a 115/24 K:BB mark.
Porcello has regressed to the type of pitcher he had been in his first seven seasons. That would be a nice, reliable, mid-rotation innings eater as opposed to a top of the rotation ace-caliber starter.
However, his recent starts have begun to signal what could be a turnaround towards numbers closer in line to last season.

Over his last five outings, Porcello has a 3.31 ERA. He has allowed just 32 hits over 32.2 innings with a 30/6 K:BB ratio. He also has just a .252 Batting Average Against in that period. Over a full season, that would be his second best mark, behind only last year’s Cy-winning campaign.
Boston skipper John Farrell was asked recently whether he thought that Porcello was regaining last year’s form.
“Oh yeah,” said Farrell, per Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. “And you see it in his body language, the rhythm and pace he establishes in the game. All the while knowing he’s been pitching while, let’s face it, 50 percent of the time there have been zeroes on the board when he’s been on the mound. I think he’s done a very good job of pitching independent of that and just executing to the best of his ability.”
David Price returned from the Disabled List on May 29 and was increasingly looking like his own old, dominant self. That is, until he was roped around by the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. That should ultimately prove a blip on the veteran left-hander’s pitching ledger.
Sale is dominating. Price is back in top form. Lefty Drew Pomeranz has been strong. Last week, lefty Eduardo Rodriguez returned to the rotation and provided an encouraging outing.
If these last handful of starts are more indicative of what Boston can expect from Porcello from here on out, the Red Sox just might begin to run away with the division. It would also give the team a trio of strong, seasoned starters come the postseason.

C.C. Sabathia On His Last Legs in the Bronx

At 7:10pm on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field, the New York Yankees will send their veteran 36-year old left-hander to the mound.
CC Sabathia will be trying to help the club to its first victory of the nascent 2017 season. The host Tampa Bay Rays ripped the Yanks by a 7-3 final in Sunday’s season opener. For Sabathia, this will be his 17th season in Major League Baseball.
The first-round pick at 20th overall in the 1998 MLB Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians, he spent most of his first eight seasons with the Tribe. He was a three-time AL All-Star with Cleveland. In his final full season there, Sabathia won the AL Cy Young Award.
Sabathia was dealt to the Milwaukee Brewers at the 2008 trade deadline and helped the Brew Crew to an NL Wild Card berth.
Following that ’08 season, Sabathia signed a huge nine-year, $202 million free agent contract with the Yankees. His first season in the Big Apple resulted in the Yankees winning the World Series. Sabathia finished fourth in the Cy Young voting.
In each of the subsequent two seasons, Sabathia again finished within the top four of the AL Cy Young race. He was an AL All-Star each year from 2010-12.

SABATHIA BEGINS TO SLIP

It was the following year that his performance really began to slip. Sabathia made his 32 starts and tossed 211 innings in 2013. It was the seventh consecutive season that he passed the 200 IP mark.
At that point in his career, Sabathia had thrown at least 180 innings in each of his 13 seasons in the big leagues. It would also prove to be the final time, at least to date.
Eight starts into his 2014 campaign, Sabathia was done for the year. He was diagnosed with a degenerative knee condition.
Sabathia was able to return, but his last two seasons have shown him to be a shell of his former self. Over 59 starts, he has allowed 360 hits in 347 innings with a 289/115 K:BB ratio. He has also given up 50 home runs over the two seasons.
This year, Sabathia is slotted into the #2 spot in the Yanks’ rotation to begin the season behind Masahiro Tanaka. Following those two, the Yankees rotation is full of unproven kids and major question marks.
For the Yankees to do anything this season, Sabathia needs to be effective over 30+ starts. This is the final year of that big contract, likely his final season in pinstripes.
What can the Yankees hope for, reasonably? If Sabathia can give them 180 innings, keep his ERA around the 4.00 mark, and allow fewer than 20 homers, it’s a win.
Actually getting that production may be difficult. His knee could go at any time, with his age and size as increasingly relevant factors. Once again, and for a final time, Sabathia is in the Yankees rotation. The big question remains, can he make it a memorable last hurrah?

Cy Young Award Should Be for Starting Pitchers Only

Each year that an MLB reliever has a dominating season there are discussions as to his Cy Young Award worthiness, and baseball should finally resolve the issue.

The Cy Young Award, emblematic of the best pitchers in MLB during each season, has been awarded since the 1956 season.
For the first decade of the award’s existence, from 1956-66, there was one honoree for all of baseball. Beginning in the 1967 season, a Cy Young Award was bestowed on the top pitcher in each league.
The award has been given out in every year since its debut, including for the 1994 season that was canceled halfway through due to the strike.
The first true relief pitcher to win the award was Mike Marshall of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974. Marshall won 15 games and saved 21 to take the NL honors that season. Three years later, Sparky Lyle of the New York Yankees became the first relief pitcher in the American League to win the honor with 13 wins and 26 saves.

Over its history there have now been five National Leaguers and four in the American League to win the Cy Young Award out of the bullpen.

Each time it happens, and in other years when a relief pitcher had a great season and came up against tough starting pitching competition, the issue is debated. Should a relief pitcher be allowed to win the Cy Young Award?
I say no.
That is nothing against relief pitchers. They have a difficult, pivotal job. But let’s face it, despite what folks like Brian Kenney with MLB Network would like, at present there are two different pitching roles in baseball: starter and reliever.
The starting pitcher has a completely different role than the relief pitcher in the vast majority of cases. Not harder, just different.
The two roles take different skill sets, make different physical demands on pitchers, require different mindsets.
For me, the Cy Young Award should go to the top starting pitcher each season. There should be an equally important and respected award for relief pitchers. Those awards actually now do exist.
Major League Baseball began presenting a Mariano Rivera Award to the best relief pitcher in the American League and a Trevor Hoffman Award to the best relief pitcher in the National League beginning in 2014.
The simple solution is to present the Rivera and Hoffman Awards at the same general time that the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and other major awards are announced.
This year, Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers and Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles were awarded the Hoffman and Rivera honors, respectively.
In my 2016 IBWAA Awards ballot, I also chose Jansen and Britton as the top reliever in each league. My Cy Young vote went to Max Scherzer in the NL, and to Corey Kluber in the AL.
That is the way it should be, with the game’s best starting pitchers battling it out for the Cy Young Award. To me, it’s simple. What do you think?

IBWAA 2016 Major League Baseball Awards Ballot

It is MLB awards season, and as Major League Baseball hands out its formal honors, the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America will do the same.

With the 2016 MLB season winding to a close, various individuals and groups, including myself and the full body of the IBWAA (Internet Baseball Writers Association of America) will be honoring players and coaches as award winners for their performances this year.
The IBWAA was founded on the 4th of July back in 2009 “to organize and promote the growing online baseball media, and to serve as a digital alternative to the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA)” per the home website.
At the end of each regular season, the IBWAA membership receives an awards ballot. Each writer is then asked to vote and return the ballots promptly.
These ballots are then tabulated, and MLB awards winners are determined. The IBWAA is scheduled to begin announcing the winners of its writer balloting in mid-November.
MLB has already begun the process of announcing some its awards winners. For instance, David Ortiz in the AL and Kris Bryant in the NL have been honored with the Hank Aaron Award as the top hitter in each league this season.
Each year, I publicly release my vote. I do this so that any followers get a sense of what I am thinking as far as the game is concerned, but also to spur conversation on our great game of baseball.
I am quite sure that in at least a couple of these selections, you would choose differently. Would love to hear your choices for each of the awards. Feel free to leave a comment with those selections.
So now, on to my ballot. As writers we were asked to provide a Top 10 in each league MVP vote, a Top 5 in the Cy Young Award balloting, and Top 3 in each of the Top Manager, Top Reliever, and Rookie of the Year categories.