Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Let's get this out of the way first...
Mets ace Jacob deGrom has six wins. Nationals ace Max Scherzer has 15 wins. It doesn't matter.
The won/loss stat for pitchers, which is almost completely useless, should have zero bearing on who wins the Cy Young Award. It's team-dependent. It's archaic. It doesn't tell us anything about the performance of the pitcher it's attached to. It should go the way of the Dodo bird.
Now, using numbers that actually matter, here's Jacob deGrom's Cy Young Award case
- DeGrom's 1.77 ERA is the best in baseball, a good deal better than Scherzer's 2.28 ERA.
- DeGrom's 2.20 FIP is the best in the NL and second-best in baseball, trailing only Chris Sale of the Red Sox. The stat measures effectiveness at preventing home runs, walks, hits by pitches, and generating strikeouts. Scherzer's FIP is 2.72.
- DeGrom has a 212 ERA+. The stat measures ERA adjusted to the park the pitcher is in. Scherzer's ERA+ is 186.
- DeGrom has allowed eight homers this season, which is the second-lowest rate (0.47 HR/9) in baseball. Scherzer has allowed 17 homers.
- DeGrom's 5.8 fWAR is the best in baseball.
- DeGrom's 25.1 percent soft hit percentage is the third-lowest in baseball.
- The soft hit percentage above doesn't really mesh with deGrom's BABIP. It's .277, while Scherzer's is .249, suggesting deGrom has been a bit unlucky on balls that have been put in play.
- DeGrom has been so precise that he has thrown zero wild pitches this season. Scherzer has thrown four.
Here are the numbers in Scherzer's favor
- Scherzer's 0.90 WHIP is the third-best in baseball, a bit ahead of deGrom, whose 0.96 WHIP is the fifth-best.
- Scherzer's 216 strikeouts lead baseball, while deGrom's 183 strikeouts are tied for sixth-most in baseball. Scherzer's K/9 is 12.0, while deGrom's is 10.8.
- Scherzer has thrown slightly more innings -- 161.2 in 24 starts to deGrom's 152.1 in 23 starts.
Here is what should happen
If the above trends hold, deGrom should win the Cy Young Award.
No voter will let Scherzer's one additional start (if that's the way things end up) tip the scales in his favor. Perhaps some will take in to account the small WHIP gap, and some will be seduced by Scherzer's strikeouts (though his K rate has been dipping a bit lately).
But the totality of what deGrom is doing far outweighs him being behind Scherzer by a relatively small margin in terms of WHIP and a slightly bigger margin in terms of strikeouts.
Simply put, Jacob deGrom is having a season for the ages while Scherzer is not.
Some voters might look at deGrom's won/loss record and use it as a reason to not vote for him ahead of Scherzer. They shouldn't. Some voters might look at where the Mets are in the standings compared to Scherzer's Nationals and use that to knock deGrom down. They shouldn't.
In the grand scheme of things, these awards don't matter much. But if we are using them to determine who the best pitcher in baseball is during any given season, the answer in 2018 is simple: Jacob deGrom.