In a poll conducted by the good folks at MLB.com, Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals is the leading vote-getter for the NL Cy Young Award over New York Mets starter Jacob deGrom at the two-thirds mark of the 2018 season.
DeGrom, 30, leads the National League in earned-run average (1.85), fielding independent pitching rating (2.28), and wins above replacement (5.4).
Processing this information alone should lead us to believe that deGrom should be far-and-away the leading candidate for the most prestigious hardware an MLB pitcher can attain.
Well, he’s not. DeGrom only has five wins on the season. The Mets have scored a total of 34 runs in his 22 starts this season (146.2 innings).
As Richard Justice notes in the above-linked article, the win-loss record of a pitcher still, clearly, holds some considerable weight among baseball writers. From Justice:
“[…] In an MLB.com poll of the members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Scherzer got 20 out of 27 first-place votes; deGrom got the other seven.”
Scherzer is putting together another outstanding campaign this year, as we’ve become accustomed to seeing from the 34-year-old, three-time Cy Young Award winner.
He’s gone 15-5 in 23 starts this season (154.2 innings) with a 2.33 earned-run average, 2.67 FIP, 3.06 xFIP, and has 5.0 wins above replacement; all solid, if not spectacular, stats.
Scherzer’s got 12.22 strikeouts per nine innings to deGrom’s 10.64. But deGrom has allowed just 2.03 walks per nine to Scherzer’s 2.21.
He has also given up 0.93 homers per nine innings this season and has been notoriously stingy when giving up the long-ball (1.00 HR/9 for his career). Jacob deGrom has allowed 0.49.
The NL Cy Young race shouldn’t be a runaway by any means, but it seems clear that one of these pitchers has been head-and-shoulders more dominant than the other.