With just over a month left in the season, the race for the National League Cy Young Award isn’t just heating up, it’s white hot.
All three realistic contenders pitched on Thursday afternoon, giving us an even clearer look at this close-as-one-can-remember race.
As we turn down the home stretch of the 2018 season, let’s take an in-depth look at the seasons these three aces have has thus far.
In 26 starts for the New York Mets this season, deGrom has a 1.71 earned-run average and a 5.67 strikeouts-to-walks ratio despite owning an 8-8 win-loss record.
As per Fangraphs, the Mets 30-year-old right-hander leads the National League in earned-run average (1.71), wins above replacement (6.9), FIP (2.07), home runs per nine innings (0.41), and is second in xFIP (2.72) to Arizona’s Patrick Corbin (2.62).
DeGrom is second in the league in strikeouts (214) as well as in innings pitched (174). His 11.07 strikeouts per nine innings rank second in the league and his 2.07 walks per nine rank fourth.
As per Baseball Reference, Jacob deGrom also leads the NL in Adjusted ERA+ (216).
We’ve become accustomed to seeing this type of productivity from Max Scherzer (three-time Cy Young award winner including 2016 and 2017 with the Nationals).
This season has been no different. In 181.2 innings (leads MLB), the 34-year-old owns a 2.13 earned-run average (tied for second in NL), a 2.63 FIP (third in the league behind Corbin and deGrom), is third in the NL with his 3.04 xFIP, and is second in the league in fWAR (6.0).
He’s allowed 0.89 home runs per nine innings, good for 12th in the league, but leads the NL in strikeouts per nine with 12.09, has the seventh-best walks per nine mark in the league (2.23), and he’s also setting the pace with his 16 wins and his 200 Adjusted ERA+ ranks second behind deGrom.
The Phillies 25-year-old righty is having a breakout season in the city of brotherly love. Through his first 26 starts this year, he owns a 2.13 earned-run average (third in the league behind Scherzer and deGrom), is tied for second in the league in wins with 15, and his 196 ERA+ is good for third in the NL.
Nola has the fourth-best FIP in the league, coming in at 2.66, behind Scherzer, Corbin, and deGrom. His 3.29 xFIP ranks seventh, and his 5.4 fWAR places him third behind Scherzer and deGrom.
His 9.00 strikeouts per nine ranks 11th while his and 2.40 walks per nine is tied for ninth in the league, and his 169 innings are good for third in the NL. Nola’s 0.43 home runs allowed per nine ranks second, only behind deGrom. The one distinct advantage Nola has is bWAR, he leads all pitchers at 8.9 while Scherzer is second with 8.0 and deGrom comes up third with 7.5 bWAR.
How it Stands
With just over five weeks remaining in the season, it’s clear that Aaron Nola, naturally taking into account just how wonderful his year has been, is trailing both Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom at this point in the race.
As to whom stands out between Mad Max and Jake with so much time remaining, this writer would have to side with deGrom, based simply on how dominant he’s been in nearly every category across the board.
Might I be biased? I could be. But the stats don’t lie, folks. If the season ended today, I’d have deGrom, Scherzer, and Nola as my respective win, place, and show picks.
Until next time!