A lot of debate has taken place over the past few months regarding how much of a factor wins are in determining the best pitcher in baseball.
People who stand by the statistic’s significance have been criticized for their old-world views, while some of baseball’s younger minds say the win is dead and shows no accurate representation of how good a pitcher is. So, what does Jacob deGrom winning the National League Cy Young Award yesterday tell us?
Simply put, it tells us that he was the best damn pitcher in baseball this year. It wasn’t close either, as he received 29 of 30 first-place votes for the award.
No, the win is not dead. The second-through-fourth place finishers for the award in the NL all had 17 or 18 wins. Blake Snell, the American League’s Cy Young Award winner, led his league with 21 wins. The win is not dead; however, its importance has declined.
Despite winning just 10 games this year (which ranks 22nd in the NL), deGrom had a historic season. Since the mound was lowered in 1969, as a response to Bob Gibson and several other pitchers absolutely dominating the 1968 season, deGrom’s 1.70 ERA is the sixth best to be posted in a single year.
The greatness of his season doesn’t stop at that ERA. deGrom allowed just 10 home runs this year. Only two pitchers in baseball allowed fewer than 10 long balls in at least 25 starts: Trevor Bauer and deGrom’s teammate Noah Syndergaard. However, neither of them pitched more than 175 innings compared to deGrom’s 217.
In an era where starters don’t go as deep into games as they used to, deGrom’s 217 innings placed second not just in the NL, but in all Major League Baseball to Max Scherzer. His 269 strikeouts were second in the NL to Scherzer.
He also became the first pitcher in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to have an ERA of 1.70 or lower, strikeout at least 260 batters while walking fewer than 50, and allow 10 home runs or less.
If all that gets overshadowed by him only having 10 wins, then yeah, your views are old school and out of touch. Wins aren’t dead, but they won’t have the final say in baseball ever again thanks to Jacob deGrom’s amazin’ 2018 campaign.