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Who Should Win the NL Cy Young Award? Our Metrics Indicate a Favorite Emerged

By: Stats Perform

While websites, analysts and fans engage in the rising debate over who should win the NL Cy Young Award, Stats Perform’s leaderboards indicate a clear favorite emerged from the list of several candidates.

Yu Darvish of the Chicago Cubs led the NL in wins (8) and Max Fried of the Atlanta Braves went 7-0. Cincinnati Reds right-hander Trevor Bauer topped the league in ERA (1.73). Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers has arguably been the NL’s best over the past month, going 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA in his last five starts.

The San Diego Padres’ Dinelson Lamet and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw also built strong resumes down the stretch.

According to our metrics, however, it’s a familiar name that rose above the rest. New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom made a push to join Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux as the only pitchers to win three straight Cy Young Awards.

Not only did he post a 2.38 ERA and held opposing hitters to a .190 batting average while striking out 104 over 68 innings, but deGrom also led the majors by a relatively wide margin in Raw Value-, Whiff+and our new Strike+ metric.

In case you missed it, Strike+ measures how much a pitcher generates both swings and misses, and called strikes. So if the batter takes the pitch, we add the called strike probability to the calculation. Like Whiff+, Strike+ is based on the league average pitch type for that season. In deGrom’s case, he has a Strike+ of 122 – an impressive 22% above the league average.

In the AL, we’d give the award to Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians. The right-hander went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA with 122 strikeouts over 77 1/3 innings in 12 starts. He also finished fourth in the majors in RV- and second in both Whiff+ and Strike+.

Here are the final regular-season rankings in each of these pitching categories (pitchers needed to face at least 170 batters to qualify):

RankPitcherTeamRV-
1Jacob deGromMets42
2Trevor BauerReds47
3John MeansOrioles48
4Shane BieberIndians51
5Kenta MaedaTwins52
6Luis CastilloReds57
7Brandon WoodruffBrewers57
8Tyler MahleReds59
9Dinelson LametPadres60
10Yu DarvishCubs61

RankPitcherTeamWhiff+
1Jacob deGromMets172
2Shane BieberIndians151
3Lucas GiolitoWhite Sox145
4Gerrit ColeYankees139
5Tyler GlasnowRays138
6Max ScherzerNationals135
7Kevin GausmanGiants134
8Luis CastilloReds131
9Blake SnellRays130
10Tyler MahleReds129

RankPitcherTeamStrike+
1Jacob deGromMets122
2Shane BieberIndians119
3Aaron NolaPhillies118
4Kevin GausmanGiants118
5Yu DarvishCubs116
6Kyle HendricksCubs115
7Frankie MontasAthletics115
8Kenta MaedaTwins114
9Zack GreinkeAstros114
10Tyler MahleReds114