Jacob deGrom Claims National League Cy Young Award

Image credit: Jacob deGrom (Photo by Tom DiPace)

Jacob deGrom’s transformation from light-hitting college shortstop to Major League ace has reached its pinnacle.

deGrom was named the National League’s Cy Young Award winner on Wednesday evening, earning 29 of 30 first-place votes from the Baseball Writer’s Association of America.

Nationals righthander Max Scherzer, the two-time defending NL Cy Young, winner came in second place and Phillies righthander Aaron Nola finished third.

deGrom, 30, had a banner year as noticeable for his team’s incompetence as his own dominance. He led the majors with a 1.70 ERA and struck out 269 batters with just 46 walks in 217 innings, joining Pedro Martinez (2000) as the only players with a sub-2.00 ERA, at least 250 strikeouts and less than 50 walks in a season.

deGrom set a single-season record with 24 consecutive quality starts, including a stretch of 11 straight starts from April to June where he allowed no more than one earned run.

But because of the Mets’ offensive ineptitude, deGrom went just 10-9, giving him the fewest wins of any starter to ever win a Cy Young Award. The Mets averaged just 3.53 runs per game in deGrom’s starts, second-fewest in the majors.

Still, that wasn’t held against him. deGrom finished one vote shy of becoming just the 12th unanimous NL Cy Young winner in history, and the first since Clayton Kershaw in 2014.

Unlike Scherzer and Nola, who were first-round picks from prominent college programs, deGrom’s pedigree is far from usual. He came from a mid-major program at Stetson, was originally a shortstop who only transitioned to pitching as a junior, and was drafted in all the way down in the ninth round in 2010. He was further set back by Tommy John surgery that cost him the entire 2011 season.

But deGrom conquered four levels of the minor leagues in just two seasons when he returned, and won the NL Rookie of the Year award in 2014 upon his MLB debut. Now, he has a Cy Young to add to his mantlepiece.

Scherzer, 34, went 18-7, 2.53 and led the majors with 300 strikeouts in his bid for a third straight NL Cy Young Award. He also led the majors in innings pitched (220.2), as well as the NL in WHIP (0.911) and hits allowed per nine innings (6.1).

Nola, 25, went 17-6, 2.37 in an ascendant season. He made his first All-Star Game and finished second in the NL only to deGrom in ERA.

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