This was a surprise.
No, not Jacob deGrom winning the NL Cy Young Award on Wednesday. It was that the voting was not even close. He won the award over Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer in a landslide by receiving 29 first-place votes and 207 points by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He was a vote away from getting all 30 first-place votes.
It showed right there what an excellent season deGrom had for him to win it without a contest despite Scherzer winning 18 games. It was refreshing to see wins were not going to be a factor in this award this year. The writers knew the Mets ace could not have done anything about lack of run support or his bullpen blowing games.
This was about common sense when it came to voting. The best man won this award. deGrom led the majors with a 1.70 ERA, and he had a string of 29 consecutive starts of allowing three earned runs or less and it’s still counting. That stands out more than him being second in innings pitched (217), strikeouts (269) and WHIP (0.91), which is what Scherzer boosters were promoting for the Nationals ace’s cause. It certainly stands out more than Scherzer’s 18 wins.
It probably was a good thing Scherzer did not reach 20 wins or else writers may have a different tune about it and some people would be crying foul. Thankfully, logic prevailed here.
From the eye test itself, deGrom was the best pitcher in baseball this season. We can talk about wins, but that can be clouded since a pitcher can benefit from run support like Scherzer did for the Nationals all season long. If deGrom had run support, he wins 21 games this year.
This award should be a celebration of what he has accomplished in his career. The first-time Cy Young Award winner has always been a good pitcher these last few years. He has been the best kept secret with the Mets and in baseball. By winning this award, the baseball world knows who he is.
The Mets stopper does not get much attention because he is not a self-promoter like Matt Harvey was with the Mets. He is not a guy that is going to be ever in Page Six of the New York Post when it comes to nightlife. In a way, he is like us, which he goes to work and go home. He has such a bland personality that no one notices about him.
The Mets star is such a good teammate. No one could have blamed him for trashing his teammates for wasting his effort. It’s human nature, but this speaks more about him. He was a team-first guy, and he knew it would be counterproductive knowing these guys have been pressing to hit just to give him run support this season. It’s why he is a favorite and well-respected in his own clubhouse. It’s why so many Mets made it a point to congratulate him on Twitter or Snapchat.
For who deGrom is and what he has accomplished in Major League Baseball, no one can blame Mets fans for being invested in him winning the Cy Young despite their team being awful this season. He was the only reason to be engaged with the Mets this season when it was his day to pitch. Jacob deGrom Day was always special day every fifth day of the baseball season.
New York sports has been a cesspool for another season. It has become a way of life. There’s nothing remotely interesting about the teams that play here. The Devils and Taylor Hall put on a good show this past season, but they did not capture the fans’ imagination. Hockey doesn’t here.
It was deGrom that had everyone’s attention in town this year. Not even Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar did that. In a way, the first time Cy Young Award winner should be New York’s Sportsman of the Year. He was the only one that shined in New York sports this season.
Of all the guys that know how to win in this town, it’s deGrom. He has won playoff games for the Mets, most notably Game 5 of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015, which he did not even have his best stuff, but battled through it.
He has been such a good story for the Mets. He was not even hyped like Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler were. He was drafted in the ninth round of the 2010 draft. No one thought he would do much. Shoot, the Mets projected him as a reliever.
It turns out he has had the best career compared to Harvey, Syndergaard, Matz and Wheeler when understanding he has been so consistent and durable over the years.
In a way, this Cy Young Award is a lifetime achievement award for deGrom. It’s not only just about what he did this season, but what he has done since entering the Major Leagues in 2014.
Somehow, he is going to have more Cy Young Awards in his showcase before his career is over.