This is the second of 2 articles to discuss baseball’s annual awards. The Cy Young winners and best managers will be done today. The MVPs and Rookies of the year were done last time.
Cy Young, AL: A few pitchers deserve mention: Charlie Morton had an even better 2018 than his year previous (15 – 3, 201 strikeouts and a 3.13 ERA); Luis Severino weathered the media capital’s pressure ( 19 wins and 220 Ks); Gerrit Cole liked pitching in the AL ( 200 IP, 276 Ks, with a 15 – 5 record); and Corey Kluber had a fine year, as usual (215 IP, 222 Ks, and 20 wins). But I think the award will be a 2-man race: Blake Snell and Justin Verlander (what a surprise, I know). Snell’s resume includes: 31 starts, 180.2 IP, 221 Ks, a 21 – 5 record, ERA 1.89, WHIP o.97, and WAR of 7.5. Verlander’s stats include: 34 starts, 214 IP, 290 Ks with only 37 walks, a 16 – 9 record, ERA 2.52, WHIP 0.90, and WAR of 6.2. To put the debate succinctly: I choose Snell’s margins in Wins, ERA, and WAR over Verlander’s edges in IP, Ks, and WHIP. For me, it’s Blake Snell’s (see below) stats slightly over Verlander’s stats and name recognition.
Cy Young, NL: With apologies to Miles Mikolas, Kyle Freeland, and Mike Foltynewicz who had fine years, the award is a 3 man competition. Jacob deGrom, Aaron Nola, and Max Scherzer (yes, another “surprise”). All 3 had well over 200 IP, 200+ Ks, and great WHIPs. Two had 17-18 wins, and the other pitched for the Mets. Scherzer is third in ERA and WAR. Nola had the best WAR. deGrom had (by far) the finest ERA. My choice For winner is Jacob deGrom (see below). For anyone gasping for air at thar choice, remember 2010 and Felix Hernandez. He pitched for the Seattle Mariners, who had a record of 61 – 101. His record was: 13 – 12, with over 200 IP and Ks, plus a league leading 2.27 ERA and won the Cy Yound Award. Maybe history will repeat itself –a pitcher with few wins, but an outstanding season can win the Cy Young award.
Manager of the Year, AL: In his first year as a Manager, Alex Cora (see below) led the Boston Red Sox to their winningest season ever (108 games). The old franchise record was 105 wins in 1912 when Tris Speaker blasted 10 home runs and Smoky Joe Wood won more games (34) than Walter Johnson. It was a LONG time ago. Mookie Betts and J. D. Martinez had wonderful years. Plus, while Chris Sale was limited to 158 IP, Rick Porcello won 17 instead of losing 17 (2017) and David Price won 16, not 6 (2017). Bean town was happy.
Manager of the Year, NL: For Craig Counsell (see below), it was his fourth year as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers . His wins have gone from 61 to 73, then 86, and, in 2018, 96 including a Playoff victory. He was successful in spite of having only one pitcher with 10 or more wins. He got fine seasons from Jesus Aquilar and newcomers, Lorenzo Cain and Chritian Yelich.
As baseball completes its season and Winter approaches, I’ll leave you with the words of Rogers Hornsby: “People ask me what I do in Winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for Spring.” Ouch. And Merry Christmas to you, too, Mr. Hornsby.