Max Scherzer was a finalist for what would have been his 4th career Cy Young award, but the 35-year-old, 12-year veteran, who won one in Detroit in 2013, and has won two while with the Washington Nationals (2016-’17), finished third in voting for the National League’s 2019 Cy Young, with New York Mets’ right-hander Jacob deGrom taking it for the second year in a row and Los Angeles Dodgers’ lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu finishing in second place.
In a frustrating 2019 regular season, which was interrupted by two stints on the Injured List (for scapulothoracic bursitis and then a mild rhomboid strain), Scherzer still managed to go (11-7) in 27 outings, with a 2.92 ERA, 2.45 FIP, 33 walks (1.72 BB/9), 243 Ks (12.69 K/9), and a .222/.266/.371 line against in 172 1⁄3 innings pitched, over which he was worth 6.5 fWAR.
Scherzer finished ranked first among NL starters in FIP, K/9, and K/BB ratio (7.36), and ended up ranked second in fWAR, third in total strikeouts, fourth in opponents’ OBP, in WHIP (1.03), and in BB/9, was fifth in HR/9 (0.94), sixth in ERA, seventh in opponents’ average, and ninth in opponents’ slugging percentage.
CORRECTION: The vote totals for Hyun-Jin Ryu and Stephen Strasburg have been corrected. Jack Flaherty finishes 4th, Strasburg 5th. pic.twitter.com/HzsApPCOXH— BBWAA (@officialBBWAA) November 14, 2019
deGrom had the second-lowest FIP (2.67), with Ryu fourth (3.10), and the Mets’ right-hander had 255 strikeouts, which were the most among NL starters, while his .205 BAA was fourth-lowest in the NL, ahead of Ryu (15th, .230).
Ryu finished the season with the lowest ERA (2.32) among NL starters, ahead of deGrom (2.43), who was second.
On the MLB Network broadcast announcing deGrom’s second career Cy Young, Scherzer said that the 2019 campaign was a tough one for him.
“It was difficult. It was the first time in my career having to deal with an extended layoff, and just felt like I was battling the whole second half to try to find a way to get healthy and get back into it, and try to find a way to get back on the mound when we were in the playoff hunt, so at the end of the day found a way to do it and found a way to be able to get back to October, and what a run we had.”
That run, of course, ended with a win in the World Series, with Scherzer putting up a 2.40 ERA, 15 walks, 37 Ks, and a .193/.290/.330 line against in six games, five starts, and 30 IP overall in October.
Voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America does, of course, take place at the end of the regular season, so Scherzer’s postseason success didn’t factor in the decision.