Back on July 17, my article for Mets360 was entitled “Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer are the mid-season Cy Young favorites.” Today’s piece will explore the possibility that both could win big postseason awards, specifically that deGrom could win the Cy Young award, and that Scherzer could become the first pitcher to win the MVP but not the Cy Young Award.
Both awards are decided by votes from members of the BBWAA, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The Cy Young Award is given to the outstanding pitcher in each league. The main point in deciding the MVP is the actual value of a player to his team based on both offense and defense.
Both deGrom and Scherzer are having outstanding seasons. In FIP deGrom leads the league with 2.29 figure, while Scherzer is third with 2.68. For WHIP Scherzer is first with 0.91, while deGrom is just a whisker behind in second place with 0.97. In ERA deGrom leads the pack with a 1.85 mark, while Scherzer is second with a 2.33 figure. When it comes to wins, Scherzer has 15, putting him first and on track for a 20 win season. Trailing far behind is deGrom with just 5 wins, due of course, to lack of run support from the Mets.
That ERA gap is large, almost half a run a game in deGroms’ favor. The FIP figure also shows a significant difference, again in deGroms’ favor. These two metrics, as well as others, measure the pitching performances without regard to the help from the rest of the team. Since the Cy Young is supposed to go to the outstanding pitcher, the stats independent of wins seem to lean toward deGrom.
The MVP award, though, is based on a players’ value to the team. Scherzer’s big win total demonstrates his value in chalking up wins for the team. He also leads the league in bWAR at 6.8, ahead of all the NL pitchers and position players. So it is certainly possible that Scherzer could be considered the player who accrues the most value to his team in the NL.
More of than not, the MVP has been given to a position player, not a pitcher. However, although plenty of position players are having excellent years this season, nobody is having a completely dominant year. Nobody is having a season like like Bryce Harper had in 2015 when his slash line was .330/.460/.649, and he ran away with the MVP. Freddie Freeman and Nolan Arrendo seem to be the leading candidates among position players for the NL MVP with respective slash lines of .316/.397/.525 and .306/.390/.590.
Of course there are almost two months of the regular season left, and there is the possibility of prolonged slumps or hot streaks for any of the players mentioned that could shake things up. But so far this season, the historical first of one pitcher winning the Cy Young and a different hurler claiming the MVP is at least in play.