MLB awards week continues! On Monday we got the Rookie of the Year awards, followed on Tuesday by the Manager of the Year honors. Wednesday brought an even bigger one, with the Cy Young awards for pitchers.
The winner in the American League was Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians, by a unanimous vote. All 30 ballots listed the right-hander as their 1st-place choice, just the 10th time an AL pitcher has achieved that sweep (most recently Justin Verlander in 2011; the NL has done it 14 times). The emphatic nod was well-earned, as Bieber led the majors in ERA (1.63), FIP (2.07), and strikeouts (122, in 77⅓ innings), as well as wins for what that’s worth (8-1 record).
In the National League, Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds was the runaway winner, showing up 1st on 27-of-30 ballots. He’s the first Reds pitcher ever to earn the Cy Young, after five runner-up finishes for the franchise, most recently by Johnny Cueto in 2014. Bauer led the NL in ERA (1.73), backed it up with a strong FIP (2.88), struck out a 100 batters in 73 innings (with nearly 6 Ks per walk), and tossed two shutouts among his 11 starts (albeit both in 7-inning doubleheader games). The right-hander is now considered arguably the biggest free agent on this offseason’s market.
Here are the Top 5 finishers in each league, and you can click the header links to see the full results.
- RHP Shane Bieber, CLE (210 points)
- RHP Kenta Maeda, MIN (92 points)
- LHP Hyun-jin Ryu, TOR (51 points)
- RHP Gerrit Cole, NYY (50 points)
- LHP Dallas Keuchel, CHW (46 points)
- RHP Trevor Bauer, CIN (201 points)
- RHP Yu Darvish, CHC (123 points)
- RHP Jacob deGrom, NYM (89 points)
- RHP Dinelson Lamet, SDP (57 points)
- LHP Max Fried, ATL (15 points)
As for the Oakland A’s, two of their pitchers factored into the AL voting.
Starter Chris Bassitt finished in eighth place, notching a total of 10 points in the voting. He showed up on five ballots, including a pair of 3rd-place nods by a Baltimore writer and Richard Justice of MLB’s site. He was named 4th by local insider Martin Gallegos, and fifth by writers in Houston and New York.
It’s a worthy acknowledgement of Bassitt’s breakout season. He wasn’t seriously in consideration to win this Cy, especially up against Bieber’s dominance, but he absolutely deserved to get some votes and the results look just about right. Even making just five ballots means his Baseball-Reference page will forever have a CYA-8 notation next to his excellent 2020 campaign — and that doesn’t even include his legendary playoff performance against the White Sox.
Bassitt: 2.29 ERA, 63 ip, 55 Ks, 17 BB, 6 HR, 3.59 FIP, .288 xwOBA
While he fell short of the overall season award, Bassitt did at least get one piece of hardware this summer, in the form of the AL Pitcher of the Month for September.
Meanwhile, another A’s hurler appeared in the Cy results, as closer Liam Hendriks tied for ninth place with five points. He got there with a 4th-place nod from local expert Melissa Lockard of The Athletic, and 5ths from Gallegos and writers from Kansas City and Minnesota (two of Hendriks’ former teams!). Dylan Bundy of the Angels also got five points, including a 3rd-place vote, so I’d give him the tiebreaker and consider Hendriks in 10th place (but the official record will show CYA-9 for both of them).
While Hendriks’ overall finish is low on the list, he was the only AL reliever to get any votes at all. It’s not news that he’s the best bullpen arm in the league, as he also won the AL Reliever of the Year award, but being the only reliever to make the cut amid a group of starters adds an exclamation point to his amazing season.
Hendriks, 2020: 1.78 ERA, 25⅓ ip, 37 Ks, 3 BB, 1 HR, 1.14 FIP, .227 xwOBA, 14-for-15 saves
In the NL, the only reliever to get votes was also their Reliever of the Year winner, Devin Williams of the Brewers. The only other AL team to have two pitchers receive votes was the White Sox, with Lucas Giolito joining Keuchel. In the NL, the Cubs, Brewers, and Phillies each had two pitchers get mentions.
The last A’s pitcher to get Cy votes was their previous closer, Blake Treinen, who finished tied for sixth in 2018. Their last winner was Barry Zito in 2002. Since then, the only A’s to get any votes are Tim Hudson (2003), Keith Foulke (2003), Trevor Cahill (2010), Bartolo Colon (2013), Sonny Gray (2015), Treinen, and now Bassitt and Hendriks, with Sonny faring the best in a third-place finish.
Congrats to Bassitt and Hendriks on well-earned Cy votes!
Thanks for votes in the non competitive Cy Young race. I simply want to say thank you to all coaches, trainers, and therapists (mental and physical)... all former and current. Y’all rarely get credit for the successes on the field. I appreciate you all and your sacrifices.— Chris Bassitt (@C_Bass419) November 12, 2020