The Oakland A’s starting rotation was their primary strength in 2021, and the group got some national recognition this week.
The Cy Young Awards were announced on Wednesday, and two A’s pitchers received votes in the American League. Frankie Montas finished in sixth place, and Chris Bassitt landed in 10th place, among a dozen names who appeared on at least one ballot. Oakland was one of just three AL teams to have multiple players get Cy votes, along with the White Sox and Blue Jays.
The AL winner came out of Toronto, as Robbie Ray was a nearly unanimous choice for the honor. The Blue Jays lefty got first-place votes on 29 of 30 ballots, after leading the league in ERA (2.84), innings (193⅓), and strikeouts (248, which also led all of MLB). In the NL, Corbin Burnes of the Brewers won a tight race over two other strong candidates, with nobody getting a majority of first-place votes.
Here are the voting tallies for each league, and you can click the header links to see the full ballot breakdowns.
- LHP Robbie Ray, TOR (207 points, 29 firsts)
- RHP Gerrit Cole, NYY (123 points, 1 first)
- RHP Lance Lynn, CHW (48 points)
- RHP Nathan Eovaldi, BOS (41 points)
- LHP Carlos Rodon, CHW (34 points)
- RHP Frankie Montas, OAK (21 points)
- RHP Lance McCullers, HOU (14 points)
- RHP Liam Hendriks, CHW (10 points)
- RHP Jose Berrios, MIN/TOR (8 points)
- RHP Chris Bassitt, OAK (2 points)
- RHP Lucas Giolito, CHW (1 point)
- RHP Raisel Iglesias, LAA (1 point)
- RHP Corbin Burnes, MIL (151 points, 12 firsts)
- RHP Zack Wheeler, PHI (141 points, 12 firsts)
- RHP Max Scherzer, WAS/LAD (113 points, 6 firsts)
- RHP Walker Buehler, LAD (70 points)
- RHP Brandon Woodruff, MIL (21 points)
- RHP Kevin Gausman, SFG (7 points)
- RHP Adam Wainwright, STL (3 points)
- LHP Julio Urias, LAD (3 points)
- RHP Jacob deGrom, NYM (1 point)
Each voter listed five names on their ballot, ranked from first through fifth. Montas was selected on 11 of 30 ballots, receiving two third-place nods, six fourths, and three fifths, for a total of 21 points. His pair of thirds came from one local writer (Matt Kawahara, S.F. Chronicle) and one Toronto writer, while two of his fourths came from national writers Alyson Footer and Jon Morosi.
The right-hander earned that support with an excellent season, returning to the budding ace form he’d flashed in early 2019. His mediocre first half of the summer kept him out of contention to win this award, but he heated up in July and performed phenomenally the rest of the year. He would have had a case as the Second-Half Cy Young if such a thing existed, doing everything he could to carry the A’s beleaguered pitching staff down the stretch.
- Montas: 3.37 ERA, 187 innings, 207 Ks, 57 BB, 20 HR, 3.37 FIP, .304 xwOBA
Those 207 strikeouts are the second-most in Oakland history, and 10th in A’s franchise history.
As for Bassitt, he showed up on two ballots, as one Orioles writer and one Angels writer each put him in fifth place. He surely would have gone much higher if his season hadn’t been interrupted in mid-August by a fluke injury that cost him over a month of action, and the fact that he still got a couple votes anyway is a testament to how great of a campaign he was having. It’s not out of the question that he could have competed to win this award if he’d stayed healthy and finished strong.
- Bassitt: 3.15 ERA, 157⅓ ip, 159 Ks, 39 BB, 15 HR, 3.34 FIP, .286 xwOBA
Along the way, the right-hander earned his first career All-Star berth.
This is the second year in a row that Bassitt has gotten Cy votes. In 2020 he placed eighth, alongside then-teammate Liam Hendriks in ninth place. Before that, the last A’s pitcher to get Cy votes was Blake Treinen, who finished tied for sixth in 2018, and their last winner was Barry Zito in 2002. Since Zito’s victory, the other A’s to get votes are Tim Hudson (2003), Keith Foulke (2003), Trevor Cahill (2010), Bartolo Colon (2013), Sonny Gray (2015), Treinen (2018), Hendriks (2020), Bassitt (2020-21), and Montas (2021), with 2015 Sonny faring the best in a third-place finish.
Congrats to Montas and Bassitt on their well-earned recognition!
Robbie Ray had a 6.62 ERA in 2020— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) November 17, 2021
That is the highest ERA for a pitcher in the season prior to winning Cy Young
Prior highest: 2007 Cliff Lee, 6.29 -- won ‘08 CYA
BASEBALL IS THE BEST. TURNAROUNDS ARE AMAZING!