Jacob deGrom was named the National League Cy Young Award winner by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America following his spectacular and dominant 2018 campaign. He became the fourth different New York Mets pitcher to win the award, joining Tom Seaver (1696, 1973, 1975), Dwight Gooden (1985), and R.A. Dickey (2012).
deGrom received 29 out of 30 first place votes and handily defeated his competition. He dethroned Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who was vying for his third consecutive Cy Young Award and fourth overall. Scherzer finished with 123 points and came in a distant second, while Philadelphia Phillies ace Aaron Nola ended up in third place.
The 30-year-old deGrom put together a season for the ages and was the best pitcher in baseball in 2018. In his fifth big-league season, he tossed 217.0 innings and posted a league-best 1.70 ERA, 216 ERA+, 1.98 FIP, 8.8 fWAR, and 0.4 HR/9. He finished with a 10.0 bWAR, a 0.912 WHIP, a 32.2% strikeout rate, a 5.5% walk rate, a 6.3 H/9, a 11.2 K/9, and a .194 BAA. He allowed just 41 earned runs while striking out 269 batters and walking 41 in 32 starts.
deGrom managed to set several records that helped him lock up the award. He joined Christy Mathewson (1908) and Pedro Martinez (2000) as the only pitchers to strike out 250 batters, walk less than 50, and finish with a sub-2.00 ERA in a season. He set a major-league record with 24 consecutive quality starts and 29 consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or less.
The right-hander allowed more than three earned runs in just one outing — when he allowed four runs to the Miami Marlins on April 10 — and allowed allowed one or zero runs in 21 of his starts. He completed at least six innings in all but three starts and struck out ten or more batters 11 times. In his final appearance, he two-hit the Atlanta Braves through eight shutout innings and capped off his season by recording his 1,000th career strikeout.
He made it look effortless despite receiving historically low run support. The only knock against him was his win total — he finished the year with a 10-9 record — which can be attributed to the team’s complete inability to score runs when he was on the mound. The Mets’ offense averaged just 3.49 runs-per-game for deGrom this season and scored three runs or fewer 21 times.
In the American League, Blake Snell of the Tampa Bay Rays took home the award, beating out Justin Verlander of the Houston Astros and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians. Snell received 17 out of 30 possible first place votes and edged out Verlander by just 15 points (169 to 154).
With the Cy Young Award announcement in the rearview mirror, the focus will now shift to a potential long-term contract extension. Andy Martino of SNY predicted that talks between deGrom and the Mets could start as soon as next month. deGrom is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season and is projected to receive around $12.9 million in arbitration this season.