In news that should surprise no Reds fan (or baseball fan in general, for that matter), Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer has been named one of three finalists for the 2020 NL Cy Young Award. Bauer is in the running along with Cubs star Yu Darvish and one of the best pitchers on the planet the last several years, Jacob deGrom.
Bauer has previously finished 6th in Cy Young Award voting back in 2018. For the 2020 season, he was pretty much pure filth, his pitch mix, stamina, and durability playing up in the shortened season. His 1.73 ERA led all of baseball while pitching 73.0 innings. His 276 ERA+ and 0.795 WHIP led the National League. He boasted a robust 12.3 strikeout per nine, striking out an even 100 batters while somehow only walking nine. His 2.7 bWAR placed fourth in the NL, tied with Darvish and just a tick better than deGrom.
Darvish, on the other hand, led the National League in fWAR at an even three. He pitched three more innings than Bauer in one more start (12), striking out 11 per nine innings pitched. His 2.23 FIP also led the National League, while he struck out 93 to 14 walks.
deGrom is the reigning champ and is, in fact, looking for his third consecutive piece of hardware. He was his typical dominant self for most of the season, finishing with a 2.38 ERA and 2.26 FIP that trailed only Darvish. His 2.6 fWAR also only trailed Darvish, but came in just 0.1 better than Bauer’s (2.5). deGrom, as typical, led the National League with 104 strikeouts (that’s a 13.76 K/9, if you’re counting) in 68 innings pitched, walking only 18.
So, choose your fighter, baseball fans. I think logical and rational people can disagree on who they think is going to win this one; the margins are pretty thin. All of the rest of us are losers, really, in that we didn’t get to see what these three guys would be able to do over the course of a 162 game regular season (or who may have been able to put up some starts to push any of these guys out of the final three). The sample sizes, especially for pitchers, are extremely small; it’s not a surprise that these three guys were able to be some dominant in just 10-12 starts. That said, it’s also kind of interesting that we don’t have some type of outlier here when it comes to a name, seeing as though it was only 10-12 starts.
If Trevor Bauer were to be named the winner, he’d be the first pitcher in Cincinnati Reds history to win the Cy Young Award which... seems about right for Reds fans. Of course the first winner in franchise history would come in whatever this season was.
The winner will be announced next Wednesday, November 11th.