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Aaron Nola Finishes 3rd in National League Cy Young Award Race

By Matt Rappa, Sports Talk Philly editor

For the sixth time in New York Mets history, one of its pitchers earned National League Cy Young Award honors — right-hander Jacob deGrom.

In the process, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola — who won 17 of his 23 decisions with a career-best 2.37 ERA, 224 strikeouts, 212 1/3 innings and 0.975 WHIP, among other categories — fell short of earning the top pitching honor.

DeGrom received 29 out of 30 possible first-place votes (207 points overall), according to the Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA)'s Wednesday announcement. Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer received 29 second place votes (123 points), while Nola received 27 third place votes (86 points). DeGrom, Scherzer and Nola were the only players listed on every ballot.

Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Points
Jacob deGrom, Mets 29 1       207
Max Scherzer, Nationals 1 29       123
Aaron Nola, Phillies     27 2 1 86
Kyle Freeland, Rockies     2 17 9 49
Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks       7 9 23
Miles Mikolas, Cardinals     1 1 8 13
Josh Hader, Brewers       1 2 4
Mike Foltynewicz, Braves       1 1 3
Jon Lester, Cubs       1   2

According to the BBWAA, deGrom's 10 wins is the fewest ever by a Cy Young Award-winning starting pitcher, breaking Felix Hernandez's previous record of 13, set with the Seattle Mariners in 2010. DeGrom's 1.70 ERA led the majors, which was the main contributor to his landslide victory over Scherzer (2.53) and Nola (2.37).

The BBWAA writes:

The Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela was also a 13-game winner in the NL in 1981, but that season was shortened by nearly a third due to a players’ strike. The previous lowest victory total for a Cy Young winner in the NL was the Giants’ Tim Lincecum, who was 15-7 in 2009.

DeGrom also had fewer victories than two relievers who won Cy Young Awards – Mike Marshall, the 1974 NL winner who was 15-12 for the Dodgers, and Sparky Lyle, the 1977 AL winner who was 13-5 for the Yankees. The lowest victory total for any Cy Young Award winner was Dodgers closer Eric Gagne, who had a 2-3 record in 2003.

Nola failed to receive any first or second-place votes. All but three of the 30 overall voters granted Nola a third-place vote: MLB.com's Thomas Harding, The Sports Xchange's Andrew Wagner, and the San Diego Union-Tribune's John Maffei. 

Two voting writers represented each National League city. The Athletic's Meghan Montemurro and the Inquirer's Scott Lauber were Philadelphia's representatives, and each submitted DeGrom-Scherzer-Nola-Patrick Corbin ballots.

In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays’ Blake Snell won over the Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander and Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber.

No Phillies pitcher has won the Cy Young Award since the late Roy Halladay in 2010. Nola is the first Phillie to finish in the top-six of the voting since Halladay (2nd), Cliff Lee (3rd) and Cole Hamels (5th) in 2011, and Hamels (6th) in 2014.


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