MLB 2021 Cy Young Award Winners announced
Toronto Blue Jays Robbie Ray is named the American League Cy Young winner, Milwaukee Brewers Corbin Burnes picks up the National League honor
The Baseball Writers’ Association of America has revealed the results of the voting for the Cy Young Award winners.
American League Cy Young
When the Blue Jays acquired Robbie Ray in a midseason trade last season and re-signed him to a modest one-year, $8 million contract last winter, it would be safe to say that expectations were pretty low. With a 6.62 ERA and the highest walk rate of any pitcher with at least 50 innings last year, Ray was considered a project in the making. A definite Wild Thing.
But the southpaw Ray, who just turned 30, seemed to click into place this season. His 2.84 ERA was the best among qualifying pitchers in the league, and his 193 1/3 innings, 32 starts, 154 ERA+ and 1.045 WHIP were also at the top of the tree. Ray fanned an MLB-best 248 batters, but the real mark of his grabbing the season by the horns can be seen by his lowering that walk rate to just 2.4 per nine innings. Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker worked with him and got him to trust his stuff in the zone and he really pitched with confidence.
The fifth Blue Jay to win the award (Roger Clemens won it twice), Ray is just the ninth pitcher to win the Cy Young heading into free agency. As such, his 2022 destination is not yet known, but it is safe to say that he has made his mark up in Canada.
National League Cy Young
Burnes’ season in 2021 began with him striking out a record 58 batters before issuing his first walk. The right-hander went 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 167 innings across 28 starts and was the Major League leader in ERA, strikeout rate (35.6), strikeout-to-walk ratio (6.88), Fielding Independent Pitching (1.63) and barrel rate (2.9%). His FIP was the second lowest since 1969, trailing only Pedro Martinez’s 1.39 mark in 1999.
Burnes missed two weeks early in the season after testing positive for covid, and the Brewers used a six-man rotation to keep their pitchers fresh after the shortened 2020 season.
Burnes is now Milwaukee’s first Cy Young winner since Pete Vuckovich in 1982. The only clubs with a longer Cy scarcity are the Texas Rangers, who have never had a Cy Young winner, dating back to their formation in 1961, and the Orioles, whose last winner was Steve Stone in 1980.