Listen, I get that Max Scherzer won the Cy Young. I expected it. But to have gotten 25 of 30 first-place votes (full voting results, including individual ballots) while the second and third place finishers combined for only three (two for Kyle Hendricks, one for Jon Lester). Hell, even Clayton Kershaw got two. That’s on some serious Whiskey Tango Foxtrot action, man.
Don’t get me wrong, Scherzer is really, really good. He led the NL in several categories and was near the top in many others, which I profiled when in the piece about him winning the IBWAA vote. But I am honestly shocked to see that the margin between the Nats’ ace and the next two spots was so wide.
Scherzer ended up with 192 points, while Lester finished with 102 and Hendricks 85. Madison Bumgarner finished fourth with 46 points and Clayton Kershaw was next with 30. As you might expect, the winner’s name appeared on all 30 ballots (25, 3, 1, 1 from first to fourth). I think the voters probably put too much stock in wins and strikeouts, but whatever. My real concern is with the results for Lester and Hendricks.
The Professor’s vote totals from first to fifth looked like this: 2, 7, 8, 7, 5. I’m willing to accept the first three figures, but this is telling us that 12 voters didn’t even think Hendricks was among the top three pitchers in the National League. And you math majors out there might have noticed that MLB’s ERA leader was only named on 29 ballots, which means someone (Todd Zolecki of MLB.com) didn’t vote for him at all. So that’s something.
Jon Lester received no fifth-place votes and his 1, 16, 9, 2 tally was enough for second place overall. Except, wait, that’s only 28 total. Two actual baseball writers (Dave Cameron of FanGraphs and J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group) didn’t see fit to rank Lester among the five best pitchers in the NL? I’m asking because it doesn’t seem right. Not that I agree with it, I think it’s an egregious omission, but Cameron did at least provide a lengthy explanation for his ballot.
I’m not so much mad about neither Cubs pitcher winning as what I perceive to be a miscarriage of justice. Maybe that’s the wrong way to put it, as this isn’t a court of law and no one’s life or freedom was at stake in any way. It’s just that Lester and Hendricks were left off as many ballots as the number of those that had either in first place, which feels like a bit of a mockery. But what do I know, I’m just a lowly blogger.
The good news — well, maybe not for Upton — is that both Cubs pitchers have a little consolation prize called a World Series championship. Pretty sure they’re both cool with that.