What do most Cy Young winners have in common? Over the last twenty years or so, it has been all about strikeouts. For New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and any idea he may have of winning the award, it’s a shot to the heart.
Strikeouts are not Stroman’s forte into retiring batters. A career average of 7.3 per nine or 165 per 162 game season (202 innings pitched), he relies more on groundballs for those easy outs.
This hasn’t been the modus operandi of many Cy Young winners. Excluding the shortened 2020 season, the last starting pitcher to win the award in the National League with fewer than 200 strikeouts was in 2006 when Brandon Webb fanned 178.
Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman will need to capture the Cy Young through other means than the K
Before Webb, we need to head back to 1998 when Tom Glavine when the Cy Young with 157 strikeouts. The 1990s featured a couple of non-200 strikeout seasons by Atlanta Braves pitchers who took home the league’s best pitcher award.
Baseball has changed quite a bit since then. Strikeouts are easier to come by. And while it’s not necessarily a given that a man with 250 Ks is going to get much attention for the honor, it does help.
Surprisingly, the American League does have a few more recent sub-200 strikeout seasons with a Cy Young winner. Rick Porcello won the award in 2016 with 189. Cliff Lee had only 170 in 2008. However, each won 22 games and was among the league leaders in ERA—Lee won it.
Stroman has certainly shown signs of excellence in his career. He has a 3.09 ERA season on his resume and a 3.22 ERA one from 2019 when he split his season with the Mets and Toronto Blue Jays. The 2019 campaign is his most recent so to see him have one of his better ERA campaigns and a career-high in strikeouts per nine (7.8) could mean we get an even better Stroman this year.
The probability of seeing Stroman win the 2021 NL Cy Young is slim and not just because of his lack of flashy strikeout totals. There’s a guy named Jacob deGrom on his own team that will surely give him some trouble.
In parts of six seasons before this 2021 campaign, Stroman has only ever received Cy Young consideration once. His 2017 season, arguably the best on the back of his baseball card, saw him finish number eight in the American League. That same year, he took home a Gold Glove as well.
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
Stroman hasn’t accomplished much in a Mets uniform quite yet. Now in a contract season with a whole lot more than winning on the table, this would be a fine year for him to defy the odds and become a legitimate Cy Young contender regardless of how past winners have gotten there.