MLB has announced the winners of the 2020 Cy Young Awards. The awards are given to two of baseball’s most outstanding hurlers. The writers unanimously chose Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians over Hyun Jin Ryu and Kenta Maeda for the AL award. They selected Trevor Bauer of the Cincinatti Reds, who defeated Yu Darvish and Jacob deGrom, for the NL award. Both of the winners were outstanding in the shortened 2020 and more than earned their respective league’s admiration.
Youthful Dominance for Shane Bieber
Bieber is another outstanding product of the Cleveland pitching development method. The 25-year-old threw 77 1/3 innings in 2020 with a 1.63 ERA and 122 strikeouts to 21 walks. The former fourth-round selection led the American League in each of those categories and eight categories overall. Bieber was truly incredible in almost every aspect of pitching in 2020. He is just 25-years-old, but already has a Cy Young victory on top of a top-five finish in 2019.
Almost every number Bieber posted this season jumps off of his stats page. He had a strikeout rate 41.1 percent, which led all starting pitchers who threw at least 20 innings regardless of league. It’s hard to imagine maintaining some of those numbers over the course of 25-30 starts, but there is nothing suggesting that this was a fluke of any sort. Bieber is simply a stud in the making.
Bieber is Cleveland’s third Cy Young since 2010 and sixth overall. He joins Corey Kluber who won the award in both 2014 and 2017. Cliff Lee in 2008, C.C. Sabathia in 2007, and Gaylord Perry in 1972 are the other three Indians to reach the highest pinnacle of pitching.
Trevor Bauer Displays Veteran Savvy
Bauer has been one of the more infamous pitchers in recent years. His scientific and unorthodox rigor often puts off more traditional baseball fans, but there is no arguing with the results. The 29-year-old threw 73 innings this season with a National League-leading 1.73 ERA. He also struck out 100 batters and walked just 17. Bauer led his respective league in five categories, including complete games with two.
The former first-round selection from 2011 has gotten much better over the past several seasons. He held an ERA just over 4.00 for multiple years until 2018 when he broke through and posted a mark of 2.21 and a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young voting. His strikeout rate has gone from the low-20s percent to 30 percent and above in each of the past three years.
Bauer is the first Reds pitcher to ever win the Cy Young award. They had pitchers come close a few times with Tom Seaver in 1981 and Johnny Cueto in 2014, but failed to breakthrough until this season.
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