We’ve all heard the likes of Chris Sale, Corey Kluber, Luis Severino, Max Scherzer, and Clayton Kershaw in the discussion for the American League and National League Cy Young award, but how about the “second round” winners? The “second round” winners being the pitchers in each league that has had a memorable season, but not in serious discussion for the real Cy Young. Here are my winners for the “second round” Cy Young award:
American League Winner: Boston Red Sox’s Drew Pomeranz-
Photo: Michael Dwyer
After the controversial 2016 trade that sent Anderson Espinoza to the the Padres in return for lefty Drew Pomeranz, Pomeranz has proven to the Red Sox he can not only he could be their number two, but he can stay in good health. Ironically, the Red Sox had received Pomeranz with undisclosed elbow issues right after the trade, but ultimately Espinoza was the one requiring Tommy John.
Coming into 2017, there were questions to who would be the 5th man in the Sox’s rotation. Steven Wright had just come off an all star season, Eduardo Rodriguez was still trying to figure it out in the big leagues, and of course the top three spots were already filled by Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, and David Price. However, if he wasn’t already in a great position to make the rotation, the slow DL return from elbow inflammation from David Price and Steven Wright getting lit up in his five starts before requiring season ending knee surgery, would assured Pomeranz would be given every chance to succeed in the rotation. And that, he did.
Pomeranz has been rather remarkable this season. In 32 games started this year, Pomeranz owns a 17-6 record, 174 strikeouts, with a 3.32 ERA across 173.2 innings. During a low point in his season, he owned a 5.29 in the middle of May, but a 3 dominant month stretch which lowered his ERA from 5.29 to a season low 3.15 in September. Out of his 32 games started this year, he’s given up 2 runs or less in 25 of those starts. You can expect him to go out and pitch 6 innings of 2 run ball. To wrap his season, Pomeranz was worth 4.0 bWAR and 3.1 fWAR, more than acceptable in an unforgiving AL East.
National League Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers’ Alex Wood-
Photo: Mark J. Terrill
Wood especially hurts to talk about. I picked up Wood in one of my fantasy league when he was still in the bullpen and had about a four percent own rate. When Rich Hill went down with blister problems and Wood stepped into the rotation, he dominated. As Wood continued flat out raking in the rotation, I thought it may be time to sell high, “This guy can’t be this good” I kept thinking to myself. So I traded him. But he just kept going, and going, and going. By the middle of July, Wood had lowered his ERA to a minuscule 1.56 ERA. He always had the stuff to be a dominate pitcher, but the Dodgers rotation depth was the only thing keeping him from reaching his full potential.
Wood finished the season 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA across a strong 152.1 innings with 151 strikeouts. Wood also carried an acceptable 8.92 K/9 with a 2.25 BB/9 to go with a great 0.89 HR/9 ratio. Wood finished his season valued at 2.9 bWAR and 3.4 fWAR. Filling in for an injured Hill and eventually staff ace when Kershaw went down with back problems, Wood hammered down the rotation. He should be a lock to start the rotation next year, given the Dodgers don’t do some big spending to their rotation in the offseason.
Should he be a 3rd round pick? Probably not, but should be a sleeper you keep a close eye on as the draft approaches.