CtPG Staff Votes: NL Cy Young

For NL Cy Young, eight CtPG writers compiled top-five ballots, with a first-place vote valued at seven points, a second-place vote valued at four points, a third-place vote valued at three points, a fourth-place vote valued at two points, and a fifth-place vote valued at one point.

Zack Wheeler, Phillies33239
Corbin Burnes, Brewers33136
Max Scherzer, Nationals/Dodgers142124
Walker Buehler, Dodgers214120
Jacob deGrom, Mets17
Kevin Gausman, Giants157
Adam Wainwright, Cardinals113
Combined Ballots

A very close race that didn’t have a clear frontrunner led to muddied ballots. Four different pitchers received first-place votes, and altogether seven pitchers were listed. I personally would not be surprised if any of the announced finalists won the award.

1. Zack Wheeler, Phillies

32 G, 213.1 IP, 2.78 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 7.7 bWAR, 7.3 fWAR

Zack Wheeler was a workhorse this season. If you need a reminder about how much baseball has changed in 2021, Wheeler’s 213.1 innings led the Majors, as well as his 849 batters faced, his three complete games, and his two shutouts. With the Phillies bullpen as shaky as it was, Joe Girardi often left his ace out on the mound, pitching past the 115 pitch mark to try and squeeze those extra outs from Wheeler’s arm.

Wheeler’s consistency and durability, combined with his strong rate numbers, demonstrated to me that no one else had much better than a mild case to be the NL Cy Young. He ranked in the top 3 on everyone’s ballot, getting three firsts, three seconds, and two thirds.

2. Corbin Burnes, Brewers

28 GS, 167 IP, 2.43 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, 5.7 bWAR, 7.5 fWAR

Corbin Burnes compiled yet another impressive season at the head of the Brewers’ daunting rotation. He led the league in a myriad of important categories, including ERA, ERA+, FIP, HR/9, and K/9. Burnes was able to generate many, many strikeouts while limiting walks and home runs, making him a FIP-darling.

Though the volume wasn’t as there as for someone like Wheeler, the impressive rate stats meant that Burnes was able to garner three first-place votes, three second-place votes, and one third-place vote.

3. Max Scherzer, Nationals/Dodgers

30 G, 179.1 IP, 2.46 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, 11.8 K/9, 5.2 bWAR, 5.4 fWAR

After a (relatively) slower start to the season for Max Scherzer, he started pitching like his usual self, getting traded to the Dodgers at the deadline with the Nationals out of contention. From there, the Dodgers didn’t drop any of his eleven starts to finish out 2021, and Scherzer put up a sub-2.00 ERA in Los Angeles.

Scherzer interestingly averaged just under 6 innings a start this year, but his WHIP and H/9 once again led the Majors. This man had an elite season, and he’s rightfully rewarded with a Cy Young finalist spot. Rev Halofan gave him a first-place vote.

4. Walker Buehler, Dodgers

33 G, 207.2 IP, 2.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP, 9.2 K/9, 6.7 bWAR, 5.5 fWAR

In a season where the Dodgers suffered more than a few pitching injuries, Walker Buehler was very consistent for them, making 33 starts. Although he didn’t lead the league in any categories, he was very solid, and he topped 200 innings for the first time in his career. Buehler appeared on every ballot, topping out at two second-place votes.

T-5. Jacob deGrom, Mets

15 G, 92 IP, 1.08 ERA, 0.55 WHIP, 14.3 K/9, 5.0 bWAR, 4.9 fWAR

Jacob deGrom started the year with the most incredibly stretch anyone had ever seen from a starting pitcher. He suffered from injury in the second half of the season, but there was a portion of time he was out where he was still the clear favorite for this award.

I mean, those are just video-game numbers. Rick Souddress’s first-place vote is probably justified.

T-5. Kevin Gausman, Giants

33 G, 192 IP, 2.81 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 5.4 bWAR, 4.8 fWAR

People were surprised when the Giants made Kevin Gausman the qualifying offer last offseason, but Gausman accepted it and delivered the goods. He turned in a fine season, anchoring the Giants rotation and setting himself up for a huge payday this offseason. After years of struggling in Baltimore, Gausman has found his footing in San Francisco and is a completely changed pitcher. He appeared on six ballots.

7. Adam Wainwright, Cardinals

32 G, 206.1 IP, 3.05 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 7.6 K/9, 3.7 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR

Adam Wainwright turned 40 during the 2021 season, but that didn’t stop him from turning in arguably the best season of his Major League career. He threw three complete games, tossing over 200 innings for the first time since 2014. He’s not going to blow you away, but it’s going to be hard to string hits together against him.

Here’s what the actual voters thought!

You can see our full breakdown of ballots below. Let us know in the comments who you would have had in your ballot!

RankJessica DeLineRahul SettyH. T. EnnisJeff Joiner
1Corbin BurnesCorbin BurnesZack WheelerCorbin Burnes
2Zack WheelerZack WheelerWalker BuehlerZack Wheeler
3Max ScherzerMax ScherzerCorbin BurnesMax Scherzer
4Walker BuehlerWalker BuehlerMax ScherzerWalker Buehler
5Kevin GausmanKevin GausmanAdam WainwrightKevin Gausman
Individual Ballots, Part 1
RankJohn Henry WeitzelCharles SuttonRev HalofanRick Souddress
1Zack WheelerZack WheelerMax ScherzerJacob deGrom
2Corbin BurnesWalker BuehlerCorbin BurnesCorbin Burnes
3Walker BuehlerMax ScherzerZack WheelerZack Wheeler
4Max ScherzerAdam WainwrightKevin GausmanWalker Buehler
5Kevin GausmanKevin GausmanWalker BuehlerMax Scherzer
Individual Ballots, Part 2

Title Image Screenshot from MLB Twitter