Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes was named the NL Cy Young award winner Wednesday night, edging out fellow finalists Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler for the honor.
Burnes secured 12 first-place votes, finishing 10 points ahead of Wheeler (12 first-place votes) and 38 points ahead of Scherzer (six first-place votes) to win the award. In the American League, former Nationals prospect Robbie Ray fended off Gerrit Cole and Lance Lynn to take home his first career Cy Young.
Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young winner, started 19 games for the Nationals before they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the July 31 deadline. Though he pitched well enough in D.C. to earn his eighth career All-Star Game selection, the future Hall of Famer put together a historic stretch in LA that vaulted him into the Cy Young conversation.
In 11 starts for the Dodgers, Scherzer went 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA. He finished the season 15-4 with a career-best 2.46 ERA to go along with a 0.864 WHIP (best in the majors) and 236 strikeouts in 197 1/3 innings over 30 starts. FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-most valuable pitcher in the NL at 5.4 WAR behind only Burnes (7.5), Wheeler (7.3) and Walker Buehler (5.5).
If he had won the award, Scherzer would’ve joined Rick Sutcliffe as the only pitchers to ever win Cy Young during a season in which they were traded. Sutcliffe made 15 starts for the Cleveland Indians to begin the 1984 season before being shipped to the NL with the Chicago Cubs. He turned a corner in Chicago with a 2.69 ERA over 20 starts to win the award. Since the two teams Scherzer pitched for this year are in the NL, his stats from both clubs were considered.
Now 37 years old, Scherzer is a free agent after the seven-year, $210 million deal he signed with the Nationals in 2015 expired at season’s end. He’s one of the most highly coveted arms on the market and, despite his age, should fetch a new contract that rivals the $30 million average annual value of his previous deal.