Baseball fans have 1 big complaint about NL Cy Young Award
Few would dispute that Corbin Burnes had a fantastic season for the Milwaukee Brewers, but there are a number of people unhappy that he claimed the NL Cy Young Award.
Many fans were upset to see Burnes beat out Philadelphia Phillies ace Zack Wheeler for the NL’s top pitching honor. The biggest argument was that Wheeler’s body of work was much larger than Burnes’.
The Brewers ace threw only 167 innings in the regular season, qualifying for the NL ERA title by only five innings. Though Wheeler’s ERA was higher — 2.78 to Burnes’ 2.43 — Wheeler pitched 213.1 innings, nearly 50 more than Burnes.
The point about Wheeler pitching more innings was argued by many on Twitter, including ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
Zack Wheeler threw 27% more innings with an ERA only 12% worse than Corbin Burnes.
Wheeler: 2.73 ERA 213.1 IP
Burnes: 2.43 ERA 167 IP
I’m glad Wins don’t matter anymore for the Cy Young award, but I feel we’ve gone too far.
IP & ERA >>> Under-The-Hood stats for the CY IMO
— Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) November 18, 2021
I am admittedly a nerd myself. I am fully on board with analytics. They are vital. They teach you plenty. But anyone who tries to argue that FIP is the most important metric to determine a Cy Young winner and that innings don't matter really should go eat gravel.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 18, 2021
Burnes and Wheeler actually got 12 first-places votes each, while Max Scherzer claimed the other six. Where Burnes had the edge was he was either first or second on most ballots (26 of 30), while many voters had Wheeler third or even fourth. That gave Burnes (151) more total points than Wheeler (141).
The voting shows there was ample support for Burnes. The Brewers ace’s FIP, a popular metric among the stats-oriented crowd, was a miniscule 1.63, significantly lower than Wheeler’s 2.59. That, in the eyes of many voters, made up for the fact that Burnes threw 46.1 fewer innings than Wheeler did.
If Wheeler feels snubbed, we may well hear about it. He hasn’t been shy about blunt public criticism before.