Phillies ace Zack Wheeler had a very strong 2021 season but came up just short in the National League Cy Young voting. Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes is the winner.
Burnes beat Wheeler and Los Angeles Dodgers’ veteran righty Max Scherzer in a close vote by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Results were announced Wednesday night.
Burnes received 12 first-place votes, 14 seconds, and three thirds to finish with 151 points.
Wheeler also received 12 first-place votes, with nine seconds, and four thirds to finish with 141 points.
Scherzer received six first-place votes, five seconds, and 13 thirds to finish with 113 points.
Wheeler is the Phillies’ third Cy Young runner-up, along with Roy Halladay in 2011 and Jim Bunning in 1967.
Wheeler’s case was built around his workload. He led the majors with 213 1/3 innings pitched, finished first in the NL with 247 strikeouts, and fifth in ERA (2.78) and WHIP (1.01). He pitched six innings in 27 of his 32 starts.
Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts (179⅓ innings) for the Washington Nationals and Dodgers. He led the majors with a microscopic 0.864 WHIP and went 7-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts for the Dodgers down the stretch. The Dodgers won all 11 games. The performance was not good enough to earn the 37-year-old a fourth Cy Young.
Burnes, who turned 27 in October, prevailed despite making just 28 starts and pitching 167 innings. The Brewers at times employed a six-man rotation and Burnes also missed a couple of starts while in COVID protocol. Burnes had draw-dropping numbers in his 28 starts. He led the majors with a 2.43 ERA and was second behind Scherzer with a 0.94 WHIP. He registered 243 strikeouts and walked just 34. His 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings and 6.88 strikeouts to walks were the best in the majors. Burnes opened the season with 58 strikeouts before walking his first batter on his way to a season strikeout rate of 35.6%, best in the majors. Burnes is the Brewers’ third Cy Young winner. Rollie Fingers won in 1981 and Pete Vuckovich in 1982.
The NL MVP will be announced Thursday night at 6:00pm ET. Phillies’ right fielder Bryce Harper is the favorite to take home the award, as Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. are the two other finalists.