The Case for Corbin Burnes for National League Cy Young
Corbin Burnes is finally having his breakout year. After 2019 crumbled to the ground, Burnes bounced back with an awesome year thus far. Burnes did not even start in the rotation until midway through the season. But he has made enough of an impression that Burnes should be considered for the Cy Young trophy. With New York Mets pitcher and two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom struggling last night for his standards (Yes, he struck out 16 but did give up two runs in a losing effort), it opened the door for this discussion to take place in what is a wide-open race.
The case for Burnes is in the stat sheet. He is dominating the National League from a statistical standpoint. The Cy Young should be awarded to the guy who is the best against hitters in their respective league. Burnes is doing that right now for the Brewers. Batters are hitting .158 against him, the lowest in the National League. Burnes also carries the lowest FIP of anyone in baseball. FIP takes out everything that could go wrong in a baseball game and that is out of the pitcher’s control. If Burnes has the best FIP, shouldn’t he be considered with the best? The Brewers right-hander also has the second-highest SO/9 ratio only trailing deGrom. The two pitchers are the only two with SO/9 ratios into the 13s. Even though ERA isn’t used as much anymore, Burnes has the lowest of anyone in the National League. Burnes is also one of four pitchers in all of baseball with a WAR above 2.5
The case against him is maybe the unknown. How many baseball writers and analysts are talking about the season that Burnes is having. Everyone loves a good redemption story, but with the Brewers being .500 or worse, no one seems to be talking about the young Brewers right-hander. In classic national media fashion, he is an afterthought. deGrom gets the New York media buzz. Yu Darvish gets the love from being a member of the Chicago Cubs. Max Fried gets the South repping him being in Atlanta. This graphic from FOX says it all on the unlikelihood that Burnes will win it. For whatever it’s worth, Danielson Lamet from San Diego should be in this conversation too.
Show me the war, Fox. It’s not a fantasy baseball contest. pic.twitter.com/5nXWpoDTkk
— David Brown (@AnswerDave) September 20, 2020
Brewers’ social media will do their best to make a case for Burnes especially if he goes out and dominates St. Louis on Thursday night. But I fear there isn’t enough there. If this were a full season, maybe then the eyes would open up, but baseball will likely go with one of their old standbys.