MLB: The Cy Young Award Is Outdated And Hurting Baseball

The Cy Young finalists have been announced, but while pitchers are separated into two categories as starters and relievers to distinguish how they are used in games, why don’t we do the same thing when the individual awards are handed out at the end of each season?

Major League Baseball has this thing they call the Cy Young Predictor . It’s purpose is to predict the Cy Young recipients in each league. No problem with that. But take a look at the list for a second and you’ll notice that Zach Britton, the closer for the Baltimore Orioles , is currently listed as number 3.

This ranking puts him ahead of starters with names like Justin Verlander (16-9, 3.04), Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32), and Chris Sale (17-10, 3.34).

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting that this group had a better year than Zach Britton. I’m just saying that they had a different kind of a better than he did. And by the way, the same thing exists in the National League where ace relievers Kenley Jansen, Mark Melancon, and Jeurys Familia are all ranked in the top ten with Jansen sitting in the third spot.

Now, Zach Britton unquestionably had a terrific season converting a perfect 47 saves out of 47 chances. And he deserves some kind of an award. Just not this one.

With the specialization that we see now in baseball, lumping pitchers of all sizes and shapes into one award ends up with a situation where you are forced to compare apples and oranges. That’s not good for baseball and it’s also not fair to the players, who many times have bonuses in their contracts based on where they finish for these awards.

What we could have instead are two separate but equal awards. The Cy Young would stay, but it would be reserved for starting pitchers. And a second award called the Mariano RIvera Award would be created and that one would be strictly for relievers, whether they be closers or set up men.

The choice of Mariano RIvera as the namesake of the award to be attached to is hardly controversial. If it is, just say 652 saves plus 42 more in the postseason out loud and see how that sounds.

A change of this kind doesn’t subtract from fan interest. In fact, it would add to it. And yet, it’s not even on the radar of Major League Baseball as far as I know.

On the other hand, as far as I know it’s also not on the players union radar either. Although you would think that it would be since there is money attached to receiving a season award. And you would think it would be especially true since they are presently engaged in need talks to replace their contract when the current one expires in December.

In the meantime, we’ll stumble through with what we have. But rest assured, when all is said and done, somebody ain’t gonna be happy. And how can that be good for baseball?

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