In the pitcher’s year, Burnes led the majors with a 2.43 ERA and Ray topped the LA at 2.84. The two have also recorded impressive strikeout totals, helping to build their record with those studying new age stats and others looking at more traditional numbers.
Burnes edged out Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler for the award, with both receiving 12 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Max Scherzer finished third.
Burnes became the first Brewers pitcher to win the NL honor – Pete Vuckovich in 1982 and Rollie Fingers in 1981 won the award while Milwaukee was still in the American League.
Ray became the first Toronto pitcher to win since the late Roy Halladay in 2003.
Ray got 29 votes for first place. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole got the other best vote and was second and Chicago White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn was third.
Burnes was 11-5 and clocked 234 in 167 innings while becoming an All-Star for the NL Central champions Brewers. His number of rounds was lower than that of his competitors, due to his two-week absence in early May after testing positive for the coronavirus.
In his first season as a full-time starter, Burnes broke a record of 58 before delivering his first walk. He tied the major league record by eliminating 10 in a row against the Cubs in August.
Burnes combined with closest Josh Hader in a scoreless game against Cleveland in September. Burnes struck out 14 batters in eight innings in that game – it was the ninth no-hitting record in majors this season, surpassing the eight set in 1884 when pitchers started throwing over the head.
Burnes was 4-1 with an ERA of 2.11 during the virus-shortened season and was hampered by an oblique strain. He’s returned to the top of the majors with 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings this year.
Voting for the awards was completed before the start of the playoffs. Burnes pitched six white innings against Atlanta in the NL Division series and turned 27 later in October.
Ray led the majors with 248 strikeouts and led the AL with 193 1/3 innings. He was 13-7 in 32 starts and helped keep Toronto in the playoff race until the last weekend.
Having turned 30 last month, Price sets him up – a free agent, he turned down an $ 18.4 million qualifying offer from Toronto earlier Wednesday.
Ray’s power arm has always attracted attention. He ranks No.1 in major league history with 11.2 strikeouts every nine innings (minimum: 1,000 innings), and he was an All-Star with Arizona in 2017.
But controlling his heat and sudden throws was often a problem, and Ray hit rock bottom last year. He led the majors on the march while getting a 2-5 combined with a 6.62 ERA for the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays during the pandemic shortened season.
The drop took his base salary from $ 9.43 million to $ 8 million this year. He got some of that back with $ 125,000 for winning the Cy Young, and numbers to cash in even more soon.
Drafted and signed by Washington in 2010, Ray made his big-league debut in 2014 with Detroit – that staff also included future Cy Young winners Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and David Price.
Ray was traded for cash in Toronto on Aug.31, 2020, against reliever Travis Bergen. Ray was 49-51 with a 4.26 ERA over seven seasons in the majors heading into this big year.
Ray became the fifth Blue Jays pitcher to win the Cy Young, along with Halladay, Roger Clemens in 1997-98 and Pat Hentgen in 1996.
The MVPs will be announced on Thursday, bringing the BBWAA awards season to a close.
Two-way Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is considered the AL favorite, with Toronto hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Blue Jays infielder Marcus Semien as other finalists.
Phillies star Bryce Harper, Washington outfielder Juan Soto and San Diego dynamo Fernando Tatis Jr. are the NL finalists.
Regardless of who wins, this will be the first time since 1987 (Cubs’ Andre Dawson and Toronto’s George Bell) that none of the MVPs have reached the playoffs in the year they were elected.
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