Now that the list has been narrowed to three, one thing is clear: Blake Snell is the best of the best.
Sure, the Boston Red Sox won the World Series, they finished the 2018 regular season with a record of 108-54. The New York Yankees, took home the Wild Card with a record of 100-62.
Offensively, they were ranked 2nd and 3rd by wRC+ in the majors, and Blake Snell dominated them.
And it wasn’t just those teams either.
While pitching against the 10 teams that made the playoffs, Snell posted the best numbers among his Cy Young competitors (Justin Verlander and Corey Kluber).
Snell easily has the highest sample size against those opponents this past season, registering 78 1⁄3 innings pitched, while Justin Verlander is the next closest with 52 2⁄3 innings pitched. However, despite the larger dose of increased competition, Snell still posted the best numbers.
Those ten playoffs teams managed to hit just .167/.249/.288 off of Snell, striking out at a 30.2% clip. Snell finished the year with a 1.95 ERA against those teams, compared to Kluber’s 2.87 mark and Verlander’s 2.22.
As for total season numbers, Blake Snell had a 1.89 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 4.6 fWAR, 0.8 HR/9, 31.6 K%, and .176 opponent average over 180 2⁄3 innings pitched and 31 starts.
Blake Snell may not have had the innings pitched of the other two Cy Young candidates, but he made up for it in his domination of the league. Snell carved through opposing hitters with much more success, with his only struggles being his command at times, leading to an inflated walk rate. If not for those walks, there wouldn’t even be a conversation. Snell, would be the unanimous choice for the award, but as it stands, there is still some doubt.
Here’s where he, and his competitors, ranked in the AL:
- OPP AVG - Snell (1st), Verlander (3rd), Kluber (8th)
- OPP OBP - Verlander (1st), Snell (2nd), Kluber (3rd)
- OPP SLG - Snell (1st), Verlander (5th), Kluber (7th)
- wOBA - Snell (1st), Verlander (2nd), Kluber (5th)
- ERA - Snell (1st), Verlander (3rd), Kluber (5th)
- FIP - Verlander (3rd), Snell (5th), Kluber (7th)
- K% - Verlander (1st), Snell (3rd), Kluber (8th)
- WHIP - Verlander (1st), Snell (2nd), Kluber (3rd)
- HR/9 - Snell (3rd), Kluber (10th), Verlander (15th)
- IP - Kluber (1st), Verlander (2nd), Snell (14th)
Tonight, the debate will be settled and if everything right with the world; when the announcement is made sometime after 6pm on MLB Network, Blake Snell will be named the 2018 American League Cy Young