Corbin Burnes and Robbie Ray win 2021 Cy Young Awards

In 2019, Corbin Burnes had an ERA of 8.82 In 2020, Robbie Ray had an ERA of 6.62 and was traded for what amounted to a pay cut. On Wedn...


In 2019, Corbin Burnes had an ERA of 8.82 In 2020, Robbie Ray had an ERA of 6.62 and was traded for what amounted to a pay cut. On Wednesday, both pitchers proved that great stuff and a solid work ethic can win the day, as they were named Cy Young Award winners for their leagues.

The two pitchers’ transformation was equally shocking, given their declining careers, and understandable considering their overpowered hitting backgrounds. Through hard work they got it right and the hitters paid a heavy price.

Burnes, 27, followed his breakthrough 2020 season by starting 2021 with a streak of 58 goalless strikeouts, joining Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta in a Milwaukee Brewers rotation that effectively had three aces. That dominance continued as Burnes led the majors in the ERA (2.43) and strikeouts by nine innings (12.6). He received 12 of the 30 first place votes, beating fellow finalists: Zack Wheeler of the Philadelphia Phillies, who also received 12 first-place votes, and Max Scherzer of the Nationals and Dodgers, who received six. Burnes triumphed over Wheeler with 14 second-place votes to Wheeler’s nine.

Ray, 30, became a left-handed ace for the Toronto Blue Jays, leading the American League in ERA (2.84) and innings pitched (193⅓). Turning into a powerful southpaw in the mold of Randy Johnson, who had mentored Ray in Arizona, he led the majors in strikeouts (248). This led to its reception 29 of 30 first place votes, beating fellow finalists: Gerrit Cole of the Yankees, who received the remaining votes for first place and 29 votes for second place, and Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox, who received 11 votes for third place.

The awards are presented annually by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

For both winners, finding fame meant examining what worked and what didn’t.

“The biggest thing I have done in the offseason is the state of mind”, Burnes said in may. “It could be 3-0, I really don’t care – for me it’s 0-0, it’s 0-1, it’s 0-2, I’m attacking. In the pitching count, I go to the hitters. There’s no, ‘Oh, I’m behind here 2-0, 3-0, this guy is a good fastpitch hitter’ – no. As soon as you fall into this trap, you are done.

The seeds for Ray’s transformation were planted in 2017 when he received advice from Johnson to believe in his abilities.

“He sat in my locker and it was basically like a big brother taking you into a headache, like, ‘You better figure that out, because you never know when your last throw will be.’ “said Ray said in september. “And I took that to heart. I ended up hitting a 26 minute scoreless streak, went to a less than three ERA and sort of ran with it.

Burnes is a local Milwaukee star after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He has struggled with durability issues, often eliminating himself in games with high pitching counts, but his disastrous 2019 season looks to be a aberration. His worst ERA in another season was the 2.61 he had in 38 innings as a reliever in 2018. Although he is expected to receive a significant raise in his first year of salary arbitration, he is under the control of the team until 2025.

He suffered the loss in this year’s All-Star Game, allowing two runs in two innings, but Burnes more than made up for it by teaming up with reliever Josh Hader. for a sure hit in september and pitch six white innings in a divisional debut against Atlanta.

For Ray, the change of scenery was crucial in addition to the advice he received from Johnson. He had shown an ability to rack up strikeouts, and he was an All-Star in 2017, but the Diamondbacks became frustrated with his inability to keep the ball in the strike zone. He had a 7.84 ERA in seven starts for Arizona in 2020 before a trade in which he was sent, with money, to Toronto for pitcher Travis Bergen. Bergen was brought back to the Blue Jays for cash a few months later, meaning the Blue Jays essentially got Ray for free.

However, this good fortune could come at a cost in the future, as Ray is a free agent and is expected to get a massive $ 8 million salary increase in 2021.

The other finalists had ample room for themselves, even though they failed in the vote.

Scherzer, who like Ray is a free agent, was good for Washington but absolutely electric after a mid-season swap in Los Angeles, with a 1.98 ERA in 12 regular season starts. (The Dodgers have won every game he started.) Wheeler, who struggled to stay healthy during his stint with the Mets, led the majors with 213⅓ innings pitched and led the National League with 247 strikeouts batting.

Lynn was a star for the second time and had a career-best 2.69 ERA. Cole, who inadvertently became the face of the ball crisis in sports, struggled on the stretch – a slip that some attributed to a hamstring injury rather than a ban on sticky substances – but still finished with a 3.23 ERA and led the AL in strikeout ratio. This was Cole’s fourth consecutive season finishing in the top five in his league’s Cy Young vote, but he is yet to win the award.

Tyler kepner contributed reports.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Corbin Burnes and Robbie Ray win 2021 Cy Young Awards
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