Mets' Jacob deGrom rides majors-best 1.70 ERA to NL Cy Young Award

New York Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom won his first Cy Young Award on Wednesday, taking home the National League edition after leading the majors in ERA.

DeGrom received 29 first-place votes and 207 points in voting announced Wednesday by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Washington's Max Scherzer got the other first-place vote and finished second while seeking a third straight Cy Young and fourth overall.

"I want to thank the baseball writers for this honor," deGrom said. "I'm extremely humbled to win this award along with some other great former Mets such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and R.A. Dickey. I'd especially like to thank my teammates, coaching staff and my family."

A ninth-round pick of the Mets in 2010 and a former Rookie of the Year, deGrom's major-league-leading 1.70 ERA was two-thirds of a run lower than the next closest NL hurler, Philadelphia's Aaron Nola (2.37), and the second best by any starter this century.

The 30-year old righty finished second in the National League in innings (217), strikeouts (269) and WHIP (0.91), and allowed just 10 home runs, four fewer than any other starter. His string of 29 consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or less, a streak that began in mid-April and is still active, is the longest in MLB history.

Despite his effectiveness on the mound, deGrom was frequently victimized by a lack of offensive production from his teammates. Pitching for a Mets club that finished eight games under .500 and ranked 12th in the NL in scoring, he received the worst run support in baseball (3.5 runs per game). As a result, he completed the 2018 season with a 10-9 record. His 10 victories are the fewest ever by a Cy Young winner in a non-strike-shortened season, eclipsing the previous mark held by Felix Hernandez, who went 13-12 during his 2010 campaign.

"My thought process was, 'Hey, take the ball every fifth day and continue to try to put this team in position to win and control what you can control,''' deGrom said.

Hernandez's Cy Young victory signaled a major shift by voters, who once prioritized pitcher wins. The push toward advanced analytics made deGrom's candidacy possible, and by September there was little debate deGrom was worthy, even as the Mets regularly wasted his dominance.

"This was one of my goals,'' deGrom said. "The team didn't end up where we wanted to be this past season, but you kind of set personal goals, and I think being able to accomplish something that has been a dream of yours is just something special. To be a Cy Young Award winner, you're in great company, and it truly is an honor.''

During one stretch late in the season, the Mets totaled 10 runs over seven of deGrom's outings, and four of those runs were driven in by the pitcher himself.

DeGrom nearly produced more wins above replacement than actual wins -- a dubious sabermetric feat that has only been accomplished once, when the Philadelphia Athletics' Eddie Smith went 4-17 with 4.1 WAR in 1937. Baseball-Reference calculated a 9.6 WAR for deGrom.

"Jacob had one of the most remarkable seasons in baseball history," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. "The entire Mets organization is proud of his accomplishment, and this is a moment all Mets fans can celebrate."

The Mets unveiled a deGrom bobblehead featuring the Cy Young Award shortly after deGrom was crowned. The Mets will give away 25,000 of these bobbleheads prior to a home game April 7 against Scherzer's Nationals.

Prior to this season, deGrom's previous career-low ERA was 2.54 in 2015. That year, he was named an All-Star for the first time and finished seventh in the Cy Young balloting. He had another top-10 finish in 2017 (eighth). This past season, he made his second All-Star appearance, coming on in relief of Scherzer, who started the Midsummer Classic in front of his hometown fans in Washington.

Scherzer went 18-7 with a 2.53 ERA and led the majors with 220⅔ innings and 300 strikeouts. He was attempting to become the first player since Randy Johnson to win three consecutive Cy Youngs. He got the first-place vote of John Maffei of the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 second-place votes and 123 points. Nola was third with 86 points, followed by Colorado's Kyle Freeland and Arizona's Patrick Corbin.

The subject of persistent trade rumors during the second half of the season, deGrom is under contract with the Mets for two more years. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.