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From The Press Box

Amaury Pi-González

Young LA Dodgers left-hander Julio Urías was the only pitcher in Major League Baseball among all 30 teams, this 2021 season to win 20 games; he ended with a record, 20-3, 2.96 ERA, started 32 games, pitched 185 2/3 innings, and struck out 195 hitters. However, the Mexican-born Urias was not among the three finalists for the coveted National League Cy Young Award. Is it because now victories are an antiquated way of judging a pitcher?

These were the three pitchers nominated for the Cy Young Award in the National League: Max Scherzer, who pitched for two teams this season, Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers, he finished with 15-4, 2.46 ERA, started 30 games, threw 179 1/3 innings, and struck out 236 batters. In all fairness, he is a first-vote Hall of Famer. Philadelphia Phillies Zack Wheeler ended with a 14-10 record, 2.78 earned run average in 32 games he started, pitched 213 1/3 innings, and struck out 247. Corbin Burnes of the Milwaukee Brewers finished the season with an 11-5 record, 2.43 ERA, started 28 games, pitched 167 innings, and struck out 234.

As a broadcaster I do not have a vote. The people that vote are members of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America). I do have the utmost respect for them, some I have known and have been friends with for decades and worked with them.  To win 20 games during one season in today’s game is tantamount to winning 28 to 30 games years ago. Anybody that followed the postseason this year can see that one million pitchers were used, doesn’t matter if one is throwing a no-hitter after 5 innings, he is coming out for a reliever. To be a starter doesn’t have the prestige it once had. But is not only the 20 wins, you cannot punish Urías because he pitched for a team that won over 100 games and was favorite to win the World Series again. I understand that a lot of the “logic” for this award goes to ‘innings pitched’ and in that case, Scherzer and Wheeler did pitch more innings than Julio Urías. It is (ironic and disingenuous) to give Innings Pitch that much weight when in today’s baseball starters do not work that much.

The beauty of baseball is that everybody has an opinion and a different point of view, (not to mention a bias for their team). I am not one that screams racism all the time, although I know, unfortunately, it still exists. And I do respect the votes by the baseball writers. Maybe Julio can win 30 games next season and get the recognition he well deserves. The last 30 game-winner was Denny McLain of the Detroit Tigers, who in 1968 won 31 and lost 6.Today, the description for a starting pitcher has changed.

The winner will be announced live on MLB Network on November 17 at 3 PM Pacific time.

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