On this Yr of the Pitcher, each Robbie Ray and Corbin Burnes accomplished their very own type of comebacks.
Ray rebounded from a dismal season that noticed him take a uncommon pay lower to win the AL Cy Younger Award with Toronto whereas Burnes returned from an early bout of COVID-19 with Milwaukee to win the NL’s prime pitching prize Wednesday.
“Everybody has their story,” Burnes mentioned throughout a convention name.
Burnes led the majors with a 2.43 ERA and edged out Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler. They each bought 12 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers’ Affiliation of America, however Burnes drew 14 seconds to Wheeler’s 9.
Burnes pitched 167 innings, the fewest for a Cy Younger-winning starter in a non-shortened season, and the right-hander struck out 234. Wheeler fanned 247 — one shy of Ray’s large league-leading whole — and topped the majors with 213 1/3 innings.
“Everybody’s case,” Burnes mentioned, “was totally different.”
Ray was greatest within the AL with a 2.84 ERA and 193 1/3 innings. That got here after a pandemic-shortened 2020 when the lefty went a mixed 2-5 with a 6.62 ERA for Arizona and Blue Jays and issued probably the most walks within the majors.
“I knew … I used to be going to must put in some onerous work,” Ray mentioned, including, “I knew I needed to make adjustments.”
And in an indication of simply how a lot voters have moved previous merely win-loss data whereas crunching new-era stats, Dodgers lefty Julio Urías posted probably the most victories in going 20-3, however completed a distant eighth and didn’t get a single top-four nod.
Max Scherzer, who pitched for Los Angeles and Washington, completed third within the NL and Dodgers ace Walker Buehler was fourth.
Burnes grew to become the primary Brewers pitcher to earn the NL honor — Pete Vuckovich in 1982 and Rollie Fingers in 1981 received the award when Milwaukee was nonetheless within the American League.
Ray bought 29 first-place votes and have become the primary Toronto pitcher to win for the reason that late Roy Halladay in 2003. Yankees ace Gerrit Cole drew the opposite prime vote and completed second and Chicago White Sox righty Lance Lynn was third.
Ray went 13-7 in 32 begins and helped maintain Toronto in playoff competition till the ultimate weekend.
Having turned 30 final month, the award units him up properly — a free agent, he turned down an $18.4 million qualifying supply from Toronto earlier Wednesday.
“I’m having fun with free company,” he mentioned. “The method is numerous enjoyable.”
Ray mentioned Toronto is “nonetheless within the dialog.”
“Clearly, I like Toronto, however we’ll see the place issues go,” he mentioned.
Burnes was 11-5 and an All-Star for the NL Central champion Brewers. His innings rely was decrease than his rivals, owing to him lacking two weeks in early Might after testing constructive for the coronavirus.
In his first season as a full-time starter, Burnes struck out a document 58 earlier than issuing his first stroll. He tied the foremost league mark by fanning 10 in a row in opposition to the Cubs in August.
Burnes mixed with nearer Josh Hader on a no-hitter in opposition to Cleveland in September. Burnes struck out 14 over eight innings in that recreation — it was the document ninth no-hitter within the majors this season, topping the eight set in 1884 when pitchers started throwing overhand.
Burnes had an 8.82 ERA in 28 aid appearances and 4 begins in 2019, then was 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA through the virus-shortened season when he was hampered by an indirect pressure. He got here again to guide the majors with 12.6 strikeouts per 9 innings this yr.
“You all the time must evolve,” he mentioned.
Voting for the awards was accomplished earlier than the playoffs started. Burnes threw six shutout innings in opposition to Atlanta within the NL Division Collection and turned 27 later in October.
Ray’s energy arm all the time drew consideration. He ranks No. 1 in main league historical past with 11.2 strikeouts per 9 innings (minimal: 1,000 innings), and he was an All-Star with Arizona in 2017.
However controlling his warmth and sharp breaking pitches usually was an issue, and Ray bottomed out final yr.
The dip brought on his base wage to drop from $9.43 million to $8 million this yr. He earned a few of that again with a $125,000 for successful the Cy Younger, and figures to money in much more quickly.
Drafted and signed by Washington in 2010, Ray made his large league debut in 2014 with Detroit — that workers additionally included future Cy Younger winners Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello and David Value.
Ray was traded with money to Toronto on Aug. 31, 2020, for reliever Travis Bergen. Ray was 49-51 with a 4.26 ERA over seven seasons within the majors earlier than this large yr.
Ray grew to become the fifth Blue Jays pitcher to win the Cy Younger, alongside Halladay, Roger Clemens in 1997-98 and Pat Hentgen in 1996.