As part of the Kansas City Star‘s well-done, blowout coverage of Zack Greinke winning the AL Cy Young yesterday, Sam Mellinger put together a list of all the pitchers since 1985 who also won the award in or before their age-25 season.
Greinke joins Dwight Gooden, Bret Saberhagen, Tom Glavine, Pedro Martinez, Barry Zito, Roger Clemens, Johan Santana, and Tim Lincecum in the 25-and-under Cy Young club, which is some pretty interesting company. At least three of those eight guys are headed to the Hall of Fame and five of them won multiple Cy Young awards.
Looking at that list got me curious about what each of those pitchers did after the age of 25, because Greinke actually turned 26 a few weeks ago and … well, I’m sure everyone is wondering what the future holds for him after such a brilliant season.
I’ll leave Lincecum out of the picture because he hasn’t actually turned 26 yet, but here’s what the other seven 25-and-under Cy Young winners have done from age 26 on:
IP W L WIN% ERA+ CY1 CY3
Roger Clemens 3885 276 150 .648 143 5 8
Tom Glavine 3521 252 151 .625 122 1 5
Pedro Martinez 1915 154 61 .716 160 2 5
Dwight Gooden 1277 75 66 .532 99 0 0
Bret Saberhagen 1234 75 56 .573 123 0 1
Barry Zito 1231 72 77 .483 103 0 0
Johan Santana 1085 79 42 .653 148 1 3
* ERA+ stands for adjusted ERA, which puts pitchers from different years on an even playing field by factoring in run-scoring environments. CY1 stands for Cy Young wins and CY3 stands for top-three finishes.
Martinez, Zito, and Santana get short-changed because they’re not done pitching yet, but those numbers are still plenty interesting. Clemens, Glavine, and Martinez all won at least one more Cy Young after the age of 25, combining for eight awards and a total of 18 top-three Cy Young finishes from 26 on. Santana also has a post-25 award and two other top-three finishes, so even with his recent elbow problems he’s closer to the Clemens-Glavine-Martinez path than the Saberhagen-Gooden-Zito path.
Which path will Greinke (and Lincecum) follow? It’s certainly tempting to assume that he’ll go the way of Clemens, Glavine, and Martinez, but it’s at least worth noting that most people had similar expectations for Saberhagen and Gooden when they won the award at an even younger age than Greinke. Instead of becoming inner-circle Hall of Famers, they ended up combining for only 147 wins after the age of 26.
The news has gone from bad to worse for Dodgers’ left-hander Julio Urias, who is scheduled for anterior capsule surgery on his left shoulder next Tuesday and expected to be sidelined through the middle of the 2018 season. His MRI came back negative on Wednesday, giving the Dodgers some hope that the 20-year-old’s bout of shoulder inflammation wasn’t masking any structural damage, but the pain lingered several days later and prompted further concern from the club. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Urias was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late May and placed on the disabled list with left shoulder discomfort several weeks into his assignment. At the major league level, he owned a 5.40 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 4.2 SO/9 through 23 1/3 innings, going 0-2 in five starts with Los Angeles. He made a brief rebound in Triple-A, posting three wins and striking out 17 of 67 batters in 17 1/3 innings before landing on the DL.
It’s a tough blow for the southpaw, who had yet to hit his stride in the majors before getting sidelined with shoulder issues. The Dodgers were especially mindful of this outcome for Urias, and had taken preventative measures to protect his arm by establishing a strict innings limit last season. According to club president Andrew Friedman, there’s a small silver lining here: while Urias’ injury will keep him out of work for at least 12 months, he doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage to his labrum or rotator cuff, and could be facing a much more streamlined recovery process as a result. Whether he’ll be able to rebound once he takes the mound again remains to be seen.
Tigers’ right-handed reliever Francisco Rodriguez was released on Friday, per a team announcement. The club recalled fellow right-hander Bruce Rondon from Triple-A Toledo in a corresponding move.
The former closer got the boot after losing his closing role in early May, giving left-hander Justin Wilson a chance to impress at the back end of the bullpen. It’s been a rough year for Rodriguez, who manufactured six blown saves and a 7.82 ERA, 3.9 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 25 1/3 innings for the Tigers. The final straw, it seemed, came with Robinson Cano‘s grand slam in the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-9 loss to the Mariners on Thursday.
While the demotion to a clean-up role and an apparent lack of communication caused Rodriguez considerable frustration, he’s two years removed from his last dominant performance as a major league closer and has shown few signs of returning to form. His recent slump doesn’t diminish the impressive totals he’s racked up over his 16-year career — 437 saves and six All-Star nominations among them — but if he can’t break out of it soon, he may not receive the kind of high leverage role he’s seeking with another big league team, either.