Indians starter Corey Kluber won the 2017 American League Cy Young Award as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America. It’s Kluber’s second Cy Young Award, having also won it in 2014.
Kluber, 31, led all of baseball with 18 wins, a 2.25 ERA, a 0.869 WHIP, and a 7.36:1 K:BB ratio. He also struck out 265 batters and walked only 36 in 203 2/3 innings. In doing so, Kluber helped the Indians win 102 games, including 22 wins in a row from August 24 to September 14. The Indians were ultimately stopped in the ALDS by the Yankees in five games.
Kluber received 28 of 30 first-place votes, as well as two second-place votes. Chris Sale of the Red Sox, who finished in second place, had two first-place votes and 28 second-place votes. Third-place finisher Luis Severino of the Yankees had 20 third-place votes. Also receiving votes were Carlos Carrasco of the Indians, Justin Verlander of the Tigers and Astros, Craig Kimbrel of the Red Sox, Ervin Santana of the Twins, and Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays.
In the National League, Nationals starter Max Scherzer took home the hardware for the second year in a row and the third time in his career. He’s the first pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Young Awards since Clayton Kershaw in 2013-14.
Scherzer, 33, led the National League with 268 strikeouts and a 0.902 WHIP. He also went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA and walked only 55 across 200 2/3 innings.
Scherzer received 27 of 30 first-place votes, as well as three second-place votes. Kershaw finished in second place with three first-place votes, 25 second place votes, and one third-place vote. The Nats’ Stephen Strasburg finished in third place with one second-place vote and 23 third-place votes. Also receiving votes were the Diamondbacks’ Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray, the Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen and Alex Wood, the Nats’ Gio Gonzalez, the Mets’ Jacob deGrom, and the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.