Phillies end-of-year awards: Most/Least Valuable, Cy Young/Yuk
Cy Young: Aaron Nola
This award was a no-brainer. Not only was Aaron Nola the best pitcher on the Phillies, but he was also one of the best pitchers in the National League. While Jacob deGrom is expected to win the Cy Young award, Nola should be one of the finalists behind him.
Nola posted good numbers the last few years, but he took a major step forward this season. In 33 starts, he had a 2.37 ERA, 3.01 fielding-independent pitching, 3.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio, 27.0% strikeout rate, .195 opposing batting average, and 0.97 WHIP. Nola finished the year with 10.5 pitching wins above replacement per Baseball Reference, most among all pitchers this year. He is the first 10-WAR Phillie since Steve Carlton in 1980.
As you would expect from a Cy Young contender, Nola’s name is littered among the leaderboards for this season. Among NL pitchers, Nola finished second in ERA, tied for fourth in wins, fourth in win-loss percentage, third in WHIP, fifth in strikeouts, third in innings pitched, eighth in strikeout-to-walk ratio, and fourth in fielding-independent pitching.
Nola was neck-and-neck with deGrom and Max Scherzer for the NL Cy Young heading into September, but he and Scherzer hit a rough patch while deGrom finished the year strong. In September, Nola posted a 3.72 ERA and allowed nine home runs in six starts. He at least ended the season on a high note with a seven-inning shutout performance against the Braves. Despite the sub-par finish, he still had a great season and established himself as one of the best pitchers in the league.