Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried finishes second in NL Cy Young race

Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried lost out to Sandy Alcantara in the NL Cy Young Award race. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images)
Atlanta Braves ace Max Fried lost out to Sandy Alcantara in the NL Cy Young Award race. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Getty Images) /

The Baseball Writer’s Association of America members have submitted their votes for the best pitcher in the National League, of which Atlanta Braves pitcher Max Fried was a candidate, and their unanimous winner is Miami Marlins ace, Sandy Alcantara. 

Atlanta Braves ace, Max Fried, was announced as a nominee for the award last Monday night. From the get-go, Fried was the underdog for this award, given the immense workload accompanied by success from Alcantara. This fact was born out in the results, as Alcantara was the runaway, unanimous winner among all 30 voters.

Still, Fried managed an extremely respectable second place in the award voting. He narrowly eeked out third-place finisher, Julio Urías of the Los Angeles Dodgers, with three more second-place votes.

Kyle Wright, as well, received a single fourth and fifth-place vote, probably entirely because he led the major leagues with his 21 wins. A respectable stat, no doubt, but more indicative of team success rather than pitching ability, as most of us should understand by now.

Spencer Strider was a name that many thought could appear somewhere down the ballot, but he indeed missed out on any votes despite his record-setting pace to 200 strikeouts and the NL’s fifth-best K% at 38.3. Unfortunately, only pitching 131.2 innings as a starter wasn’t going to get it done.

Julio Urías led his peers in wins and ERA, but lacked in other vital stats like FIP and WAR, finishing 1.8 fWAR behind Max Fried and 2.5 fWAR behind Alcantara. This, coupled with Urías’ 175.0 innings pitched to Fried’s 185.1 and Alcantara’s 228.2, was a significant factor in Alcantara’s win.

To put up the NL’s second-best ERA, fourth-best FIP, and third-best fWAR in the most innings pitched in baseball – by a whole 20 innings – epitomizes consistency and dominance over a season. This resume, coupled with 207 strikeouts and 14 wins on a bottom-feeder team, makes it easy to see why the writers picked him.

For full context, the three candidates and their final stat lines are as follows:

  • Sandy Alcantara: 228.2 IP, 14-9 record, 2.28 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 207 SO, 50 BB, 5.7 fWAR
  • Max Fried: 185.1 IP, 14-7 record, 2.48 ERA, 2.70 FIP, 170 SO, 32 BB, 5.0 fWAR
  • Julio Urías: 175.0 IP, 17-7 record, 2.16 ERA, 3.71 FIP, 166 SO, 41 BB, 3.2 fWAR

It’s possible that if Fried had managed a few more starts, or potentially gone deeper into a few more games, his case for the award would have looked better. His NL’s third-best FIP, close to 200 strikeouts, inevitably higher fWAR than Alcantara, and more wins – if Fried had pitched the same amount of innings – would have been hard to argue against.

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Regardless, do you think Fried was snubbed of the award, or was Atlanta Braves’ nemesis Sandy Alcantara a deserved winner? He was 2-1 with a 2.86 ERA against the Braves this season, which included both a complete game and a 14-strikeout game.