Toronto Lefty Ray wins the Sae Young, Brewers Burns wins NL
This pitcher year, Robbie Ray and Corbin Burns both completed their own kind of comeback.
Ray rebounded from a dismal season that saw him take a rare pay cut to win the AL Cy Young award with Toronto while Burns returned from an early bout of COVID-19 with Milwaukee to win the NL Grand Prix on Wednesday.
“Everyone has their own story,” Burns said during a conference call.
Burns led the Big Company by 2.43 ERA and beat Philadelphia’s Zach Wheeler. Both had 12 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers Guild of America, but Burns had 14 seconds to nine Wheeler.
Burns pitched 167 runs, the lowest number for a junior round won by Cy Young in a non-reducing season, and the right-hander overcame 234. Wheeler cheered 247 – one shy of Ray’s league-leading total – and topped the top spots with 213. 1/3 innings .
“Everyone’s case was different,” Burns said.
Ray was the best in the AL with 2.84 ERA and 193 1/3 runs. That came after a 2020 year that was cut short by the pandemic when the left went 2-5 combined with a 6.62 ERA for the Arizona and Blue Jays and issued the most walks in the majors.
“I knew… I had to put in some hard work,” Ray said, adding, “I knew I wanted to make changes.”
And in a sign of how much voters simply surpassed win-and-loss records while smashing the New Age stats, the left-wing Dodgers Julio Urillas recorded the most wins going 20-3, but finished eighth away with no wins. The first four nod.
Max Scherzer, who featured in Los Angeles and Washington, finished third in the Premier League, with Dodgers and Walker Puller fourth.
Burns became the first Brewers pitcher to win an NL award – Pete Vuckovich in 1982 and Rollie Fingers in 1981 won the award when Milwaukee was still in the MLS.
Ray had 29 first-place votes and became the first Toronto player to win since the late Roy Halladay in 2003. The Yankees’ Gerrett Cole received the highest number of votes, taking second place and Chicago White Sox Lance Lane in third.
Ray went 13-7 in 32 starts and helped keep Toronto in the playoff competition until the final weekend.
Having turned 30 last month, the prize makes him good — a free agent, who turned down an eligible $18.4 million offer from Toronto earlier on Wednesday.
“I enjoy free agency,” he said. “The process is very interesting.”
Ray said Toronto is “still in the conversation.”
“Obviously I love Toronto,” he said, “but we’ll see where it goes.”
The Burns were 11-5 and were the all-stars for the NL Central Brewers champ. He had fewer innings than his competitors, due to missing out on two weeks in early May after testing positive for the coronavirus.
In his first season as a full-time rookie, Burns hit a record 58 before making his debut. He tied with the major league tag cheerleader 10 in a row against the Cubs in August.
Burns teamed up with close-up Josh Hader in a no-hitter game against Cleveland in September. Burns hit 14 over eight rounds in that match—that was his ninth non-hit record in the majors this season, and topped the eighth set in 1884 when bowlers started throwing the ball.
Burns had 8.82 ERAs in 28 relief appearances and four starts in 2019, then was 4-1 with 2.11 ERAs during the virus shortening season when he was hampered by a slasher strain. He’s back to lead the big leagues with 12.6 strikes in every nine runs this year.
“You always have to evolve,” he said.
Voting for the prizes was completed before the playoffs began. Burns threw six playoff innings against Atlanta in the NL series at the age of 27 later in October.
Ray’s strong arm always grabbed attention. He ranks first in major league history with 11.2 strokes in all nine runs (minimum: 1,000 runs), and was an All-Star with Arizona in 2017.
But controlling its heat and sharp tones was often a problem, and Ray passed out last year.
The downturn has reduced his base salary from $9.43 million to $8 million this year. He won some of that with $125,000 winning Cy Young, and numbers to cash in soon.
Drafted and signed in 2010, Ray made his league debut in 2014 with Detroit — future Cy Young winners Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Rick Purcello and David Price also included.
Ray traded for cash in Toronto on August 31, 2020, for diluted Travis Bergen. Ray was 49-51 with a 4.26 ERA over seven seasons in the majors prior to that big year.
Ray became the fifth Blue Jays bowler to win the Cy Young race with Halladay and Roger Clemens in 1997-1998 and Pat Hentgen in 1996.
The MVPs will be announced Thursday, bringing the BBWAA Awards season to a close.
Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shuhei Ohtani is AL’s favorite, with Toronto FC player Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Blue Jays player Marcus Simin. Ohtani, who went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikes in 130 1-3 runs, didn’t get Cy Young’s vote; He hit 46 Homer with 100 RBIs and stole 26 bases.
Phillies star Bryce Harper, Washington’s Juan Soto, Juan Soto and Dynamo San Diego Fernando Tates Jr. have qualified for the English Premier League finals.
Regardless of who wins, it will be the first time since 1987 (cubs’ Andre Dawson and Toronto’s George Bell) that neither of them reached the playoffs in the year they were elected.
More from AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.