Though he finished with the lowest ERA in all of baseball, Hyun-Jin Ryu finished second in the National League Cy Young voting behind Jacob deGrom.
Ryu finished with 88 total points, 16 ahead of Max Scherzer who finished third. deGrom finished with 29 of the 30 first-place votes, with Ryu getting the other first place vote.
Clayton Kershaw finished with a third place vote, and Walker Buehler finished with a fourth place vote. Interestingly, the ballot Buehler appeared on was the only one to exclude Ryu.
It was easily the best big-league season for Ryu, who has been with the Dodgers since 2013. His 14 wins tied a career-high, and his 29 starts were the most he’s made since his rookie season. In 182 2⁄3 innings he struck out 163, a career-best.
What made Ryu one of the best pitchers in baseball this season was his earned run average and strikeout-to-walk ratio. Starting with his ERA, he finished the year with the lowest in all of baseball at 2.32. Though that’s already a remarkably low number, a few blowup starts kept his ERA from being historically low.
Through the first 22 starts of the season, Ryu had an ERA of 1.45. Yes, 1.45. In only one of those starts did he allow more than three runs. If you take out his start at Coors Field in which he allowed seven runs, his ERA would have been 1.04. One point zero four (!!!)
He had a rough four-game stretch that hurt his Cy Young chances during the middle of August. Over 19 innings, he allowed 21 runs, and opponents hit .360 off of him. His ERA rose an entire run over those four games, but it was still at a league-best 2.45. He finished the season strong, throwing seven scoreless innings in two of his final three starts.
What made Ryu so dominant as well was his ability to limit the number of walks he allowed. His 1.2 BB/9 IP was the lowest in all of baseball. Though he wasn’t a high-strikeout kind of pitcher, he had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of nearly seven-to-one.
In fact, Ryu was only the seventh pitcher since Cy Young in 1905 to finish a season with a SO/BB ratio of 6.79, a BB/9 of 1.2 while making at least 29 starts. What he did, was historic.