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Julio Urías wins 2021 Warren Spahn Award

Honor given by Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to best LHP in majors

Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Francisco Giants Game 5 of National League Divisional Series Photo by Ray Chavez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Dodgers pitcher Julio Urías won the 2021 Warren Spahn Award on Thursday, awarded annually by the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame to the best left-handed pitcher in the majors.

The award, which has been around since 1999, bases the honor on wins, ERA, and strikeouts, named after Warren Spahn, the Oklahoma native who led the National League in wins eight times, led in ERA three times and had the most strikeouts four times. The Hall of Famer finished his career with 363 wins, the most by a left-hander in MLB history. Spahn’s 2,583 strikeouts were the most by a southpaw at the time of his retirement in 1965, and currently stands as the ninth-most by a left-hander.

Urías led the majors with 20 wins in 2021, three more than any other pitcher. The second-highest win total by a left-hander was 14, by Hyun-jin Ryu, Steven Matz, and Max Fried.

It was the first full standard major league season as a starter for Urías, who combined with the postseason pitched 73 more innings than he did in any other professional season.

“I felt very confident that I was going to be able to do this,” Urías said in October. “That’s always been a goal to go out every fifth day and go out there and pitch the way that I have.”

Urías finished with a career-best 195 strikeouts, the second-most by a left-hander. But he was well behind Robbie Ray, who struck out 248 batters en route to winning the American League Cy Young Award in a landslide. Urías finished tied for seventh in NL Cy Young voting, receiving only three fifth-place votes.

Ray had the best ERA in the majors by a left-hander at 2.84, with Urías second at 2.96. Ray also had the best ERA+ (154) with Urías fourth at 138, with Fried (145) and Wade Miley (141) in between.

Julio Urías vs. Robbie Ray

Pitcher Innings W-L Strikeouts ERA ERA+
Pitcher Innings W-L Strikeouts ERA ERA+
Julio Urías 185⅔ (2nd) 20-3 (1st) 195 (2nd) 2.96 (2nd) 138 (4th)
Robbie Ray 193⅓ (1st) 13-7 (5th) 248 (1st) 2.84 (1st) 154 (1st)
ranks among major league left-handed pitchers

It sure looks like wins was the separator here for Urías, who is the second Dodgers pitcher to win the Warren Spahn Award. Clayton Kershaw is a four-time recipient of the honor, winning in 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2017. Kershaw won the NL Cy Young Award in the first three of those years, and finished second in 2017. Current Dodgers pitcher David Price won the Spahn Award in 2010 while with the Rays.