As the MLB shortened season winds down some fans that are in fantasy leagues are already looking ahead to next year. Things went kind of pear-shaped this year and many fantasy leaguers are rightly disappointed when they check the MLB DFS.
Now, there is plenty of speculation about who will be the Cy Young winner this year and you can bet that people are going to be vying for the first pick in next year’s fantasy draft. With this in mind, it bears some reflection on some of the Cy Young winners who had a disastrous follow-up season after their award.
Let’s take a look at some of those seasons so you can try to avoid making the mistake of using a number one pick on a dud.
1 – RICK PORCELLO, 2017
Before his stellar 2016 season, people had high hopes for the young pitcher. His debut season showed that he had a lot of promise. Otherwise the Red Sox probably would not have been nearly as patient through years of mediocrity had he not.
That patience paid off as he finally showed what he was capable of in the 2016 season in which he had 22 wins and secured a Cy Young. Or, was he actually as capable as he seemed? Or, did the average of 7 runs per start from the incredible Sox sluggers have something to do with those wins?
The fact that he went five starts without a win after his first win of the season in 2017 shows that the offense may have had more to do with his breakout season than his throwing arm. In 2017 he was only able to scrape up 11 wins.
2 – BRET SABERHAGEN, 1986
Let me be clear that this is just an exercise in analysing a season after winning a CY Young and is not an indictment on the entire career of a winning pitcher that had a dreadful follow up season. Case in point is Bret Saberhagen who put together a very solid career, albeit with some spotty seasons throughout.
His 1985 season was incredible and earned him the Cy Young after winning 20 regular season games and 2 wins in the World Series for Kansas City.
Which was followed up by the 1986 season that only amounted to 7 wins with a 4.15 ERA. Plagued with poor starts and a fragile shoulder, his season sputtered to the finish after stints in the bullpen and on the injured reserve list.
But, he did go on to win another Cy Young in 1989 and had a stellar career.
3 – STEVE STONE, 1981
The career of Steve Stone should serve as a warning for any young pitcher who is thinking that they can rely on one dominant pitch to win games.
For years Stone was a middle of the road pitcher that could be relied on for about 10 wins per season. Serviceable but definitely not Cy Young material. Until he decided that his curve ball was good enough to dominate his opposition. And he was right. The gamble paid off and he won 25 games in the 1980 season for the Baltimore Orioles.
But, his arm could not handle the strain of throwing the same pitch over and over. By the end of the 1980 season, his production was already dropping as a result. And the 1981 season proved he had pretty much sold out his future for the one stellar season. His career was over a few seasons later.