Baltimore Orioles: Zach Britton Shockingly Not Finalist for AL Cy Young

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton not among three finalists for the American League Cy Young Award after a historic season.

Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton had one of the most memorable seasons in baseball history. However, the voters of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) determined it wasn’t enough to place Zach Britton among the top three finalists for the American League Cy Young Award. It’s apparent that the BBWAA isn’t too fond for relief pitchers winning the Cy Yong Award.

Britton was a perfect 47-for-47 in save opportunities this season. His 0.54 ERA is the best in MLB history for any player that pitched at least 50 innings. The BBWAA’s top three finalists for the Cy Young Award includes Cleveland Indians’ Corey Kluber, Red Sox’s Rick Porcello, and Detriot Tigers’ Justin Verlander. Kluber recorded 18 wins with a 3.14 ERA in the regular season and had an outstanding postseason, but by then, the Cy Young Award votes were already sent in. Porcello led the league in wins with 22 and finished the regular season with a 3.15 ERA. Lastly, Verlander’s 3.04 ERA and was best among starting pitchers, with a 16-9 record for a Tigers that failed to reach the postseason.

There’s no question that all three finalists are deserving of the award, but Britton’s jaw-dropping performance in 2016 was more than enough to be among them. However, Britton is the receiver of the 2016 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award, which was presented to him before Game 4 of the World Series at Wrigley Field.

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The Orioles’ closer had several impressive feats through the 2016 season. Britton didn’t allow an earned run in 43 straight appearances which lasted from April 30 to August 24. After giving up an early season home run to Red Sox’s Mookie Betts on April 11, the All-Star closer didn’t allow another home run all season.

The last relief pitcher to win the Cy Young Award was Eric Gagne in 2003 who had 55 saves with a 1.20 ERA. Only nine relief pitchers in MLB history have received the Cy Young Award. A major factor in Britton’s omission is the fact that voters do not believe relievers play enough compared to starting pitchers to be worthy of the award.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who is among the finalists for the American League Manager of the Year Award, voiced his frustrations to MASN’s Roch Kubatko, “There’s nobody in baseball who’s more valuable to their team than Zach Britton is to the Orioles.” By the way, this is the same Showalter that decided to pitch Ubaldo Jimenez instead of his most valuable player and pitcher in the eleventh inning of the AL Wild Card game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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It’s understandable if Britton didn’t come away as the winner of this year’s Cy Young Award, but to not even honor his magnificent season as a finalist is utterly ridiculous. At the least, Britton deserves the recognition as one of the top three pitchers in the American League.