Pittsburgh Pirates’ awards at the midway point

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Jun 28, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) tosses a ball before the Pirates host the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Cy Young – Gerrit Cole

Runner-Up – A.J. Burnett

This was a tough decision to make. A.J. Burnett has been more than a pleasant surprise for the Pirates this year. He leads the starting staff in ERA at 1.99 and WAR at 3.7. He’s also given up a staff-low three home runs on the year. He’s the veteran leader for both the staff and the team, and is a mentor to younger guys like Cole and Locke. However, the Pirates’ Cy Young had to be given to Gerrit Cole.

While Cole’s WAR is a full point lower than Burnett’s according to ESPN, his stats are equally as impressive as Burnett’s. He leads all of baseball in wins and while wins are becoming an outdated stat, they’re still symbolic of great pitching. Outside of wins, he has an impressive 2.28 ERA and has less walks, more strikeouts, has allowed less hits, has a lower WHIP, a higher K/9 ratio, and averages more pitches per nine innings than Burnett. Cole is flashier than Burnett with his strikeouts, but he’s equally as, if not more effective than him in these other areas.

What also stood out about Cole was the fact that he has allowed more than three runs just once in any start this year and has lasted less than six innings just three times. He’s been the model of consistency (as Burnett has been for much of the season) and has clearly taken the next step towards becoming the ace of this Pirates’ staff.

For all of the hooplah about whether Burnett would make the all-star game or not, both he and Cole have been equally fantastic this year, and their stats are more similar than many people would think. This award was given to Cole in a very close decision.

Next: Cy Yuck