As we continue to dish out our 2016 Major League Baseball awards here at Rum Bunter next on the docket in the 2016 American League Cy Young Award.
Now that the 2016 Major League Baseball regular season has ended eyes can be pointed toward the offseason. The offseason includes, first and foremost, postseason play, free agency, trades, and award. Due to this here at Rum Bunter we are dishing out our 2016 awards for Major League Baseball.
So far we have awarded each MVP award, as well as the National League Cy Young Award. Today we stick with the Cy Young Award, but jump to the American League. And Rum Bunter’s 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner is Baltimore Orioles’ reliever Zach Britton.
Now, I realize giving the Cy Young Award to a relief pitcher is controversial. But in my opinion he was the most valuable pitcher in the American League. Due to this, he is Rum Bunter’s 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner.
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In 2016 Britton pitched 67 innings. In those 67 innings pitched he allowed just 38 hits, one home run, and he struck out 74 batters. He held opposing hitters to a .161 batting average against, he averaged just 2.42 BB/9, he did not hit a batter, and he had a 0.84 WHIP.
All of this led to Zach Britton posting a 0.54 ERA, 1.94 FIP, 2.09 xFIP, and a 2.5 WAR in 2016. During the season Britton only allowed runs in two months. These months were April and August. He allowed three runs in April and just one in August.
Zach Britton was the definition of dominant in 2016. He was, by far, the most dominant relief pitcher in all of Major League Baseball in 2016. And a strong argument can be made that he was the most dominant pitcher, starter or reliever, in 2016.
Britton allowed just a 14.8 percent hard contact rate and just an 11.3 percent line drive rate. Britton also posted a strong 47.6 percent swing and miss rate and a 17.2 percent strikeout rate. Maybe the most impressive thing Zach Britton did in 2016 though was generate ground balls.
During the 2016 season Zach Britton had an 80 percent ground ball rate. No, that is not a typo. 80 flipping percent. In case you were wondering, this was the highest ground ball rate in Major League history.
Fly balls are always more likely to end up hits than ground balls are. And Britton allowed a fly ball on just 8.8 percent of balls in play in 2016. That is absolutely insane. The fact he was able to get 91.2 percent of the batters he faced to either strikeout or hit a ground ball is pure dominance.
I realize not everyone will agree with a relief pitcher winning the Cy Young Award. However, in my opinion, Zach Britton was the most valuable pitcher in the American League in 2016. Therefore, he is my 2016 American League Cy Young Award winner.
Zach Britton was the most valuable pitcher in the American League in 2016. However, unfortunately for Orioles’ fans, Buck Showalter did not think he was worth using in the Wild Card Game. And, as a result, the Orioles’ are now sitting at home.