Corbin Burnes may not have won the NL Cy Young award this year, but he caught the eye of enough voters to appear on plenty of ballots.
Burnes finished 6th in the vote, and was the most popular 5th place finisher, with 10 writers giving him a 5th-place vote. Burnes also received one 4th-place vote, giving him 12 points overall.
Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic was the writer to give Burnes that 4th-place vote, with two Milwaukee writers — Todd Rosiak of the Journal-Sentinel and Will Sammon of The Athletic — placing him 5th.
All three voted for Cincinnati’s Trevor Bauer to win the award, which he did, with 27 of the 30 first-place votes.
Burnes compiled 2.4 fWAR in 59.2 innings this year, putting up a 2.11 ERA and 2.03 FIP while striking out 13.29 batters per 9 innings. After his historic home run struggles in 2019, Burnes allowed just 2 home runs in his 12 appearances in 2020.
He also continued to be a Statcast darling, ranking in the 99th percentile in fastball spin rate and 95th percentile in breaking spin. A lot of his success in his breakout could be contributed to developing a cutter that he used 31.5% of the time this year, which moved so much it could have been confused for a 93 mph slider at times.
The big question will be whether Burnes will be able to translate the success over a couple months in 2020 over to a (presumably) longer 2021 season once fatigue is a bigger factor. Regardless, he’ll always have a Top-10 Cy Young finish on his Baseball-Reference page.
NL Rookie of the Year and Reliever of the Year Devin Williams finished in 8th place in the voting, collecting three 5th-place votes.
Chicago’s Yu Darvish finished in a distant second place, while New York’s Jacob deGrom finished in third.
You can see the full breakdown (and the ballots that were made public) over at the BBWAA’s website.