Hold on to your pants, Jays fans. The Toronto Blue Jays’ starting pitcher Robbie Ray has been named a finalist for the 2021 American League Cy Young Award.
Coming off the best season of Ray’s career, the announcement comes as no surprise to most of the team’s following. They’ve witnessed their ace shave down his ERA by more than half, break an MLB record and take on the role of devotee of a fan-run Twitter account dedicated to his iconically-fitted utility trousers over the last season.
The pitcher has had quite the comeback within the Jays’ one-year investment in him, and he’s given the franchise quite the return in exchange.
When Ray started with the Jays in September of 2020, his earned run average (ERA) was at a steep 7.84, a number that just kept rising the longer he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He led the American League in ERA at 2.84, a 55 per cent decrease from last year’s statistics.
The Jays ace also led the league in innings, WHIP (walks and hits per innings pitched) and strikeouts, posting a 1.04 WHIP and striking out 248 batters in 193.1 innings across 32 starts. His fellow AL Cy Young Award finalists New York Yankees’ Gerrit Cole and Chicago White Sox’s Lance Lynn fell close behind in WHIP, posting 1.06 and 1.07 respectively, with Cole falling just short of Ray in earned runs and strikeouts.
In late August, Ray reached the 1000 pitched innings milestone and simultaneously broke the MLB record of most strikeouts (1241 K’s) by the thousandth inning mark.