The three finalists for the American League Cy Young Award were unveiled by the Baseball Writers Association of America on MLB Network on Monday night. Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was not one of them.
Instead, Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole, White Sox right-hander Lance Lynn, and Blue Jays left-hander Robbie Ray were announced as the three finalists for the award. The winner will be revealed on November 17 at 6 p.m. eastern time.
While Cole, Lynn, and Ray are each up for their first career Cy Young Awards, Eovaldi would have been as well — and rightfully so.
2021 marked Eovaldi’s third full season with the Sox after coming over in a July 2018 trade with the Rays and signing a lucrative four-year, $68 million contract extension later that winter to remain in Boston.
Across 32 starts this year, the 31-year-old righty posted a 3.75 ERA and 2.79 FIP to go along with 195 strikeouts to 35 walks over 182 1/3 total innings of work while emerging as Boston’s true ace.
Among qualified American League pitchers this season, Eovaldi ranked fourth in innings pitched, first in walks per nine innings (1.73), first in walk rate (4.6%), eighth in ERA, first in FIP (2.79), third in xFIP (3.48), fourth in SIERA (3.60), third in xERA (3.37), and first in fWAR (5.6), per FanGraphs.
Still, despite putting up those positive results, Eovaldi was seemingly snubbed from the American League Cy Young race without making it to the final group of three that consists of Cole, Lynn, and Ray.
If you were to include Eovaldi in there and make it a group of four, the fireballer would lead the pack in several categories including fWAR, FIP, walks per nine innings, and walk rate.
That being said, Eovaldi also produced the highest ERA and BABIP (.326), or batting average on balls in play, of the group. This can mainly be attributed to bad luck and poor defense being played behind him. The Red Sox did lead the American League in errors (108), after all.
Even while taking all those points into consideration, Eovaldi — who turns 32 in February — was not named a Cy Young finalist at the end of the day. He will still appear on plenty of ballots come next Tuesday, but may have ultimately deserved more recognition for the impressive 2021 campaign he just put together.
(Picture of Nathan Eovaldi: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)