Dodgers: Did Max Scherzer Get Snubbed in the NL Cy Young Voting?

Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer was a force in 2021. He joined the Dodgers with a 2.78 ERA and finished his season at a 2.46 clip. In his first nine starts with the club, Scherzer posted a 0.78 ERA along with 79 strikeouts and only seven walks

For all his hard work, Scherzer earned a third place finish in the 2021 NL Cy Young voting. Yes, third.

Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes took home the hardware. Burnes was a deserving candidate (2.43 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP), but not as deserving as Scherzer.


To his credit, Burnes started the year making history. In his first five starts, Burnes struck out a record 58 batters before issuing a single walk. It’s an impressive streak, no doubt.

It’s not as impressive as Scherzer delivering a 1.98 ERA in a much more competitive environment. Context for statistics are important.

Scherzer joined the Dodgers in the heat of a division death match against the Giants. The Dodgers were three games behind the Giants when they acquired Mad Max. Milwaukee enjoyed a seven game cushion over Cincinnati entering August.

Each and every start for Scherzer was a walking on a tight-rope over a pool of piranhas. Burnes simply strolled down a gated community sidewalk.

One bad start for Scherzer, in a rotation missing two starters, signaled the division slipping away. A poor start for Burnes didn’t nearly carry the same weight on a team that had their division wrapped up by mid-June.

Perhaps Scherzer’s last two starts (10 ER) overshadowed his superb season. Maybe the narrative of a 26 year-old Burnes finding himself as an elite pitcher was too delectable of a story for voters.

Burnes and runner-up Zach Wheeler deserved some votes for the NL Cy Young. Max Scherzer however, deserved to win it.

NEXT: Rumored LA Target Justin Verlander Re-Signs with Astros

Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.


  1. NO! Just because he was a Dodger for a couple of months doesn’t mean Dodger fans need to feel he was snubbed. I feel snubbed by his fail when needed most and his personal accolade is of no matter, as he would just use it to drive up his contract cost.

  2. Recency bias. If Scherzer had of continued to plow along with an under 1 era, he would have gotten a lot more votes. Once a player already has multiple cy young’s or MVPs, they are held to an even higher standard. They have to be completely dominant to win more, not just a little better.

  3. When you win less than half of your starts, you aren’t deserving of winning the CY, or being runner up.

    1. Good point.

      Burnes only won 11 of 28 starts. – 39% win ratio vs starts

      Max won 7/11 – 64% win ratio vs starts

  4. I feel like Wheeler deserved it more than anyone else. Mad Max was impressive and deserved it more than Burnes in my opinion.Not sure that Woodruff didn’t have a better season overall than Burnes as well. I truly wish that Julio’s season was taken more seriously too. Both Julio and Buehler will have their “respected” seasons soon enough I guess and get what they really deserve from the moron eastern writers.

  5. Eric: I did a deep dive into this on one of your other posts. And here it is again. I broke down the top 4 pitchers in the NL in each of 6 main categories and here it is.
    WAR: #1 Wheeler, #2 Buehler, #3 Scherzer, #4 Woodruff
    ERA: #1 Burnes, #2 Scherzer, #3 Buehler, #4 Woodruff
    WINS #1 Urias, #2 Wainright, #3 Buehler, #4 Scherzer
    WL% #1 Urias, #2 Buehler, #3 Scherzer, #4 Woodruff
    WHIP #1 Scherzer, #2 Burnes, #3 Woodruff, #4 Buehler
    SO #1 Wheeler, #2 Scherzer, #3 Burnes, #4 Gausman

    On that post, I assigned each pitcher a 1 through 4 for each appearance on this list.
    Any category they did not appear on I gave them a 4.
    And here are the results **The lower the #, the better.

    Wheeler 18
    Buehler 18
    Scherzer 15
    Woodruff 23
    Burnes 18
    Urias 18
    Wainright 22
    Gausman 24

    I wasn’t as precise (and missed Julio!!) but did a better job this time.
    Scherzer was hands down the winner.
    Of the other 4 18’s, Burnes barely cracked the ERA qualification level of innings so the others
    get a nod. And not only that but Scherzer and Buehler had ERA’s just a tick behind Burnes with 13 more innings for Scherzer and 40!! for Walker (.03 for Scherzer, .04 for Buehler). Now this works against Julio; because he was a half a run worse, though still in the top ten in the NL. Also to a lesser degree with Wheeler. He was a third of a run worse.
    As for WAR; a lot of WAR is calculated by # of strikeouts. And innings. Wheeler led in both, so his WAR was a bit higher.
    In closing, here would be my top 4.
    #1 Scherzer (THE CLEAR CHOICE)
    #2 Buehler
    #3 Burnes (he had a great year but his 30 + fewer innings drop him below Buehler)
    #4. Wheeler (sorry Julio, you would be #5)

    1. Wayne, great post. I agree with you 100%, Max should have won the Cy. IMO, he was overlooked because he was a Dodger. I believe across the nation, there is a lot of dislike of the Dodgers due to the high salaries they pay.

  6. Anytime a Dodger doesn’t win an award the fan base cries about snubbing. I guess we’re supposed to win every award. Bunch of casuals

  7. Snubbed? Seriously? You guys are smarter than the voters? Maybe you are just a little bit biased? All are deserving. Judges might have thought playing 60 games against sub 500 teams may have helped your players.

      1. And the voters are clearly smart including a pitcher with a SUB .500 RECORD?
        Come on now. Have you forgotten most of the Central and East had teams that played bad ball, especially in the 2nd half? By your argument, none would deserve CY. 60 games is also not a great sample size because that only usually represents 12 starts for a pitcher out of 30+. Think.

    1. “playing 60 games against sub 500 teams may have helped your players.”

      Wouldn’t that mean they played 100 games against winning teams?

      An ‘average’ schedule would dictate only 80 against winning teams.

      Seems to me their schedule was HARDER.

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