The Los Angeles Dodgers capped off a historic 2020 season by defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series, ending a 32-year drought.
While the regular season was shortened to 60 games, the Dodgers still finished with the best record in the league at 43-17, losing just one series all year. L.A. truly was a team without any weaknesses.
But if they could have used a little more depth in one area of the roster, it was the starting rotation. Part of that was because David Price opted out due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns, and also due to losing two Cy Young Award finalists during the offseason.
Minnesota Twins righty Kenta Maeda and Toronto Blue Jays lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu are in the running for American League Cy Young along with Shane Bieber of the Cleveland Indians.
Both Maeda and Ryu had a lot of success with the Dodgers in recent years and then went on to take their careers to another level elsewhere in 2020. They actually made history by being the first former teammates to both be named finalists on different teams, per Sarah Langs of MLB.com:
Hyun Jin Ryu & Kenta Maeda were both Dodgers in 2019
In 2020, each finished top-3 for AL Cy Young
This is the 1st time that 2 of the top 3 in one league’s Cy Young voting were teammates the prior season on a different team
(h/t @EliasSports)[CYA became 1 per league in 1967]
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) November 2, 2020
Maeda spent his first four MLB seasons with the Dodgers, often being moved between the rotation and bullpen. Maeda’s desire to be a full-time starter led to him being traded to the Twins, where he had a career season in 2020. In 11 starts, Maeda went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA, 3.00 FIP and 0.75 WHIP with 80 strikeouts and 10 walks in 66.2 innings.
Ryu finished second in the National League Cy Young voting in 2019 after a career year with the Dodgers. He then followed it up with another outstanding season in 2020 after signing a lucrative three-year contract with the Blue Jays. Ryu started 12 games, going 5-2 with a 2.69 ERA, 3.01 FIP and 1.15 WHIP with 72 strikeouts and 17 walks in 67 innings.
Bieber will likely win the award after winning the AL pitching triple crown, leading the league in wins (eight), ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122). That does not diminish the seasons that Maeda and Ryu had, and they will be recognized as second- and third-place finishers, in some order.
Betts represents lone Dodgers finalist
While the Dodgers had the best team in baseball in 2020, they weren’t all that represented in the BBWAA awards voting. Their only finalist is Mookie Betts, who is in the running for NL MVP.
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