May not be MVP, but how about Cy Young?
I’m not exaggerating when I say that Robbie Ray has been so good in 2021 that he should receive MVP votes. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that ended up happening.
To recap what the hard-throwing southpaw has done, there’s a strong argument that no player has been more important to the Blue Jays’ success this season than Ray. He’s 13-6 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP, striking out a whopping 244 batters over 31 starts and 188.0 innings. His impressive performance leaves him 6th in the AL in bWAR with 6.9, but for some reason he lags behind inferior pitchers when it comes to fWAR, clocking in at 4.4.
His numbers see him leading the American League in bWAR, ERA, WHIP, and strikeouts, and lately it feels like he’s pulled away from other Cy Young contenders like Gerrit Cole of the Yankees, or Lance Lynn of the White Sox, both of whom have missed some time down the stretch. He’s become the unquestioned ace of a staff that also includes Jose Berrios and Hyun Jin Ryu, and if the Jays can qualify for the playoffs then he’ll be the horse they’re riding in on.
The timing of the career year for the 29 year old couldn’t be any better either, as he’s working on a one year contract that will see him hit free agency again this offseason. He signed for one year and eight million with the Blue Jays last winter, and he’s all but a lock to get far more than 10x that amount this time around.
As I already said, I can’t imagine that he has a real chance of factoring into the AL MVP race, but he might just be the most important player to the success the Blue Jays have had in 2021.