ST. LOUIS -- Jack Flaherty's incredible second half earned him a top five finish in the National League Cy Young Award race.
Flaherty finished fourth in the voting, announced Wednesday night by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Jacob deGrom was the runaway winner with 207 points, but Flaherty’s 69 points were only three behind Max Scherzer, who finished third. Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu finished second, and Washington’s Stephen Strasburg rounded out the top five with 53 points. Flaherty received five second-place votes, 11 third-place votes, six fourth-place votes and four fifth-place votes.
The system awards seven points for a first-place vote, four points for second, three points for third, two votes for fourth and one point for fifth.
The 24-year-old Cardinals right-hander was the best pitcher in baseball in the second half with a 0.91 ERA. In his second full season in the Majors, Flaherty had a 2.75 ERA and went 11-8 in 33 starts. He struck out 231 batters over 196 1/3 innings.
Flaherty had a 4.64 ERA before the All-Star break and registered a remarkable turnaround in the second half. It began with his final start before the break, when he allowed one run over seven innings on July 7 against the Giants. The adjustments he made -- execution of his fastball led to better results with his slider, for example -- continued as the Cardinals began their second-half revival.
Flaherty pitched seven or more innings in nine of his 15 second-half starts and only went fewer than six innings twice. He shut out his opponents nine times and held them to a .142 average. His 0.91 ERA was the second-lowest second-half ERA since 1933 (minimum 70 innings pitched). The first belongs to Jake Arrieta, whose 0.79 second-half ERA in 2015 helped propel him to a Cy Young Award that year.
Flaherty emerged as the Cardinals’ ace down the stretch, and his dominance helped push St. Louis to the NL Central title. In Game 162, Flaherty shut out the Cubs over seven innings and 69 pitches to secure the division title.