Happiest Astro? Price guesses Dallas Keuchel in Cy Young award
Former Vanderbilt University aces Sonny Gray and David Price were anchored down in a posh Commodores office in Nashville facing the cameras.
In the background was Vandy coach Tim Corbin holding Gray’s baby.
One of general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ deadline deals during the Blue Jays July air lift, Price sat holding his French bulldog Astro.
The third contender for the American League Cy Young award, Houston Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel, was shown on a split screen from Houston.
MLB Network host Greg Amsinger had the question of the night from the studio in Secaucus, N.J. asking Price when all was said and done, who was going to be the happiest Astro?
The free agent laughed and said “I’m going to go with Dallas.”
Price was right.
Jack O’Connell, secretary treasurer the Baseball Writers’ Association of America and father of MFO (My Favourite O;Connell, Beth) revealed that Keuchel had garnered 22 first-place votes. He beat Price 186-143 on points. Gray was third with 82 points. Price received eight first-place votes including Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and our Ken Fidlin. Jays Marco Estrada received one fourth and one fifth-place vote for three points.
Two writers from each city voted prior to postseason on the top five in each category with points awarded on a 7-4-3-2-1 basis.
After being dealt at the 2014 deadline (Tampa Bay to Detroit) and this July (Detroit to Toronto) Price said he is “looking forward to knowing he’ll be able to put down roots and not worry about the dead deadlines.”
His final pitch in a Detroit Tigers uniform caught Tampa Bay Rays Tim Beckham looking to end the sixth on July 28.
His last pitch with Toronto, that other team he pitched with, was a grounder by Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals for the second out in the seventh inning of Game 6 of the American League Championship Series at Kauffman Stadium.
And his next pitch?
It’s still early as they say ... but some of usual suspects have been rounded up: the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox.
The Blue Jays list of Cy Young award winners remains at three or four, depending upon how you are scoring along at home Roger Clemens (won in 1997 and 1998), Pat Hentgen (1997) and Roy Halladay (2003).
In 21 starts with the Tigers and 11 with the Jays, Price was 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA, walking 47 and striking out 225 in 220 1/3 innings.
Price, who earned the honor in 2012 and was runner-up in 2010 (to Felix Hernandez), was drafted first over-all in North America in 2007, while Gray went 18th over-all in 2011.
Keuchel, a seventh round pick from the University of Arkansas in 2009, is the third Astro to win the Cy Young joining Mike Scott in 1986 and Clemens in 2004.
Keuchel has been compared to Tom Glavine for being a finesse lefty.
There are other similarities: Keuchel went 9-18 with a 5.20 ERa (38 starts) in 2012-13, both 100-loss seasons. This year he was 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA with 51 walks and 216 strikeouts in 232 innings.
Glavine was 9-21 with a 4.76 ERA (43 starts) for the 1987-88 Atlanta Braves, who averaged 99 losses those two seasons as general manager Bobby Cox re-built the Bravos. Glavine went on to win the 1991 and 1998 Cy Young awards, won 305 games and a spot in Cooperstown.
Keuchel won almost 1/4 of Houston’s 86 wins in 2015 going 15-0 at hitting-friendly at Minute Maid Park. It was the most consecutive home wins by a pitcher since Boo Ferriss and Tex Hughson each went 13-0 for the Red Sox in 1946 and 1944, respectively.
Remember all that August talk?
No, not about the World Series parade route.
The constant discussions how the Blue Jays would dominate November during American League award week?
Over to you Josh Donaldson.
He is the Jays last -- and best hope -- Thursday when the MVPs will be named. Donaldson will battle finalists Mike Trout of the Angels and Lorenzo Cain of the Kansas City Royals.
There had been talk of closer Roberto Osuna making a run at the Rookie of the Year honors, John Gibbons taking the top manager award, Price winning the Cy Young and Donaldson coming out on top.
Osuna and Gibbons each finished fourth.
Osuna had two second-place votes and two thirds to finish behind Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa.
Gibbons had one first-place vote, from Robbie McLeod of the Globe and Mail, five seconds, including our Mike Rutsey, and two thirds.
This award week has belonged to the Chicago Cubs: Kris Bryant, manager Joe Maddon and right-hander Jake Arrieta.
The Cubs do not have a contender Thursday as Paul Goldschmidt, of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Bryce Harper, of the Washington Nationals and Etobicoke’s Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds are the finalists.