Maybe it’s because Halloween is just around the corner, but I am getting this unnerving feeling that Sports Illustrated supermodel Kate Upton may practice witchcraft or be into the dark art of voodoo.
Before you doubt me, let’s take a look at what has transpired ever since Upton’s husband Justin Verlander lost out on the 2016 AL Cy Young Award to his former teammate Rick Porcello.
Prior to being traded to Boston, Porcello and Verlander were members of the Detroit Tigers from 2009 through 2014. Two years later, Porcello put together a career year.
He led the AL with 22 wins, posted a fabulous 1.009 WHIP and a 3.15 ERA, tossed 223 innings, and led the league with a career-high 5.91 K/BB ratio. Additionally, Porcello sported a 3.40 FIP, a 4.8 WAR, and a 142 ERA+, all career bests.
Verlander’s season was just good as good if not better. He finished with 16 wins, a 3.04 ERA, a 1.001 WHIP, threw 227.2 innings and struck out a league-high 254 hitters. He also sported a 7.2 WAR, a 3.48 FIP, and a 140 ERA+.
That winter, the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) opted for Porcello in the Cy Young voting, 137 to 132. Verlander received more first-place votes (14) than Porcello (8) but the latter received more votes overall .
What happened next seemed to set the wheels in motion for what has happened to Cy Young winners and contenders ever since.
Upton, then Verlander’s fiancee, shredded the BBWAA on Twitter and threw shade at Porcello with a sorry, not sorry attitude.
He had the majority of 1st place votes and 2 writers didn’t have him on their ballots?!! can you pick more out of touch people to vote?@MLB
— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) November 16, 2016
Sorry Rick but you didn’t get any 1st place votes? you didn’t win. #ByeFelicia @MLB keep up with the times and fire those writers
— Kate Upton (@KateUpton) November 16, 2016
The Kate Upton Hex
So, what happened next? Porcello, building off his Cy Young year, went 11-17, 4.65 in 2017. He led the league in hits, home runs, and batters faced, and had a 1.397 WHIP. He threw 20 fewer innings than the previous year and his K/BB ratio dropped more than two points. Porcello’s WAR dropped from 4.8 to -0.2 and his ERA+ was under the standard 100 average.
Though Porcello bounced back with an improved 2018, he was horrible this past season. He put up a career-worst ERA (5.89), had his worst K/9 IP in five years, and averaged less than six innings per start.
The 2017 Wipeout
Verlander’s 2017 campaign was solid but not as good as the four pitchers that finished ahead of him in the Cy Young voting that offseason.
The Indians’ Corey Kluber took home the prize, followed by the Red Sox’ Chris Sale, the Yankees’ Luis Severino, and the Indians’ Carlos Carrasco.
Two years later, Kluber, Sale, and Severino all had arm issues to one degree or another, and Carrasco was diagnosed with Leukemia. I am in NO WAY saying Kate Upton-Verlander is responsible for Carrasco’s serious illness. But, the other three pitchers…
Kluber started to struggle last season and was terrible out of the gate this year. His season then prematurely ended on May 1st when a line drive broke his right arm.
Sale’s skills and fastball diminished as the season went on. He was shut down for the season in mid-August and was examined by an elbow specialist. Luckily, Tommy John surgery was not needed.
And, Severino only made his season debut in mid-September after missing the entire year with right shoulder and lat issues.
So you want to win a Cy Young, Snell?
Then you will pay the price. The 2018 awards season saw Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell capture the Cy Young Award. The runner up? Verlander, aka Mr. Kate Upton, came in second for the third time in his career.
Snell’s season proved that he was the clear winner, yet he only had four more first-place votes than Verlander. Snell did, however, win the award by 15 votes overall.
The left-hander got off to a slow start this season and it was determined that one of the reasons was an issue with his prized left arm. In late July, Snell underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove “loose bodies” (pieces of former Cy Young winners?) from his left elbow.
Even though he returned in September, the loss to the Rays’ rotation was immeasurable. Snell faced a pitch count/innings limit upon his return, which included the the AL Wild Card game and a division series loss to Verlander’s Houston Astros.
And, the winner is…
The 2019 AL Cy Young winner will either be Verlander or his teammate, Gerrit Cole. Now, I cannot confirm or deny this rumor, but I have heard that Kate Upton has a voodoo doll of Cole.
Beware, Gerrit Cole, beware!