Two of the three finalists for the Baseball Writers of America National League Cy Young Award were Cubs pitchers, but in the end, the award went to Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer by a wide margin. Cubs pitcher Jon Lester finished second and his teammate, Kyle Hendricks, took third in the BBWAA voting.
Scherzer becomes only the sixth player in history to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. He’s also the first player in Nationals/Expos franchise history to win the Cy Young since Pedro Martinez did it in Montreal in 1997.
Scherzer received 25 of a possible 30 first-place votes. Second-place Lester received only one first-place vote (but by far the most second-place votes) and third-place Hendricks got two first-place votes. The Dodgers Clayton Kershaw, who finished fifth, got the other two first-place votes.
Madison Bumgarner of the Giants finished fourth in the balloting. Last year’s winner, the Cubs’ Jake Arrieta, got one fourth-place vote and finished 9th. Others receiving votes were Johnny Cueto, Jose Fernandez, Noah Syndergaard and Tanner Roark.
Scherzer was the NL’s only 20-game winner this season and he also led the league in innings pitched and strikeouts. He had an ERA of 2.96.
Lester finished second in the NL in wins in 2016 with 19 and second in ERA with a 2.44 mark. Hendricks won the league ERA title with a 2.13 average.
Over in the American League, Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello edged out his former Tigers teammate Justin Verlander, 137 to 132. Verlander actually received more first-place votes, 14 to 8, but Porcello won because he received 18 second-place votes to Verlander’s 2. Also, two writers left Verlander off the ballot entirely, whereas Porcello was named on all 30 ballots.
The margin was the second-closest since voters were allowed to vote for more than one pitcher in 1970. The only closer vote was in 2012, where once again Verlander was edged by David Price, 153 to 149.
Indians ace and 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber finished third with three first-place votes. Again, that’s fewer than fourth-place finisher Zach Britton, who got five first-place votes but far fewer second- and third-place votes than Kluber. Kluber was also named on every ballot, whereas six writers left Britton off the ballot entirely.
Other American League pitchers receiving votes were Chris Sale, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, Andrew Miller, Michael Fulmer and Jose Quintana.
Porcello led the majors with 22 wins and only had four losses. His ERA was 3.15. Verlander only went 16-9, but his ERA was second-best in the AL at 3.04 and he led the league in strikeouts.
At the risk of burying the lede, the big story today has been the reaction of Verlander’s fiancée Kate Upton, who went on a profane and entertaining Twitter rant over her disappointment over the results. To burnish her opinion, it should be stated that Ms. Upton has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated more often than Verlander and Porcello combined.